Medical Assistant: A Day in the Life

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As a Medical Assistant, you play an important role in the doctor-patient visit. You help the patient feel at ease and assist the doctor during an exam or procedure. And because every patient is different, your routine can vary from day to day. Your duties can also differ, depending on the practice, the doctor, and the needs of the patients. So, while your typical day may not be just like this mock schedule, it’s a good indicator of what you might expect:

7:30 AM -Begin the Work Day

Many doctor’s offices open at 8 a.m., but don’t you want to be the first to arrive? Open the office, settle in, and prepare for the doctor and patients. Check your email and voicemail for messages and respond to any urgent requests. Review the schedule to get an idea of what you can expect from the day and have the proper medical records ready. Take a few minutes to tidy up the waiting room. You may want to wipe down chairs, tables, and other frequently-touched surfaces. Before the first patient arrives, you’ll also prepare the exam rooms. Make sure the necessary first aid items, such as cotton pads and bandages, are fully stocked and that the doctor’s tools are already in the room.

8:00 AM -Check-In with the Doctor

When the doctor arrives, they’ll want to check in with the team. Communication is essential in the workplace, so use morning check-ins to your advantage. Ask the doctor questions, provide important reminders, and discuss any problems that you might encounter with a patient or vendor.

9:00 AM -First Patient Arrives

Before your first patient arrives, pull up their medical record. It’s critical that medical records are accurate. Check for any recent blood tests, physicals, X-rays, or any other important information the doctor may need to diagnose or treat the patient. Have those items available in the patient chart.

When the patient walks in, make eye contact and greet them with a smile. Provide them with the forms they need to fill out and ask if they have any questions. While they fill out the paperwork, let the doctor know that their first patient has arrived and double check that the exam room is ready.

9:30 AM -Take Patient Vitals

While some Medical Assistants perform either office or patient services, some do both. In a small practice, you may be the person to collect forms and then bring patients to the exam room. There, you take and record the patient’s vital signs and note them in the chart. Throughout your interactions, you’re calm, reassuring, and pleasant. The patient may feel anxious or upset, but you can ease their fears by answering their questions and walking them through what will happen next.

As you repeat the process with each patient, you’ll notice that the pace can quickly pick up. In between greeting patients, showing them to exam rooms, and taking vitals, you may also need to answer phones and assist with emergencies that arise.

11:30 AM -Lunch

To keep up with the fast pace of the job, it’s important to take time to rehydrate and refuel. Use your lunch break to relax a bit and mentally prepare for the rest of the day.

12:00 PM -Schedule Appointments

After break, check your email and voicemail for messages you may have missed. Return important calls and schedule patient appointments. Also confirm patient appointments for the next day.

1:30 PM -Assist the Doctor

The influx of scheduled patients may slow down in the afternoon. While morning appointments may have been routine check-ups, in the afternoon, you might need to assist with minor emergencies or procedures, such as stitching a wound or removing a small growth.

Before the procedure, prep the exam room. Make sure all surfaces are clean and that the appropriate tools are sterilized and laid out for the doctor. Take the patient’s vital signs and explain what they can expect during the procedure. Once it begins, hand the doctor the necessary tools and be responsive to their needs. When the procedure is complete, you may need to bandage the area and provide the patient with instructions on how to care for the area that was operated on.

2:30 PM -Administer Vaccinations

Another responsibility you might have during the pandemic is to administer COVID vaccines, booster, and flu shots. While many people have used pharmacies, clinics, and vaccination sites, the doctor you work for might provide the service for their patients.

3:30 PM -Check Supplies

Before you leave for the day, check your stock of both medical and office supplies and note what needs to be reordered. If you don’t have time to place the orders, make a note to do it the next morning.

4:30 PM -Clock Out

At the end of the day, check your email and voicemail one last time and then clock out.

If you’re ready to begin a career as a Medical Assistant, contact Charter College today. We offer a Certificate in Medical Assistant that can prepare you for an entry-level job in the field. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.