IBMC Articles

What Duties are Performed by Medical Assistants?

Medical assistants are hired by doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals to take care of common tasks that are unique to the medical field. In many cases, patients mistake them for nurses. After all, these assistants typically wear white coats and provide help to doctors. However, in modern times, the fields are typically considered to be separate. Therefore, someone looking for education needs to be sure of which field to aim for.

What do Medical Assistants Do?

These personnel often meet patients right after they have been shown to an examination room. They’re the people who come in and take blood pressure and temperature, get the patient’s weight, and ask preliminary questions about the patient’s overall condition and specific reason for the visit. Many patients won’t see the assistant again until the next visit, and this can give the impression that there isn’t any more to the job.

This impression, however, is incorrect. Medical assistants also give shots, take blood, change wound dressings, remove sutures, and handle other tasks that were once reserved for nurses. The confusion between assistants and nurses stems, in part, from the overlap in duties of this nature.

In hospitals and larger clinics, medical assistants take care of an even wider variety of tasks. They may prepare lab specimens, get patients into position for x-rays, take the x-rays, and deal with other diagnostic equipment. Behind the scenes, they can be responsible for equipment sterilization and a different variety of lab work.

What Does it Take to Become a Medical Assistant?

This is a licensed profession, so the big requirement is to get a license. Getting one requires attending a Longmont, CO college or other institution that offers degrees or diplomas in the field. The credential will be one of the requirements of getting the license. Then, the graduate will need to take and pass the licensing exam in the state where he or she will practice.

As this shows, medical assisting in Cheyenne or Longmont doesn’t involve a long or arduous process. Most programs take two years or less to complete. This time frame also helps in another way: It keeps the cost of education affordable. Programs like the Pell Grant are also available to help with costs. Because of these things, medical assisting is a popular career choice. Best of all, job growth in the field is good thanks to the aging of the population.