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What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

A Day in the Life of a Medical Assistant

     Are you interested in training for a great career in the healthcare field? Have you considered a career as a medical assistant? If you are looking for a hands-on career in the medical field, in which you can grow and continuously learn on the job, a career as a medical assistant might be right for you! At Central Coast College, we train students just like you for potential careers as medical assistants. Our MA program can be completed in as few as 46 weeks, and classes are enrolling now for classes starting September 15th! If you are interested in training for a career as a medical assistant, read on to learn more about what medical assistants do everyday, and how Central Coast College can prepare you for this great career!

     Medical assistants are Allied Health Professionals, working alongside physicians, doctors, and nurses to provide their patients with the highest level of care. Medical assistants complete both administrative and clinical tasks, and act as a patient coordinator by providing a means of communication between patients, doctors and other health care providers. Working in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities, Medical Assistants play a vital role in the healthcare field. 

A Day in the Life of a Medical Assistant

     A medical assistant’s day usually starts early. Most doctor’s offices open at 8 am, and some offer appointments even earlier. When the medical assistant arrives at the office, they begin by logging into the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, and checking phone messages and emails for any important messages for the day. Then, the medical assistant organizes the charts and fills out any paperwork needed for the day, such as surgical permission forms, health check forms and insurance paperwork. The medical assistant then reviews the patient schedule for the day, and prepares the exam rooms for the first appointments. 

     Once patients begin to arrive for scheduled appointments, the medical assistant must work efficiently to keep things flowing smoothly. Medical assistants, working at the front desk, check patients in for their appointment, verify patient information and health insurance and help the patient fill out any appropriate forms. Then, medical assistants, working in a clinical capacity, greet the patient and take him or her to an exam room. This medical assistant takes the patient’s vital signs, performs a patient interview, and prepares the patient for any scheduled procedures. The medical assistant may be responsible for conducting routine tasks and procedures such as measuring patients’ vital signs, administering medications and injections, recording information in medical recordkeeping systems, preparing and handling medical instruments and supplies, and collecting and preparing specimens of bodily fluids and tissues for laboratory testing. 

     At most medical offices appointments are booked 15 minutes apart, so the medical assistant stays busy. If there is time in between patients, medical assistants might answer phone calls or update patient charts. The medical assistant might log into the electronic health portal, which is a private website where patients and care providers correspond via email, share and explain test results, schedule and follow up on appointments, send necessary forms, and so on. Medical assistants also have to make sure to get consent forms before each procedure. Sometimes medical assistants need to call other doctors’ offices to get reports on patients.

     After every patient visit, medical assistants clean the exam room by wiping everything down, putting everything away, and bringing specimens down to the lab. If there’s an urgent lab sample, the medical assistant must make sure it gets down to the lab in a timely fashion, and check to make sure the results come in quickly. Results such as those usually come directly through to the office’s printer or EMR system, and it’s the medical assistant’s responsibility to make sure those results go straight to the patient’s medical provider, so the provider can relay those results to the patient.

     Medical assistants also handle prescription refills through the pharmacy. The medical assistant must fax them out and verify that the pharmacy received them. The medical assistant must also ensure the office is following the rules about certain types of medications – narcotic prescriptions, for example, cannot be faxed but instead must be picked up in hardcopy – so the medical assistant makes sure the office is in compliance with rules like those. Some patients also have to get drug testing if they’re on narcotics, to make sure they’re taking the prescribed medication and dose, so the medical assistant handles that too.

     At the end of the day, the medical assistant helps to clean the procedure rooms and sterilize all the tools that were used that day. The medical assistant helps stock all the rooms with the necessary gowns, cleaning products, specimen jars, OBGYN equipment, and all the other items necessary for the next day. In a career as fast-paced as this one, good organization skills, patience, stamina and a love for the job are all beneficial qualities.

     If medical assisting sounds interesting to you, Central Coast College has the program for you! In CCC’s Medical Assistant program, students learn to perform the essential skills needed for entry-level employment, including phlebotomy, measuring a patient’s vital signs including blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respiration, setting up and assisting the physician with minor office surgeries, gynecological exams, and other diagnostic procedures. Students also learn to handle administrative duties including front office management, appointment scheduling, verifying patient information and health insurance, updating and filing patients’ medical records and insurance paperwork. CCC’s program also includes an Externship component, in which students receive hands-on, supervised practice. Graduates receive Certificate of Completion, Medical Assistant diploma, and are prepared to test for a nationally-recognized MA certification. 

     If you are ready to pursue your career as a medical assistant, CCC’s 46-week program could be a great choice for you! Conveniently located in Salinas, California , Central Coast College offers short program lengths, flexible hybrid-online learning formats, professional instruction, and a Career Services Department to support you as you make the transition from student to the job market. Ready to learn more? Admissions Representatives are standing by to answer your questions, and help you begin the enrollment process. Classes are enrolling now and start September 15th. Contact us today!

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