There are few industries that offer as much opportunity and stability as the healthcare industry. If you are considering a career in healthcare, becoming a clinical medical assistant may be perfect for you. A career in medical assisting could provide you with everything you’re looking for: a short training period, excellent job opportunities, a good salary, and a professional working environment.
If you are ready to start a career as a healthcare support worker, you’ll find everything you need to become a clinical medical assistant right here:
What Is a Clinical Medical Assistant?
A clinical medical assistant is a medical support professional that performs a variety of tasks to assist physicians in providing patient care, while ensuring that clinics and hospitals run smoothly and efficiently. While clinical medical assistants working in a smaller practice may be required to perform some administrative tasks, those working in larger medical facilities focus mainly on providing support services directly related to patient care.
While administrative medical assistants work mainly at the front desk and reception area of a clinic or doctor’s office, clinical medical assistants are more often found at the physician’s side working in close contact with patients.
Ideal Characteristics of a Clinical Medical Assistant
In order to be successful as a clinical medical assistant, job candidates must have certain personality characteristics. First, medical assistants need to be compassionate while still maintaining a professional distance.
The job often involves working with people who are frustrated, anxious, tired, sick, and possibly even dying. This means that medical assistants must be compassionate and understanding in order to meet patients’ needs and provide them with the best possible care. However, medical assistants must temper compassion with a level of professional distance so as to avoid becoming overwhelmed by stress and grief.
Clinical medical assistants must also be excellent communicators. They must be able to convey ideas and information succinctly, and must also be able to listen and pay attention to the details of all the information they receive. Since much of the information exchanged will only be stated once, and often while the medical assistant is performing other tasks, good listening is one of the top skills physicians look for when hiring medical assistants.
Finally, clinical medical assistants should be organized and able to multitask effectively. Much of the workday will consist of keeping track of large quantities of information while keeping up with the treatment and progress of several patients at once. Because of the demanding nature of the job, medical assistants must be able to handle stress and think clearly on the fly.
Skills Needed to be a Successful Clinical Medical Assistant
Successful clinical medical assistants must have a variety of specialized skills in order to perform their jobs well. They must have a good understanding of medical procedures, as well as a familiarity with medical terminology so as to be able to read and understand patient charts.
Medical assistants must also be able to use the tools and equipment the job requires, including stethoscopes, EEG and EKG machines, laboratory equipment, sterilization tools, and more.
Nature of the Job
A day in the life of a clinical medical assistant can differ greatly depending on the size of the facility they work in, as well as the number of people on staff. Typically, medical assistants prep rooms and prepare patients for examinations, while helping manage medical supply inventories. Clinical medical assistants may also assist nurses and physicians provide direct patient care by taking medical histories, charting vitals, and assisting in examinations and procedures. In some cases, clinical medical assistants may perform more advanced tasks under the supervision of a physician, which may include cleaning and dressing wounds, removing sutures, collecting blood and other specimens, as well as administering medication.
Even in well-staffed practices, clinical medical assistants often perform some administrative duties. These duties may include filing records, scheduling lab work and hospital admissions, making follow-up calls to patients, phoning in prescriptions, and calling to get lab test results.
In small practices, clinical medical assistants may be responsible for much of the day-to-day business operations of the medical practice. In these instances, medical assistants can expect to schedule appointments, file insurance claims, perform bookkeeping, prepare billing statements, and more.
Clinical medical assistants are recognized as some of the most versatile and important members of any medical practice.
Clinical Medical Assistant Education and Training
Some medical assistants have been able to enter the field with no more than a high school diploma. However, HIPAA and other developments in the healthcare field have created a need for formally trained medical assistants, which is what most employers look for.
To become a formally trained clinical medical assistant, you must complete either a certificate program or a two-year associate’s degree program. As with most occupations, more education often leads to greater career potential and higher earnings.
During training, you will study everything you will need to know to be an effective clinical medical assistant. Classes will cover content that includes anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, ethics, and medical law. You will also study administrative content including insurance billing, bookkeeping, office management, and much more.
Most accredited programs also include a clinical practice component that will allow you to gain real-world experience and give you an opportunity to practice what you have learned in the classroom.
If you are ready to make a positive change in your life by becoming a clinical medical assistant, getting the right training will be the first step towards a dream career that is meaningful, challenging and rewarding.
By becoming a medical assistant, you can look forward to getting the training and education you need in a short period of time, and quickly enter a field that pays an average salary of nearly $34,500 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of jobs in the field to grow by 23% in the current decade, making now the perfect time for you to become a medical assistant.