Most people are familiar with what doctors do, but not enough know what Medical Assistants (MA) do. This is a profession that is often overlooked in regards to its importance to the overall public health care system. They play an important and vital role. They are health professionals who work with and around traditional medical doctors. They work on administrative and other similar tasks to help support traditional doctors while they perform tests, tend to patients, and order drugs.
MA’s have a wide range of responsibilities, but their main tasks include working with patients before the doctor arrives. That often means measuring these patients’ vital signs, performing injections and other small medical procedures, recording information and then presenting it to the doctor, preparing the medical instruments for use by the doctor or other health care professionals, and collecting and or preparing the patient’s bodily fluids or tissues.
MA’s tend to work in care centers, urgent care facilities, as well as clinics. Today, they are finding more work in hospitals, both public and private, as well as assisted living facilities for the elderly and inpatient and outpatient facilities where doctors perform simple surgeries.
They also have many different names in the various countries where they perform work around the globe. They can be referred to as Medical Office Assistants, Clinical Assistants, Assistant Medical Officers, or Ophthalmic Assistants. What Medical Assistants are not are Physician Assistants. Physician Assistants perform many advanced medical procedures that Medical Assistants don’t. Some of these advanced procedures include surgery and therapeutic options, which Medical Assistants aren’t licensed to do.
MA’s are a valuable part of the healthcare workforce, and they perform a number of jobs that make the health care professional’s job easier. They work with doctors on a variety of issues and these make the overall level of care higher for patients everywhere. Without the work of MA’s, the quality of care would go down and there would be a number of medical issues that might be missed.
MA’s require education and training just like any other medical profession. Medical Assistants require formal training at postsecondary institutions such as technical institutes and vocational schools. Sometimes future Medical Assistants can get their education from online education programs or even community colleges. After these medical workers graduate from college, they have to become certified before they can be hired by health care providers. In the United States, four major organizations certify MA’s. The certification test that is administered is usually the CMA. The American Association of Medical Assistants, or AAMA, is one of the four major organizations that offers certification to new graduates. The CMA can be taken online and is offered at different periods throughout the year. Another test that graduates may elect to take is the RMA, which allows them to become Registered Medical Assistants. The RMA certification test is administered by the American Medical Technologists, or American Medical Technologists.