Going to the doctor isn’t usually a fun experience, but trained healthcare professionals often make it as stress-free, relaxing and efficient as possible. When we say healthcare professionals, we don’t just mean doctors and nurses. In fact, the first medical professionals you are most likely to see at the doctor’s office aren’t certified physicians; they are medical assistants. But what is a medical assistant and why are they important in healthcare? Read on to discover why medical assistants are an invaluable part of our healthcare system.
Medical Assistants And The Many Hats They Wear
What’s a Medical Assistant? Before you see a doctor, you usually see someone who leads you to the exam room, takes your vitals, and checks your height and weight. These people are called medical assistants. While they are not doctors and cannot give out prescriptions or explicit medical advice to patients, they can ask about your symptoms, take note of your health concerns, and pass important information on to your doctor. Some primary responsibilities of medical assistants include;
- Drawing blood
- Providing hospital dresses
- Completing basic laboratory exams
- Reviewing medical histories
- Helping patients understand how and when they should take medications
- Advising patients about their general health progress
Medical assistants engage with patients on a daily basis and are the face of the medical establishment they work for. They need to be adaptable, compassionate, and quick problem solvers. While medical assistants do not usually get as much recognition as doctors and nurses, they are still an integral part of our healthcare system.
- Rasmussen University Medical Assisting department chair Denise Pufall supports this idea, stating; “Medical assistants have a very diverse and wide skill set..they are a great support to a medical practice by having the ability to perform both patient care duties and both front- and back-office duties.”
Uncertain about Healthcare? Medical Assistants Can Help
Medical Assistants Influence Our Perception of Healthcare: Have you ever been nervous at the doctor’s office? If so, you are not alone. A recent study shows that six in ten Americans have avoided seeking medical attention, citing anxiety as the main source. Medical assistants play a great role in easing the patient’s anxiety and setting a welcoming tone for the visit.
- First impressions are everything, and if patients have a good initial experience with a medical assistant before seeing a doctor, they are more likely to return and keep looking after their health.
MA’s work with everyone in healthcare, from doctors to insurance companies. Their general understanding of all aspects of healthcare makes them a great knowledge resource for patients.
Medical Assistants Make Healthcare Run Smoothly: Approximately half of all American adults don’t understand everything their doctor tells them. Medical assistants play a vital role in checking the patients’ understanding of their visit, answering questions, and explaining complex medical concepts in terms everyone can understand. This not only helps prevent medication and aftercare problems but also makes patients feel safe and cared for.
How Medical Assistants Are Fighting Covid
Medical Assistants Step Up To The Plate During Covid: COVID-19 has placed medical facilities in an all-hands-on-deck emergency. This means that every healthcare worker is necessary for fighting the COVID-19 crisis. Not only are qualified MAs more in demand, but their scope of responsibilities is changing.
- In 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) authorized MAs to screen patients for potential Covid exposure, and perform nasal swabbing for testing.
- The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) issued a policy brief in December 2020 helping MAs to administer vaccines and learn about emergency reactions to adverse side effects.
States including Tennessee and Washington now allow certified MAs to administer COVID-19 vaccines under the supervision of a registered nurse or practitioner. In Wisconsin, for example, medical assistant apprentices are allowed to take swabs from symptomatic patients and even support teachers at UW Health’s daycare facility by caring for children while their parents work on the frontlines.
Medical Assistants For A Stronger Healthcare Workforce
Medical assistants play a crucial role in making your healthcare experience as safe,organized, and enjoyable as possible. The next time you go to the doctor’s office, acknowledge the medical assistant who leads you to the exam room, checks your vitals and prepares you for your exam. What was your last experience at the doctor’s office like, and how did your medical assistant help you? Share your thoughts and experiences with us at WeLearn, because together we learn.