What Doctors Want...A Medical assistant must know a wide variety of skills pertaining to medical office administration routines and clinical tasks revolving around patient intake procedures, patient record management, medical history taking, setting up EKGs, spirometry, immunizations, blood draws, charting, measuring orthopedic fittings and such. Some situations may involve biohazard risks where Universal Standard Precautions must be practiced. Also, doctors WANT their medical assistants carry a mobile smart phone to be used under certain circumstances to benefit the medical practice and patients.
And Medical Assistant Schools Don't Know!Written by a practicing physician!
by M.D. on Jun 24, 2009 - 12:49AM
M.D., a doctor who posted on the medical assistant forum, tells us:
"One overall thing I have a gripe about as a practicing physician, which is that the medical assistant schools are not teaching what I want."
1. Do I want you doing my billing? In all honesty, no/zero. I do not want someone with only a high school education keeping track of my billing, reports & posting deposits, that had 2 months of training in it. On a scale of 1-10, I'd rate this a 2 (nearly non-important). MA schools don't know this.Room a patient? Yes, clean up the room from the last pt, get the chart, take VS, hgt, wgt, etc.!
2. Do I want you to be able to work computer appointments, or know manual appointment methods? Yes, in a pinch, but that is, in my opinion, the job of the front office person.
3. Do I want you to know and understand medical terminology & abbreviations? Yes, absolutely.
4. Would I *love* to have you be knowledgeable enough to know how to get Epocrates Online on your hand-held PC tablet iPhone type thing (that you should be having)? Yes, absolutely. You should know how to use apps like this when looking up & giving meds. By the time a book is published, it is out of date. So forget those hard copy nursing drug manuals - ancient history. (MA schools don't know this either).
Know what is sterile? And what is not (& how to clean it up)? Yes absolutely, or we both get in trouble (financially or morally).
Give injections? Yes. Know sites for various injections/ age group; IM, SQ, needle sites, gauge, syringe size.
Know math? Absolutely. Don't kill my patients with a wrong dose EVER.
Draw blood? Not super important as most offices send patients out to a lab. On a scale of 1-10 this is a 3. (MA schools don't know this).
Phone triage? Yes. Know what is an emergency & what is not, and let me know right away.
In-house small tests (ie: Accucheck, Urine dip, PT, do an ECG)? Absolutely, & know to alert me STAT if any of these tests are really, in dangerous levels. Assist me with minor office surgeries/ procedures? Yes, if just to be there, be sterile, & hand me things, or put your finger over a bleeder. (Again, MA schools don't know this).
Loyalty? Yes. Don't trick me and I won't treat you badly either. We are a team.
5. Most of all, I would LOVE to have someone who keeps track of labs (ie: whether the pt went & got them. If so, on my desk promptly. AND let me know if 3-7 days has passed & I don't have the labs/ x-rays etc.! Then we need to get after the patient/ lab company/ hospital & find out what is going on).
6. To have someone who gets the discharge summary & orders from the hospital when a patient of mine comes back to the office (before they suddenly show up under my shingle). This they don't teach you in MA school. This test follow-up is one of my biggest gripes about MA schools. And, they don't even mention it, but that is far more important to me than your even doing a blood pressure (which I can do myself, if push comes to shove).
I have called these medical assistant schools to find out what they are about education-wise (West Coast). Unfortunately, they do not even have 1 MD/DO on staff for clinical guidance. This is a BIG mistake because people with Masters in Education are the program directors, & really, they can only guess what clinical practice involves - they have never experienced it.
"Formal" talking/ meetings to ascertain what is necessary, with several M.D.s etc isn't going to cut it with what I want. You need to have been there. A nurse can't teach you really, what a physician needs either. So they do not make a good program directors. Lots of nurses *think* they know, but don't (unfortunately, some won't admit it to themselves).
What would I pay? $15 to $20/hr to start. A good MA is nearly priceless & guaranteed a job for life, IMHO. Be my "right Hand Man", so to speak, and I will reward you accordingly.
Thanks for reading.
by M.D. Jun 24, 2009 - 12:49AM
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