People often confuse medical assistant (MA) with a physician's assistant (PA), but they're very different jobs. PAs generally have to go through a lot of schooling, and usually work in the place of a doctor in urgent care centers.
A medical assistant is extremely important in bringing proper care to people as well, but becoming one doesn't require as many formal classes and certifications.
Your Responsibilities At Work
Medical assistant duties take different forms, and your exact job description will vary depending on whether or not you work for a small family practice or a larger hospital. You may be asked to do everything in a small office from paperwork to sterilization.
In a bigger medical setting, you may take the incoming patient's vital measurements like blood pressure, temperature, weight, and medical history.
A Sweet Spirit Is A Top Quality
If you enjoy helping patients feel more comfortable and hope to provide excellent care, then this may be the perfect position for you. Medical assistants need to have excellent people skills—you’ll be working with every type of personality, under every type of situation. Sometimes people lash out when they're not feeling well, so those with thin skins may not thrive here. You should be able to take up the challenge of finding common ground with even the most scared or angry of patients. There are few things more important than picking a line of work that makes you happy, so ask yourself the hard questions now.
Competent MAs who do everything possible to connect with their patients play a huge role in the overall patient experience. The happier patients are, the more likely the facility will thrive. Attitudes are everything in the medical industry, and even just a few bad reviews left by unsatisfied patients can have a negative impact on everyone. If you choose this career, you need to be ready to combat tough cases with a smile.
What About Certification?
Technically, you don't need to have a certification—or even a diploma—to do this job. You can learn more about what MAs do either by getting hired as a receptionist and working your way up or by being hired directly for the position. However, you'll need to be ready to really show your superiors what you can do from you very first day if you choose not to get a certificate.
You can also earn a board certification by taking the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam given by the American Association of Medical Assistants. This will definitely give you the edge over someone who doesn't have a certification, so it would be worth attending classes to get ready for the test. You'll especially want to do this in the more competitive cities.
Another an advantage when trying to get hired: Look for ways to get as much hands-on experience as possible. Volunteers have the opportunity to get to know people within their field, even people in charge of hiring. You’ll make friends, learn skills from seasoned medical professionals, and most importantly, help people.
A New Part Of Your Identity
While this was just a quick exploration of medical assisting, it gives you a look at what you’ll do in the career and how important personality can to success. If you have that great attitude and a desire to help people with their health, make “medical assistant” your title by finding classes near you.