A Day in the Life of a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants wear many hats while helping doctors perform various clinical and administrative duties.

When you graduate from the medical assistant program at MTI College, you will have the background needed for an entry-level position with many possibilities.

What does a typical day for a medical assistant look like? Imagine for a moment that you are a medical assistant in a small office shared by three physicians. Here’s what you might do on any day of the week:

7:45am
Arrive at the office so you have 15 minutes to drink your coffee and take a bite of a bagel before your workday officially begins. Of course, you’re checking the patient portal while you’re doing it, in case anyone sent in a question that needs a quick answer. You organize your list into test results, appointments and medical questions for the doctor.

8:15am

Just as you begin to pull files and enter test results, you learn the receptionist is home with a sick child. You have to step in and handle the phones until someone else can step in.

8:45am

Dr. A asks you to bring her a box of examination gloves – size small – and lay out the instruments she’ll need to stitch the gash in her patient’s leg. Oh – she says you might as well stay in the room with her and help with the dressing.

9:00am

You’re on flu shot duty this morning, and the waiting room has about five seniors who need this year’s dose. Before you administer the shot, you need to ask the patients about allergies, hand them information on this year’s strain and instruct them to call if they have bad reactions after the inoculation. Just as you finish with patient number six, you’re paged by Dr. C.

10:00am

Dr. C needs help with his patient. He had surgery three days ago, and you must remove the dressing and clean the wound while the doctor looks through the post-surgical notes on the computer.

10:15am

Okay. You can finally call in that last patient for his flu shot.

10:25am

You have to get back to the call backs from the patient portal. Fortunately, most of them were to make appointments. You lucked out! All but one person answered the phone, but you left a message.

10:45am

After a much-needed bathroom break and a sip of water, you’re back in the reception area. Mrs. D has called to say her insurance provider has changed. She’s not sure if Dr. B is allowed to examine her for the follow-up to a procedure he performed on her earlier in the year. You take the phone call and tell her that you’ll contact the new company and see what’s going on.

11:00am

The other receptionist has to leave the office for an hour, and you’re asked to take calls and check patients in. You will do it, of course, but you had hoped to organize hospital admissions and lab services information for Dr. A’s patients. Well, lunch probably won’t happen today.

12:10pm

The receptionist is back, so you can take care of the hospital admissions info now. It’s a good thing you brought an apple along; that’s lunch today.

1:00pm

The afternoon patients start arriving. Dr. B’s next appointment is a new patient. After weighing her and taking her vitals, you start adding her medical history to the computer – current medications, past surgeries, the number of pregnancies, health concerns, etc. She starts sniffling because she’s gained 20 pounds since her last check-up. You talk about her diet, give her the number of a nutritionist and say that when Dr. B comes in, the three of you can talk about an exercise plan.

1:45pm

Dr. C’s patient is new, too – a two-week-old baby who is there for his first check-up. You weigh and measure him and ask his mother how often he eats and what she feeds him. She’s breastfeeding and she is afraid he isn’t eating enough. In addition, she’s worried she’s not a good mother. You reassure her and ask if she needs anything to help her. “More sleep,” she says, and you both laugh.

2:15pm

A frantic mother comes in with her seven-year-old daughter, who fell during recess. The girl’s ankle is swollen and her knee is scraped. You help getting her into the exam room and you clean off the scrapes, which just need a little antiseptic cream and a Band-Aid, but the doctor will need to check the ankle.

2:45pm

Dr. B asks hands you a stack of files and wants you to draft letters to tell patients that their routine screening exams came back clear.

3:30pm

Oops. As you look through some charts, you notice a couple of procedures were accidentally miscoded. You need to check them out, verify the correct information and make sure the information was given properly to the patients’ insurance companies.

3:45pm

It’s almost 4:00pm; where has the time gone? You’re not finished yet, though. Two more kids come in with their mother, and you accompany them to Dr. A’s examination room. Both have fevers and sore throats, and the doctor wants you to do strep tests and report back with the results.

4:00pm

The tests were positive, so Dr. A asks you to enter the information in the computer. He prescribes Amoxicillin and asks you to print the script and give follow-up instructions to the mother.

4:30pm

You’re supposed to be finished for the day, but that’s not going to happen. You need to text patients and remind them of their appointments for tomorrow, send test tubes to the lab for processing and check the supply closet to see what needs to be replenished.

5:15pm

You’re finally finished for the day. Although you’re tired, you’re proud of the job you’ve done and can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.

If you’re interested in an in-demand career that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports is expected to grow by 24 percent through 2024, consider enrolling in the medical assistant program at MTI College. Contact MTI College today.

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