Medical assistants play vital roles in today’s healthcare industry, helping doctors perform a number of clinical and administrative duties. These include administering medications, checking vital signs, drawing blood, removing sutures, noting patient medical histories, processing insurance claims and more. As you might imagine, medical assistants work in hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics, but they are needed in other locations that might surprise you.
Here are five places where medical assistants can apply their versatile skills in the healthcare industry:
Medical assistant jobs are in demand, partially because of a rapidly aging U.S. population. As people age, they usually need more medical care. A logical place to put the skills of a medical assistant to use is a retirement facility – nursing home or assisted living facility. Many of the residents are not sick; they are just elderly and need assistance. In many cases, medical assistants can administer their medication, give injections or check vitals. They may also assist residents with their daily hygiene, help them get around in wheelchairs and with walkers, provide first aid and handle basic physiotherapy sessions. In addition, because many retirement facilities have their own on-staff physicians, medical assistants can be a big help to them.
Palliative care facility
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation may effectively eradicate some or all of the disease, but both come with side effects (pain, nausea, fatigue, muscle weakness, insomnia, etc.) and disrupt quality of life. Palliative care helps relieve the symptoms and helps patients and families live the best way possible for as long as possible. Medical assistants who work in a palliative care facility can assist cancer patients with their daily care, administer medication, change dressings and lend support. They are also an excellent resource for families of patients because they can keep them up to date on the course of treatment, handle administrative tasks and offer emotional support.
A medical assistant who enjoys (or requires) schedule flexibility might decide that working in home healthcare is a good option. Many people who need regular health monitoring choose to stay in their homes rather than in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility. Others may need post-hospitalization follow-up care. In these cases, a medical assistant can provide care in the patient’s home. Some of the duties may be similar to those required in an assisted living facility, such as checking vitals, helping with mobility issues and providing medical social services.
A medical assistant is critically important to the smooth operation of a doctor’s office, hospital or medical clinic, and his or her duties are split between administrative and clinical responsibilities. If you choose to work for an insurance company, you will use more of the administrative skills you’ve learned. You will be able to understand patient medical records and be adept at organizing hospital admissions, lab services and insurance claims. Because you will know medical terminology and basic medical care, you would be a valuable resource to an insurance company.
Four branches of the U.S. military – the Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard – need medical assistants to help on bases and on the battlefield. Depending on the branch of the military you choose, you may be expected to complete additional training, including basic training that all personnel are required to take. As a medical assistant enlisted in the military, you would work with various teams of healthcare professionals in clinics on land or aboard ships. If you are deployed overseas, you would work in a mobile field hospital. If active military duty is not for you, perhaps work for the Veterans Administration (VA) in a hospital, outpatient clinic or rehab facility.
How to become a medical assistant
Medical assistants require comprehensive training in administrative, clinical and laboratory procedures. MTI College prepares students for a career in medical assistance in less than a year with impressive coursework that encompasses:
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical protocol and procedures in clinics and laboratories
- Front-office practices, including coding and billing procedures
- Patient relations
- Medical law and ethics
Additionally, a required 160-hour off-campus externship provides hands-on experience in a professional healthcare facility setting that gets you ready to hit the ground running.
Studying to become a medical assistant at MTI College offers additional benefits, including:
- The flexibility of a new program that allows you to take classes just three times a week
- Preparation for the National Certification for Medical Assisting (NCCT) exam. Exam can be taken on campus during class hours
- Access to MTI’s job placement assistance after graduation
Once you complete your medical assistant program at MTI College, you should be proficient in the skills needed to perform diverse duties in the healthcare field and can look forward to an in-demand career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of the medical assistant field on the national level is expected to increase by 24 percent through 2024.
Contact MTI College today to study for a career as a medical assistant, a role that is critically important in the healthcare industry.