4 Medical Assistant Myths – BUSTED!
1. A medical assistant is the same as a nurse.
Busted! A medical assistant is a highly skilled allied health professional, trained to work in ambulatory health care settings. The medical assistant is the physician’s right hand, the patient advocate, the liaison between the doctor and patient. The medical assistant will obtain your health history, take your vital signs, inquire about the reason for your visit, assemble items needed for your exam, and assist the physician during the exam. The medical assistant will administer any ordered medications and injections; apply dressings, splints or casts; draw blood and collect other specimens, perform lab tests, obtain ECGs, collect specimens The medical assistant will schedule your outpatient, specialty, or follow-up appointment, make sure you have prescriptions, health related information and/or follow up instructions. Most of your time during a visit to the physician’s office will be spent with the medical assistant.
2. Anyone can be a medical assistant with a little on-the-job training.
Busted! While it is true that some states do not require formal academic training for medical assistants, OJT is not a realistic proposition for employers. Most employers require that medical assistants have not only completed formal training, but also require them to be certified. Most agencies providing the means for certification require that candidates have completed formal training through an accredited program approved by the US Department of Education. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), is the professional organization for medical assistants, and offers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, requires that candidates have completed a program accredited by either Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
3. If I am a CNA then I am also qualified to be a medical assistant.
Busted! See item number 2. Most accredited medical assistant diploma programs are six to twelve months of intense study and skills training. Some associate degree programs may be 18 to 24 months.
4. A medical assistant must work under the direction of a nurse.
Busted! While some employers who also employ nurses may have corporate organizational structure that provides direct supervision by nursing staff, it is far more common to see medical assistants working directly with physicians and being supervised by senior medical assistants. In Utah and most other states, the practice of medical assisting is governed in the administrative code under the Medical Practice Act; therefore, they work as an agent of the licensed physician, practitioner, or facility employer.
These are all good things to keep in mind if you are wondering about a career as a medical assistant. If you are shopping for a program, be sure to check the school and program accreditation and make sure it meets the requirements of the professional organizations and credentialing agencies.
If you are ready to become a medical assistant in Utah, AmeriTech College is home of the longest-running medical assistant program in Utah. #ATCpride