An externship is required when training to become a medical assistant (MA). Candidates with equal theoretical and practical knowledge are prioritized for most jobs in the field.
Externships are a common feature of recognized MA training programs’ study curricula because of this.
They are designed to assist you with gaining practical industrial experience and applying your academic learning to real-world situations.
Considering this career path, you should be familiar with an MA practicum. Luckily, this article will examine this practicum scheme, its length, and the benefits you can reap.
Where can I do my externship as a medical assistant? Find out without any delay. Let’s ride on.
Understanding Medical Assistant Externship
Graduates must be highly knowledgeable, professional, and experienced to pursue a career in MA. You can apply what you learn in the classroom to work experience by participating in an externship or practicum.
In other words, you’ll get a brief period of real-world work experience that could give you a competitive advantage when you start your career.
A practicum may also allow you to choose the best professional route. Others may prefer administrative positions, while others may be more interested in clinical tasks.
Where you work will also depend on the specialty you choose.
You can work with seasoned medical professionals throughout your fieldwork and learn their clinical and administrative practices firsthand.
You’ll also meet people who might be helpful to you later. You will help doctors conduct procedures and collect blood samples as part of patient care during your fieldwork.
You may greet patients, collect data, review their medications, and coordinate patient care with other healthcare experts.
All of these duties shall be performed under the direct supervision of licensed healthcare experts.
How to Find Externship Sites for Medical Assistants
MA fieldwork can be completed in various locations, including schools and hospitals.
Other places include outpatient clinics, sexual health clinics, private practices, and different health-related environments. Those in a pediatric clinic will work with children and teens of all ages.
They’ll practice vital skills that can be useful in different settings. These include vaccine admin, recording vital signs, and assisting with minor examinations.
Practitioners specializing in drug and alcohol rehab should expect to work with clients in addiction treatment programs.
Your job will be to provide direct care during detox and acquire valuable experience with tasks. You may also be able to deliver basic STD tests and provide patient counseling for sexual health matters.
What Medical Assistants Do During Externship
While completing your practicum in this field, you’ll do many things. You’ll help MAs with daily tasks in both the clinical and admin sections.
As stated earlier, these tasks will be completed under close supervision by physicians. Some clinical duties you’ll execute include patient care, patient education, treatment, and assisting doctors with surgery.
Some clinical duties you’ll perform include preparing patients for exams, collecting samples for pathology testing, and logging vital signs.
You’ll also take medical histories, give injections and vaccines, set up medical equipment, complete numerous lab-based tasks, and explain procedures, tests, and follow-up to patients.
Besides clinical tasks, you may also gain administrative experience, such as managing inventories.
Others include scheduling appointments, handling insurance and billing claims, using electric health record systems, working with staff to determine supply needs and place orders, etc.
Asking questions is also an act of active participation, which is critical during the practicum. You’ll gain a more vital understanding of the medical assistant profession.
Moreover, you’ll be allowed to explain medications or treatments that the patient is to perform at home.
What to Expect from MA During Externship
Students have many expectations as they complete their MA fieldwork. You’ll be expected to be professional since you’ll be involved with clinical tasks.
We mean, you must dress appropriately for a clinical setting. Additionally, you must be cautious of staff and patients and follow all workplace policies.
As an extern in clinical assisting, you’re expected to be observant. You should be focused and present while shadowing when critical tasks are performed.
Finally, it would be best if you were open to learning. It can occasionally take work to adapt what you learn in class to real-world situations.
Errors might happen at any time when performing specified tasks. As a result, you must be willing to learn from them and keep an open mind.
How Long Does It Take to Finish an MA Externship?
You must know the duration of the MA fieldwork when participating in one.
Most medical assistant practicums typically last around 100 hours. The time is often spread throughout the semester. You may be asked to complete 15 hours of practicum per week.
If you sum it all up, you’ll be expected to finish your practicum classes in about two months. While true, some externships take around 12 weeks (3 months) to complete.
So, the precise time to finish depends on the specific requirements of the externship and program.
For instance, community colleges’ MA studies plan their fieldwork to be finished for the semester. A weekly commitment of 12 hours is necessary.
While some institutions require you to enroll in regular classes while doing your fieldwork, others will hire you after completing your coursework.
Benefits of a Medical Assistant Externship
Practice programs frequently offer a variety of advantages, a competitive edge, and better professional success. Students will have the possibility of making beneficial contacts that are valuable. You’ll meet people at the facility while you observe an MA expert, and they can help you get a career.
Additionally, you will be able to apply your theoretical understanding. We refer to your understanding of administrative duties, lab work, and patient care.
Another person you can talk to is an expert in the field who can offer their ideas. You’ll do better both during and after your studies with these insights.
A practicum also offers the advantages of skill development, an inside look into your future, and close observation.
When you shadow, you will learn what abilities to concentrate on to succeed in your career. Additionally, it will enable you to acquire crucial abilities that will set you apart in the field.
Differences Between Internships and External Positions
Unsurprisingly, some individuals need to become familiar with the variations between these two practicum programs. But don’t worry; we’ll explain that to you.
Externships entail the unpaid observation of an MA specialist. As an extern, you are responsible for spending a lot of time watching a professional perform their everyday duties.
However, an internship is a paid or voluntary position where an intern performs MA duties under supervision by a certified physician or medical assistant.
For aspiring practitioners, an apprenticeship as an MA is essential. You’ll be able to obtain practical experience in managing the office and providing effective patient care.
You must engage in an MA program at the college or healthcare facility to acquire such expertise. Important information about this practicum is located just above.