Top 7 Skills For a Medical Assistant: This is a very important skill that all medical assistants must possess. Blood pressure is one of the main things you will do in a clinic along with height and weight. Not only will it be a medical necessity and helps to gauge the patient’s health it can also be a billing issue. For billing purposes most new patient consults or even self-referrals require a blood pressure to be taken to make the medical history complete. The blood pressure process has gotten so easy today. Most offices use electronic blood pressure machines. But, you can’t rely on these. Some patients will have you take their blood pressure two to three times and still not agree with it, so a manual reading needs to be done. Also you may have a patient with a large arm that may not fit the regular cuff, so you need to get the extra large manual cuff and take the reading.
Injections are done in most medical clinics. Whether it’s a flu shot, vaccinations, immunizations, pain medicine, or steroid. If you attend a medical assistant program you will learn how to do injections. If not, this is something you will have to learn on the job if it is required. I’ve encountered numerous externs who want to watch me give an injection because it’s different from practicing in class. It is totally different. In clinic you may have a person afraid of needles, one who tenses up during the injection and some who scream like you are doing surgery on them. One neat trick I’ve learned for IM injections, squeeze the spot beforehand, tell the patient to take a deep breath, and then stick. Also talk to them while you’re pushing the medicine especially if it’s a rather large injection such as Rocephin.
Patients call for prescriptions. There is no way around it and you’ll always have voicemails for them or refill requests coming through the fax machine. As a medical assistant it is your job to make the doctor’s and physician assistant’s jobs a little easier. So if they will let you weed out what doesn’t need to be refilled because it’s too early, too much medicine, or a long time since the last appointment do so.
New Patient Histories
You just may be required to do a new patient history as a medical assistant if you are competent and confident in doing this. A new patient history consists of taking down all of the patient information provided about their chief complaint and previous medical history from allergies, education, alcohol consumption, tobacco usage, medical problems, surgeries, prior injuries/accidents, family medical history and review of systems. You will go over all of the information with the patient and then get to the chief complaint of why they are there today. You do all of this so the medical history and medical record is complete.
Answering Patients Questions
As a medical assistant you should be able to answer simple questions for your patients without contacting the PA or doctor. You should be competent enough to know whether or not a patient needs to be worked into the clinic, see a different doctor, go the ER or just schedule an appointment.
Coding charts is one of the easiest things to do. It basically consists of writing the appointment date, service code, diagnosis code, and doctor’s name or initials somewhere in the chart, usually on a facesheet.
As a medical assistant you will call from patients and many other people. It is your duty to have proper phone etiquette and be polite when answering the phone. Nothing will get you fired more easily than using poor phone etiquette with the wrong person.
By M. Nightengale This article is based on the principles found at http://www.careermedicalassistant.net It’s your source for everything medical assistant related.