Top 5 Duties of a Medical Assistant

Learn about the essential duties of a medical assistant.

completing medical assistant job objectives

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.