Top 5 Duties of a Medical Assistant
Learn about the essential duties of a medical assistant.
Medical assisting is a highly rewarding profession that provides some of the most flexible career opportunities in health care.
Work in the front office, completing a variety of administrative tasks. Or build your career on the clinical side, carrying out tasks that range from taking vital signs to counseling patients on medical procedures.
Here are five important job objectives you can expect to perform as a medical assistant.
1. Build Relationships With Patients
Being a good listener falls among the most vital medical assistant duties. Whether they see a patient once a year or several times a month, medical assistants offer an understanding ear for patients going through routine doctor's exams or struggling with chronic disease. Good medical assistants know when to talk, when to listen and how to match a patient's mood or personality in their responses. The relationships they build with with patients result in a positive influence on both the patient's outlook and the medical office's reputation.
2. Update Patient Medical Records
One of your most important tasks as a medical assistant is keeping patient medical records current. You'll record a patient's current weight and blood pressure, and key their pre-exam interview responses into a computer database. You may also be responsible for filing patient medical records, and adding written accounts from physicians or nurses based on exams and any lab tests.
3. Prepare Exam Rooms
On the clinical side of medical assistant's duties, preparing exam rooms is a top priority. This requires a number of steps, from disposing of contaminated supplies to sterilizing medical tools. Medical assistants might also perform the following tasks:
- Restock medical tools and equipment
- Arrange exam room instruments
- Set up lab trays necessary for a patient's exam
4. Manage Laboratory Tests and X-Rays
As a medical assistant, you'll frequently arrange for laboratory services. Depending on their certification and employer, some medical assistants might collect and prepare lab specimens and perform basic lab tests. Further, many play a role in patient X-rays, as coordinators with the medical imaging team, or in assisting with X-ray preparation and development.
5. Perform Routine Medical Tasks
Drawing blood, delivering injections, administering medications, removing sutures, changing dressings—clinical medical assistants may complete any number of these tasks. In addition, you may explain medical procedures to patients and instruct them on dietary issues, medications and other areas relevant to their specific health condition.
Education and Career Guide
- Medical Assistant Training Time to completion, classes and more.
- Accreditation Learn about the importance of accreditation.
- Choosing a Degree Diploma or associate's? What's best for you?
- Student Interview What it's like in medical assistant school.
- Scholarships & Financial Aid Got questions? We've got answers.
- Career Intro Find out what a medical assistant career is like.
- Top 5 Medical Assistant Duties Learn about typical medical assistant duties.
- Salary Information What to expect in a medical assistant salary.
- Top 5 Reasons to Become a Medical Assistant Learn why a medical assistant career may be for you.
- Certification 90% of medical assistants are certified. Find out what's required.
- Professional Interview Read a first-hand account about a medical assistant career.
- Professional Terms Glossary The guide to sorting it all out.