Becoming a Star Medical Assistant
What we see in our medical assistants
Margaret Flinter, senior vice president and clinical director at CHC, Inc. shared we really see in all of our staff, particularly in medical assistants, an opportunity for this to become their chance to become an expert at their craft or technique. When you become a medical assistant through NIMAA you have this incredible opportunity to participate as part of a team to really learn what does the physician do, what does the nurse practitioner do, what does the dentist do? and so on. The medical assistant has an up-close and personal look at all of these professions.
A Day in the Life of a Medical Assistant
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a medical assistant at a community health center? Meet Jennifer Deprey, a former NIMAA participant and current medical assistant. Watch below to learn more about what it's like to be a medical assistant!
What it's like being a medical assistant at a Community Health Center
Being a medical assistant at CHC is so much more than being a “traditional” MA. I use the word “traditional” to describe the role as most medical assisting schools teach it. I had the chance to be an MA right out of the traditional school setting and quickly realized it did not prepare me to be a CHC medical assistant. The traditional MA is the low man on the totem pole, given mostly clerical work. I realized I needed more, I wanted to help people. As a NIMAA student, with hands-on training from the beginning, I quickly realized that being a CHC MA is so much more.
Working as an MA is such a rewarding experience. I see all walks of life. I am fortunate to see something different every day. I get to see patients progress and express how thankful they are for the help. Working for primary care has opened my eyes to a lot. I'm not focused on one thing. From diabetes to heart disease, well child visits to adult physicals, mental health to pain management, new patients to the common cold, I have the opportunity to see it all.
The average day for a medical assistant
A summary of a day in the life of an MA at CHC is actually impossible. I’m faced with something different and something new every day! I care for and coach all my patients each day, and it can be for many different things.
Typically when I arrive in the morning I make sure the exam room is stocked and I meet with the provider to go over their schedule for that specific day. When I take a patient to the room I take their vitals, find out their main complaints, ask if they need anything, and make sure they're comfortable.
Then I let the provider know the patient is ready and share all of the information I received from the patient. If the provider then needs help with anything, the MA steps in and helps with the necessary task.
Your provider relies on you to prepare the patient for him/her; your provider’s day can only run smoothly if you do the job well. Working in primary care, you get a taste of everything. Working in team-based care, you always feel like part of a team and not the low man on the totem pole! The MA is the hub at CHC.
Skills needed to become a medical assistant
If you're interested in becoming an MA, it is crucial to be a people person who is always willing to go above and beyond for a patient. You also need to be a good listener; patients will rely on you to be supportive, caring, and willing to help. Not all patients will like you, but it's important to remember that the work you are doing matters. At the end of the day, you will always feel fulfilled and rewarded, knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.
Saving a life: the most rewarding experience
When a patient came in with low blood-pressure, high temperature, and bad color I knew something was wrong. The patient was visiting the doctor for a bedsore but she was so lethargic and weak she couldn't even get out of her wheelchair. I followed my gut and ran to get the provider. I described the situation and convinced the patient go to the hospital.
At the hospital, the patient learned her blood was toxic from the infected sore and spent a few days receiving treatment.
The most rewarding part of the experience came during the patient’s a follow-up appointment when she went out of her way to thank me for recognizing something was wrong.