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4 Things To Know When You Plan On Becoming A Medical Assistant

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A career in healthcare is much sought after due to the immense opportunities available for professional growth, financial advancement and personal development. Healthcare is virtually recession-proof and offers attractive opportunities to job seekers who are dedicated, hardworking, resolute, and resourceful.

Healthcare jobs range from highly sought after allied healthcare jobs, a majority of which you qualify for as soon as you finish high school, to those of surgeons and physicians who commit close to 10 years of study in medical school.

If you do not want to incur massive student debt and spend many years in college, then a career in allied health will be the best bet for you.

Medical assistants are the backbone of successful and patient-friendly medical practices. They are essential to keep the practices running smoothly without any glitches, and ensure that the best environment is available to physicians to deliver quality patient care. Medical assistant jobs are also among the fastest growing allied healthcare jobs with an average annual salary of $29,370 as per BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

4 Things To Know When You Plan On Becoming A Medical Assistant

Read on to know about the exciting career prospects of a medical assistant.

1. What Is the Role of a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant has a pivotal role in ensuring the practice runs smoothly and efficiently, like a well-oiled system.

The responsibilities are of administrative as well as clinical nature, and will keep you on your toes through the day. A routine day involves taking care of daily administration like attending phone calls, scheduling patient appointments, receiving and replying to mail, and filling up insurance forms.

A medical assistant performs clinical duties that include recording patient history, performing preliminary tests and examinations, drawing blood and administering injections and vaccines, preparing laboratory specimens and readying them for analysis, filling up prescriptions, and advising patients on diets and medications. Medical assistants provide crucial support to physicians to allow them to see and care for more patients.

There are also specialized roles that you can opt for which allows you to assist ophthalmologists or optometrists in conducting examinations of patients. You will also have more specialized roles in medical offices of chiropractors, podiatrists and other specialists.

As a student, you will have to bear in mind that the nature of duties will vary with size and specialty, and location of practice.

2. How Can You Become a Medical Assistant?

Most states in the US do not have any strict educational requirements for practicing as medical assistants. A high school diploma or GED certificate is all that you require to start your career as a medical assistant.

When you do not have any formal training your employer will have to invest time and money in training you. You also will take some time to become an active and contributing member in your team. It is for these very reasons that many reputed employers hesitate in offering jobs to untrained candidates.

Enrolling in an accredited program will help you learn the basics of patient care and human anatomy. Some states may also require you to pass an exam or be certified, or both. In these instances knowledge of human anatomy, medical procedures, health conditions, treatment and relevant medical terminology become extremely helpful.

A good training program will also equip you with the ability to code insurance forms and fill in relevant details.

3. What Are the Essential Qualities of a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant will be on his or her toes for most part of the day. There will be patients streaming in throughout the day, and you will probably be the first and the last person they meet during their visit.

A medical assistant needs a lot of stamina, mental strength and empathy. You will meet worried patients and their loved ones. You will have to comfort them and explain health condition and benefits of the treatment they will receive. You will have to practice empathy and protect yourself from stress and strain of patient care. Good interpersonal skills will help you perform well in this role.

Sharp analytical skills will help you read and diagnose medical charts and reports. You will also be involved in measuring vital signs and recording patient medical history. A detail oriented approach is essential because what you record and code is relied upon by physicians and insurance companies.

A medical assistant uses several medical equipment and instruments to record vitals and perform laboratory tests. An accredited training program will teach you to use and maintain basic clinical equipment, and sterilize laboratory instruments.

Medical assistants who are trained in use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) are preferred by reputed employers. A good training program will teach you to maintain records in latest EHR software, and also educate you on data security practices, data storage and protection of individual patient information. You will learn to analyze and interpret EHR data and co-ordinate it for insurance-related activities.

All these skills equip you to face the challenges in today’s workplace and succeed.

4. What Are the Certifications or Licenses Required?

Most states do not require medical assistants to be certified or licensed, but they will definitely help you build your career on a foundation of strong credentials. Certification will also increase your chances of being hired by reputed hospitals and healthcare providers.

In the US, medical assistant certification is done through Certified Medical Examination (CMA). There are several agencies that conduct this examination including American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) which is widely recognized across the US. Medical assistant certification in CT is also provided by AAMA.

After you successfully complete your training program you can apply to sit for the exam through the AAMA website. The exam usually consists of multiple choice questions and a good training program will help you clear the test comfortably. The AAMA certifies successful candidates as medical assistants and will also confer the CMA certificate which is held in value across the US.

Conclusion

A career in allied health offers you fairly regular work hours, is financially rewarding and provides excellent professional growth. So enroll for the most suitable raining program to bag a job in the rapidly growing field of healthcare.

Why I Love Being A Care Assistant

Why I Love Being A Care Assistant

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Like a lot of people, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left school . . . except that I knew I wanted to help people . . . make a difference.  I’d looked at teaching, social work, nursing . . . but I just couldn’t make up my mind.

As it turned out, I left home around about the same time I left school anyway, so I needed to work to support myself alongside my studies.  I had a job in a nursery working with children Monday to Friday, but I was looking for some weekend work also to boost my income.

I happened to mention to my friend that I was looking for weekend work and she’d recently starting working for a chain of care homes in Lincolnshire.  She said they were always looking for staff and that I should go down and see her manager.

Caring for older people was something I’d never considered and at the time I never considered it a vocation.  When I phoned the manager to inquire about an interview, it was just a job I was applying for, some extra income, nothing more.

Why I Love Being A Care Assistant

So I think it would be fair to say that caring was something I ‘fell into’.  But by the end of my first day . . . I was hooked.  I absolutely loved my job. It sounds crazy, but I really felt like I was where I was destined to be there.  Older people are amazing, I love listening to their stories.  They’re full of so much life experience, whatever you think you know . . . they know better!  A typical day working as a care assistant is packed full of so many meaningful moments, I don’t think there’s another job in the world where you get that.  I’ll never find the words to express just how rewarding it is.

The job is a lot of fun too.  If you work in a good care home, they’ll be loads of activities and events to enjoy . . . trips out to the seaside or to see a show, cheese and wine parties, bingo, knitting, craft fayres, charity days . . . the list goes on.  And what’s really special about these days is watching the people that you’ve come to genuinely care about smiling, laughing and really enjoying what could otherwise be one of the darker times in their life.  Knowing that you had just a small hand in that is a feeling that can’t be measured.

And in terms of your own work/life balance, being a care assistant usually works really well.  Most care facilities work around the clock, 7 days a week, so there’s a certain amount of flexibility that can be offered.  For example, when I started at my first home I only worked weekends, because I had another job during the week.  However, I soon loved caring so much that I gave the other job up and started working full time in the care home, which I was also able to do without any fuss . . . in fact they were glad to have me there more often!  At that time, I was young, free and single so I was able to work whenever and however the home required me too.  I was also able to pick up extra shifts where they were short, which was mutually beneficial, because it was extra income for me too.  Later in life, when I had my children I was able to move into working night shifts so that I could still be a full time mum during the day . . . . So whatever situation I’ve been in with my personal life, caring has fitted in really well around it.

And perhaps that’s one of the reasons that 15 years later, I’m still working in health care.  Another reason is that as a care assistant, you will never be bored.  Firstly, every day is different.  But secondly, there are a number of very different types of setting you can work in, with a number of different types of people.  When I left the care home as a youngster I went to do my nurses training and started working in hospitals as an auxiliary.  After that I worked with mental health patients in a private home.  I’ve also worked with people with acquired brain injuries and with people with learning disabilities.  I’ve worked both in homes and within the community.  There are so many different avenues you can take.

There’s also a lot to learn.  Every time you think you know it all.  You really don’t.  Because every single person that you care for is an individual and to provide them with the outstanding care they deserve you have to get to know what they like, what they don’t, what their routines are, how they like things to be done, what they can do for themselves, what their personality is like . . . I could go on!  I suppose the only thing I struggle with is what’s called ‘professional boundaries’.  A lot of care employer’s will tell you that you are not supposed to get attached to the people you are caring for.  Well, I ask you . . . how is that possible?  People are people at the end of the day, some you like, some you don’t, some you really click with . . . and some . . . you love.  That can’t be helped. We are all human.  For me, professional boundaries mean that I still offer the same level of care to the people that I don’t like.  I still smile, I’m still friendly, I still treat them with respect and dignity . . . and I use my practical skills in the exact same way I would with anybody else . . . I just perhaps don’t feel it in my heart the way I might with some others.

I’ve had the privilege of caring for many truly amazing people over the course of my career, people that I still think of with fondness to this day, people that have taught me things that I carry with me.  We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together . . . and I wouldn’t change a single day.