You can’t be a Medical Assistant without some kind of training and medical knowledge. If you want to enter this rewarding field, complete a Medical Assistant training program. The instructors will teach you how to perform clinical duties that will make you an asset to any healthcare team, as well as the administrative tasks that keep doctors’ offices and hospitals running smoothly. As you work through your courses, you’ll also come to realize that you may already possess some soft skills, such as communication and empathy, that are nearly as important as technical skills in this line of work.
Technical Medical Assistant Knowledge and Skills
You need to understand some basic science and math, and you need to become familiar with a whole lot of medical terminology. Your instructors should teach you how to follow safety procedures and regulations about patient care and privacy, and what you can and can’t do as a Medical Assistant. You’ll also learn how to use, care for, and disinfect medical tools and equipment. Here are some of the most important topics you’ll cover at a medical assistant school:
Learn Phlebotomy and Lab Procedures
Phlebotomy is the process of drawing blood. You’ll learn how to collect blood specimens using standard procedures that ensure the safety of your patients and you. From making sure you have the right patient and accurate labels, to actually drawing the blood, you’ll be well-trained on models and then humans. Among the most important aspects of phlebotomy is making sure you use sterile equipment and sanitize your station before and after each patient. You’ll also learn what to do if a patient has an adverse reaction during the process.
Other lab procedures might require you to collect, label, and process urine samples. Accuracy is critical throughout each and every process. You wouldn’t want a patient or their doctor to have inaccurate information that might affect treatment and care.
Learn About Electrocardiography in Medical Assistant School
The electrocardiogram or EKG is a test that helps doctors look at a patient’s heart functions. In your classes, you’ll learn how to prepare for this procedure and set up the diagnostic tool. That means attaching leads from an electrocardiograph to a patient’s body which will measure the heart’s electrical activity. Your program will teach you how to prepare the exam room, set up the machine, explain the procedure to the patient, conduct the test, and clean the equipment and room after use. You’ll also learn about different kinds of EKGs. While you won’t interpret the results of the test, after time, you will learn to identify issues that might need to be brought to a physician’s immediate attention.
Medical Billing and Coding
Some Medical Assistants spend most of their time at a computer and on the telephone. Billing and Coding is an important part of the healthcare delivery system, ensuring that patients get the benefits they deserve and that providers get paid. The instructors in your program will teach you about the billing process including how to file an insurance claim, create and submit patient invoices, and how to code patient medical records for the correct procedures. If you decided to specialize in medical billing and coding, you would memorize hundreds of codes, but there are actually tens of thousands. If you want to work in healthcare, but would prefer less patient contact, medical billing and coding might be a good path to take.
Electronic Health Records
You probably noticed on your last visit to the doctor that everything seems to be done electronically now. Electronic health records help to ensure accuracy and better collaboration among healthcare professionals. Your program will introduce you to these records and teach you how to enter information, check for discrepancies, and update them. But electronic records aren’t just a good idea; the U.S. Electronic Medical Records Mandate has required their use since 2015.
Hone Your Soft Skills in Medical Assistant School
Technical skills will help you to become a good Medical Assistant. But if you want to become a great MA, you’ll need to hone these soft skills:
Communication is a fundamental part of your job as a Medical Assistant. You need to listen closely when physicians give you instructions. You also need to listen attentively to patient concerns and speak to them in language that is clear and free of medical jargon. And you need to be adept at communicating through phone calls and emails.
When you communicate with patients, do so with compassion and understanding. Some of your patients may be nervous about seeing a doctor, or they might be afraid of what their test results show. It’s important for you to think about what they might be feeling and show that you care. With a good bedside manner, you can ease their fears and help them relax.
As a Medical Assistant, you’re an important member of your patients’ medical team. You’ll need to be able to work collaboratively and professionally with other staff members as well as any physicians, therapists, and specialists.
If you’re ready to learn how to become a Medical Assistant, call Charter College today. We offer a Certificate in Medical Assistant that will prepare you for an entry-level job in the field. Call 888-200-9942 for more information.