This article explores the responsibilities of medical assistants in hospitals.
Recently, healthcare services have been in high demand. All thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The medical field is experiencing a surge in employment, hence the need for front-line workers.
While medical coders, pharmacy technicians, and clinic managers work in hospitals, can medical assistants also work in hospitals?
What duties do they perform in a clinical setting?
What Do Medical Assistants Do in a Hospital?
Medical assistants can perform administrative and clinical tasks, whether working in hospitals or private practices. The role of a medical assistant varies from state to state.
Typically, medical assistants work alongside physicians and nurses in hospitals. Depending on the needs of the department or employer, a medical assistant may be assigned to a floor or unit in the healthcare facility.
Overall, a medical assistant is expected to do the following regardless of the unit they’re delegated to:
- Collect biological samples
- Take vital signs
- Prepare patients for procedures like electrocardiograms (EKGs) or blood tests
- Administer routine vaccinations to patients
The duties of a medical assistant include:
Medical assistants form an essential part of the administrative team of a hospital.
These professionals perform administrative tasks and clinical and clerical duties. They double as a secretary or receptionist for the physician.
Considering the number of patients received in a day, medical assistants help with answering phones and emails.
They are a bridge between patients and healthcare professionals. Medical assistants schedule patient appointments, manage medical records, and handle billing tasks.
They also help with patients’ paperwork and liaise with insurance companies regarding patient coverage.
In addition, a medical assistant must be a good multitasker. Multitasking is required as they’ll need to switch between tasks and complete them efficiently.
Emergency Room Duties
Medical assistants working in the emergency unit are expected to handle stress well, work under pressure and build team spirit. In addition, these professionals should be patient, detail-oriented, and enjoy caring for others.
Being in a fast-paced environment, you may take additional responsibilities while working in the emergency unit.
Medical assistants help patients process their paperwork, prepare patients for ER and offer support to patients and medical staff.
Other duties of these experts include ordering and stocking supplies, preparing discharge instructions, filing health records, facilitating transportation to facilities, etc.
It’s important to note that an emergency room may not work efficiently without a medical assistant in the medical team.
Like nursing assistants, medical assistants offer patient care in clinical settings. They help the patient with cleaning, dressing, and feeding.
These professionals are usually by the bedside of patients, helping them to turn or move. They can also perform clinical tasks like checking blood pressure, drawing blood, etc.
Besides clinical and administrative tasks, medical assistants can also work in laboratories. They draw blood for biological tests, perform phlebotomy, and collect specimens like stool, urine, and throat swabs.
Medical assistants can also conduct laboratory tests like urinalysis and other in-office tests. Medical staff should be well acquainted with laboratory methods and readings for good results.
Which Department Can Medical Assistants Work In?
Administrative roles form the crux of a medical assistant’s responsibilities in a hospital. However, these tasks are combined with clinical functions.
Below are departments to work in as a medical assistant.
A medical assistant can work in the financial section of a hospital doing the following:
- Setting up payment plans
- Filing insurance claims
- Answering billing questions
Typically, medical assistants can work in all hospital areas, including maternity, labor, and delivery department.
Working in the maternity department, medical assistants perform the following:
- Recording the new mother’s medical history
- Answering phone calls
- Fixing identification bands on babies
- Restocking supplies
- Documenting the number of births
- Scheduling follow-up visits for the mother and child
Medical assistants perform the following tasks in outpatient surgery:
- Assist medical staff with patient care
- Admit patients for procedures
- Offer support to patients’ family
- Set up medical instruments for surgical procedure
- Review discharge instructions
- Taking vital signs before the procedure
Besides medical assisting duties, medical assistants can learn imaging technologies. Here’s how medical assistants help with radiologic examinations:
- Providing instructions to patients
- Scheduling patients for a procedure
- Handling X-ray film
- Filing radiographs and reports
- Sanitizing procedure areas
The roles and responsibilities of a medical assistant include the following:
- Filing insurance forms
- Handling correspondence between patients and physicians
- Reviewing privacy policies with patients’
- Archiving paper records
Can Medical Assistants Work in Hospitals?
Yes, they can. Hospitals have many medical assistants handling different medical cases and patient care options.
Many medical assistants begin their careers in hospitals for a broadened understanding of various specialties.
With exposure to different clinical areas, medical assistants gain vast experience in many situations, including life-threatening cases.
Who Does a Medical Assistant Work With in a Hospital?
Medical assistants work in the hospital alongside other people. To perform their duties efficiently, they need to connect with other staff on the medical team.
As a medical assistant, you’ll likely work with the following:
- Pharmacy technicians
- Nursing assistants
- Nutritionists and dietary aides
- Social workers
- Laboratory technicians
- Maintenance and environmental service employees
- Accountants and auditors
- Billing and coding specialists
- Supply vendors
- Records technicians
- Insurance company representatives
- Unit clerks
What Skills are Needed to Work as a Medical Assistant in a Hospital?
To work as a medical assistant in the hospital, you need to possess technical skills, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, etc. Here is a list of medical assisting schools that prepare you for this career.
Let’s consider some of these skills.
Communication skills: Medical assistants must have strong verbal and written communication skills. They should be active listeners that understand the plights of patients.
Patients should feel comfortable speaking to you about their health conditions.
Organizational and clerical skills: Medical assistants perform administrative roles like answering phones, reviewing patient files, and scheduling appointments.
They’re also required to be highly organized and possess clerical skills.
Time management: Typically, employees are expected to be good time managers. As a medical assistant, you’ll need to learn time management to carry out your duties.
Medical assistants may need to carry out some clerical duties. Thus, they must prioritize time management. Employers expect that tasks are completed in ample time.
Basic medical knowledge: Medical assistants can be instructed to perform basic medical procedures. These procedures include drawing blood, changing bandages, knowledge of First Aid, CPR, etc.
This is a must-have skill that you should include in the experience section of your resume.
Cleanliness: A rule of thumb in the healthcare industry is to keep all equipment and work areas clean. Cleanliness and organization should form the core values of every medical assistant.
As a medical assistant, you should learn to keep medical equipment sterile and free from contamination.
Attention to detail: Another skill employers prioritize when recruiting a workforce is attention to detail. Medical assistants keep a record of procedures or medications that patients are using.
Record-keeping is crucial to tracking therapies, monitoring the effectiveness of medications, and improving patient outcomes.
To keep an accurate record of a patient’s medical history, medical assistants need to pay attention to details.
Interpersonal skills: Most medical assistants’ duties support patient interactions. Hence, they must build interpersonal skills. Most times, patients interact with a medical assistant first before meeting a physician.
Also, medical assistants are expected to possess problem-solving skills. This skill comes in handy when an assistant struggles to operate clinical equipment or tends to a severely ill patient.
Besides problem-solving skills, medical assistants should be able to work with a medical team to offer the best patient care. Another interpersonal skill that a medical assistant needs to have is empathy.
Typically, all healthcare workers should be empathic towards their patients, showing love, care and kindness to them in their weak states.
Medical assistants must be sensitive to patients’ needs when attending to them.
Computer skills: Since medical assistants will be performing administrative tasks, computer literacy is an important skill they must possess.
It’s expected that they have a proficient knowledge of computers to carry out their work efficiently.
Following guidelines and policies: Most healthcare services operate by policies and procedures.
You should follow these measures strictly to ensure the safety of patients and the smooth running of the organization.
Medical assistants need to get acquainted with the protocols that guide patient care, paperwork, and customer service. Generally, employers familiarize medical assistants with the protocols of the health organization.
Prior knowledge and experience in this field give the professional an advantage when actively looking for jobs.
Academic skills: While it’s essential to build the skills mentioned above, you need to have a certification or complete a bachelor’s degree program in medical assisting to practice as a medical assistant.
I hope you find this post helpful?
Guess you’ve been exposed to the world of medical assisting, the roles and responsibilities, who a medical assistant can work with, and the skills they need to excel in their medical assisting profession.