Often, when the doctor orders a medication and requests that the patient receives the initial, or whole dose before leaving the facility it is the medical assistant’s responsibility to it draw up, or count out the right amount of pills or drops and administer it, followed by charting the process into the patient’s medical chart.
The medical assistant externship is an important part of your vocational training and signifies the point of transition from being a student to becoming a skilled medical assistant right before your graduation. Although most medical assisting students have some apprehension about their externship once it begins they usually find it to be a highly rewarding experience.
Their first experiences of a real working environment can be formative, exhilarating and eye-opening. The externship is unpaid. Performance, punctuality and attendance are carefully tracked and reported back to the school. Midway of the externship the student will be evaluated by the medical office supervisor and will be given a final evaluation on the last day of completion.
While the student medical assistant is learning, he/she is also contributing valuable work at the externship site. Sometimes, medical practices offer the fledgling medical assistant an entry-level position upon successful graduation. Unfortunately there are more medical assistants graduates than there are jobs and although good workers are always in demand, this abundance keeps wages low–it is the availability of workers that determines their salaries.
There has been much talk among medical assistant program graduates on online forums about not being able to finding work and thinking about volunteer work.
Other factors in play are a medical facility’s size, number of patients, specialties and location. A large HMO with specialists and clinicians working together in one practice can afford to offer good salaries and perks, while a small single-provider practice might struggle to keep patients, so salaries are low.
The medical assistant’s present and past conduct and engagements can positively or negatively influence the public’s opinion about a specific medical office and facility, therefore both, conduct and qualifications, are VERY important. It is important to act, dress and speak appropriately and professionally around patients, doctors and other healthcare professionals.
No where is the need for proper identification and personal integrity as great as in the medical and healthcare field where doctors and allied health professionals continually deal with people that are vulnerable, and in need of guidance and care.
Accepting a standard job application at face value has resulted in companies wasting time and money due to frequent hire-and-fire situations and negligent hiring lawsuits that resulted from the actions of an unqualified, or irresponsible employee. Rapid employee turn-over and negligence law suits can seriously damage a medical practice’s credibility and lead to hefty fines for the doctor. When it comes to jobs that require interacting with children, the infirm, disabled and aged patients in the health care system a pre-employment background check is one way to ensure the doctor remains compliant with federal and state regulations when he/she hires assistive staff.
Medical assistant training comes in many forms—from hands-on instruction on the job, to formal training in a school, or informal online medical assistant programs provided over the Internet.
There are many medical assistant schools; some are state funded and government regulated, such as community colleges, others are private vocational training institutions for profit. While the outcome is essentially the same (a medical assistant diploma or degree) attending a community college usually costs less.
Luckily, college is not the only answer to leaning a skilled trade such as medical assisting. Many community funded and private vocational training institutions offer secondary and post-secondary education programs. Typical educational requirements to be accepted into a medical assistant program are:
- at least 18 years of age
- high school diploma, or equivalent