Career Profile: Medical assistants: The face of patient care

Nurse Anesthesiologist

Medical assistants are one of the most important points of contact for patients in any hospital or healthcare setting. They are highly skilled in clinical or clerical medical procedures. Perhaps most importantly, they are caring, good at communicating, and take pleasure out of helping others.

Think about the last time you went to see a doctor. How much time did you actually see the physician? You most likely spent several minutes talking to the person at registration and then spoke to a nurse or other medical assistant about the reason for your visit and the tests that would be performed that day. Yet another medical aide may have come in to prep you for the tests or even administer the procedures.

And the doctor? He or she came in mid-way to perform some tests and, later, to discuss the findings of the exams. Clearly, the physician’s role is critical to healthcare, but where would the doctor be without all of the support personnel that deal with and care for patients for the bulk of their visit?

Behind every primary caregiver is a network of multi-skilled professionals who ease patients through the medical process, from beginning to end.

Some medical assistants specialize in administrative areas, such as answering telephones and greeting patients, maintaining medical records and insurance forms, or arranging laboratory procedures.

Clinical medical assistants talk with patients about their medical histories, treatment procedures, and medications; assist physicians with exams; collect and prepare lab specimens; and, in some cases, administer medications.

With an aging population, there’s an expected boom in medical care. Nursing homes, hospitals, and private clinics are looking for qualified medical assistants to handle the growing number of patients. The medical assisting profession is projected to be among the fastest growing employment areas in America over the next several years.

You can join this integral part of the medical field with a certificate or degree from a medical assistant training school. An investment of 1-2 years could lead to a lifelong career helping others.