Saturday, August 31, 2013

Medical Assistant In A Specialty Focus Area

medical specialty

Web definitions
medicine: the branches of medical science that deal with nonsurgical techniques

Medicine and health care encompass many specialties and subspecialties. A skilled medical assistant with sufficient basic training in all clinical, administrative and general areas of the discipline should be able to fit into any of these with additional training. 

A quality medical assistant vocational training program build the foundation for medical assistant school graduates to enter into family medicine, internal medicine (subspecialties include cardiology, gastroenterology, hematology, allergy and immunology, etc), sports medicine, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation (pain medicine) and many more. There is a plethora of different choices; the possibilities are countless.

If you are a fully qualified medical assistant and your goal is to work in a certain medical specialty area or a certain type of medical office you can prepare yourself by taking the following steps:
  • Networking - network with people who are already working in that specialty
  • Workshops - attend specialty focused workshops and job seminars
  • Studying- concentrate your studies toward your chosen direction
  • Volunteering - volunteer at community health center

Let's say you would like to apply your skills in the specialty area of dermatology, it may be expected of you that :
  1. you understand the anatomy and pathology of the integumentary system
  2. you are familiar with routine diagnostic tests and treatments for skin disorders
  3. you are able to assist the doctor during routine and special examinations of the skin
  4. you are able to explain the diagnosis and plan of care in simple terms to the patients
  5. you can correctly apply prescribed treatments, such as ointments, bandages, and dressings
To find a medical assistant school near you
visit Medical Assistant NET.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Medical Assistant Student Notes - A Blast From The Past

I attended the medical assisting vocational training program at Porter and Chester Vocational Training Institute in 1998 to become a fully qualified medical assistant. At that time, Porter and Chester had a campus in Stratford, Watertown, Enfield, and Weathersfield, Connecticut and Chicopee, Massachusetts, only one of many accredited schools in my area. Their program focuses on the clinical and administrative skills of this occupation. 

I sat for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification exam conducted by the AAMA immediately upon my successful graduation from the program, which had earned me my Medical Assistant diploma. 
I just found some of my old study notes and decided to scan some of them into my PC. Here is my illustration of the muscular system, anterior view (front).

Muscular system, anterior view

Muscular system, posterior view

I especially enjoyed anatomy and physiology (A & P) and medical terminology class. I took elaborate notes and added artful illustrations. My instructor was always very impressed and often annotated my work with excellent, and have you considered going into medical illustration.
The shoulder joint (illustration)
 Another subject I truly enjoyed was medical transcription and practicing writing our own clinical notes in different formats, such as the SOAP note. Here are a couple of my SOAP note writing exercises, corrected by my instructor. Those who wish to learn a bit more about SOAP note writing can check my website at

Friday, June 14, 2013

Medical Assistant Interview Assignment

I cannot believe instructors still give this mundane assignment. Although, as a former instructor (and MA student) I do very well understand the idea behind this exercise, it is unrealistic to send students out to find a medical assistant whom they can interview and then, give them a bad grade if they were not able to secure an appointment.

MA Students Being Asked to Interview a Medical Assistant

Countless MA students have approached me over the years, posted to my forums and here on facebook seeking a medical assistant they can interview, however, fact is conducting the interview online or by email defeats the intended purpose. The presumption is, that the MA student goes out and approaches a live person in hopes that it helps them to overcome any shyness and hesitation and teaches them to speak to a complete stranger when they formulate their questions. 

One student posted to our Medical Assistant Message Board:
Project help!
Hello, I am doing a career research project for a class in which I had to pick a career that I am interested in, a tool that is commonly used in that trade and interview someone in that profession on the tool; my tool is the scalpel. So, if someone could answer these questions it would be much appreciated: What is the best brand of scalpels? How could they be improved? How many different blades do you use? How much of a difference is there between a regular scalpel and a laser one?

Another MA student sent out the following S.O.S:
Need to Interview a Medical Assistant - Please help!
Hello! I am looking for a Medical Assistant that I can interview. I am currently enrolled in a Medical Assisting program at my Community College. For an English course I have to write a Memo about the career that I have chosen. One of the requirements is that I interview someone already in the field. We can do this over email, I just really need some help ASAP! Thanks in advance.

The Purpose of the Assignment

Supposedly, the exercise will help to build rapport with someone they don't know who is already working in the field and solidify interpersonal communication skills, while also coming across professionally and with courtesy in a medical environment. Any thing other can be faked and put together by surfing the Web, or looking through textbooks or professional magazines. That is not the purpose of this assignment, which in the end, most medical assistant students wind up doing anyway because they just cannot find a working medical assistant who has the time for an interview, either during or after work.

Why Interviewing a Medical Assistant Is Difficult

Why not just bring a seasoned medical assistant into the classroom for 1 hour instead and then allow everyone to ask a question, or two? In the end, if everyone takes a turn, everyone gets to hear 20-30 good questions and answers and the same exposure to a working medical assistant under less stress. I find it unrealistic to expect a medical assistant student walk into a medical office and beg a medical office manager for an interview with their medical assistant. Everyone's time is limited! Most physicians and medical office managers feel their MAs should be working, and rightfully so, therefore I see this as an assignment that has gone out of style and done nothing but frustrate students, except a few lucky ones who were able to get the live interview, and earn an A.