Discover the Many Duties of Medical Assistants

Are you thinking about working in the healthcare field? Then read on to learn about the duties of medical assistants. You may discover the right career for you.

The day-to-day duties depend on several factors: the type of medical assistant, the state in which you are employed, and where you work. Some medical assistants work in a physician’s office, while others work in hospitals, nursing homes, or outpatient medical centers.

Kinds of Medical Assistants

The duties for medical assistants are divided into four categories:

  • Administrative
  • Clerical
  • Clinical
  • Specialist

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Administrative Medical Assistant Duties

Administrative medical assistants are more responsible for the basic running of the medical practice then they are for patient care. The duties include:

  • Billing patients
  • Filing and updating patient charts
  • Keeping track of medical and office supplies and ordering inventory
  • Scheduling office visits and surgical procedures
  • Ordering lab tests based on the doctor’s orders
  • Filling out insurance forms and dealing with insurance companies
  • Filling out C-9 forms and other paperwork for patients receiving workers’ compensation benefits
  • Arrange a patient’s hospital admission
  • Readying charts before patients begin arriving for their appointments


Duties of Medical Assistants

Clerical Medical Assistant Duties

Clerical medical assistants usually do many of the same tasks that administrative medical assistants perform, except they do not typically deal with medical records or other patient information. The duties include but are not limited to:

  • Answering telephones
  • Billing or bookkeeping
  • Typing various documents
  • Data entry
  • Signing in patients
  • Handling incoming and outgoing mail

Clinical Medical Assistant Duties

If you want to work hands-on with doctors and patients, then becoming a clinical medical assistant might be for you. The duties vary based on state law, and may include:

  • Assisting the doctor during patient exams
  • Dispensing medications
  • Discussing medical procedures with the patient and answer his or her questions
  • Taking x-rays
  • Removing stitches
  • Dressing wounds
  • Recording a patients vital signs, weight, height, and blood pressure
  • Preparing exam rooms (keeping them clean, making sure they have bandages, gloves, etc.)
  • Laboratory testing
  • Starting an IV
  • Giving physiotherapy treatment such as hydrotherapy
  • Setting up medical equipment needed during an exam
  • Sterilizing equipment
  • Properly disposing of hazardous waste
  • Helping patients dress after the exam

Specialist Medical Assistant Duties

The duties for a specialist medical assistant vary depending on the field. Below is a list of some specialties and duties that as an assistant you can expect to perform:

  • Cardiology – Prep patients for cardiovascular procedures, apply Holter monitors, and record heart test results.
  • Dermatology – Prepare specimens for the lab, review patient’s medical history, and discuss dermatological conditions with patients.
  • Gynecology – Help with patient intake and minor surgeries, help with pap smears, and explain to women how to stay healthy during pregnancy.
  • Internal Medicine – Assist with bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures, and other procedures.
  • Medical testing laboratory medical assistant – You will be required to perform inspections and testing on specimens, and record results.
  • Neurology – Draw blood, remove staples, set up a sterile environment for a procedure, or discharge instructions.
  • Oncology – Usually perform both administrative and clinical duties.
  • Optometry – You may perform basic eye exams or order medical supplies.
  • Podiatry – Help elderly patients take off their shoes and put them back on, apply fiberglass casts to a foot or ankle, give a footbath to prepare a patient for a procedure, and help with diabetic foot exams.
  • Urology – Collect urine samples, give details on medication, provide follow-up care, and insert and remove catheters.

Now that you know many of the duties required of a medical assistant, you can make an informed choice on whether or not this is the right career for you. If you would like to learn more, contact us for information.

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