How to Become a Dental Assistant

If you’ve been considering a career in the dental field, work as a dental assistant might be right for you. Dental assistant  can be completed in as little as 9 months, so you’re likely to enter the workforce soon. As a Dental Assistant you will be able to help patients and perform many clinical duties in a dental office.

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

Primarily the dental assistant assists the dentist during diagnosis and treatment of patients. Some possible responsibilities include:

  • Providing assistance while the dentist treats patients
  • Taking and developing x-rays
  • Taking the patient’s blood pressure, pulse, and medical history
  • Sterilizing and taking care of dental instruments
  • Providing patients with instructions and education regarding upkeep of their oral health
  • Performing general office management tasks
  • Communicating with office suppliers and patients

A dental assistant may work in any dentistry-related field including standard dentistry, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery practices, orthodontics, and periodontics.

How to Become a Dental Assistant

The dental assisting field is projected to grow by at least 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it one of the most rapidly-growing healthcare professions.

Dental assistant programs are available at vocational schools. They generally take less than one year to complete, depending on the type of certification you’re pursuing.

Educational courses typically cover:

  • Oral anatomy
  • Administration tasks in a dental office
  • Dental radiography
  • Dental pharmacology
  • Dental materials
  • CPR and basic first aid

You might also complete an externship as a voluntary part of your coursework to get real-world experience before you enter the workforce.

Who Would Enjoy a Career as a Dental Assistant?

The best candidates to become a dental assistant include those with empathy, compassion, an interest in helping others, an interest in continuous learning, and a variety of skills.

Those with Empathy and Compassion

Like any medical profession, those in the dental assisting field should have a sense of empathy and compassion for people who are uncomfortable. Dental procedures can often cause discomfort, especially if patients are young, sensitive or anxious about dentistry. One of the main jobs that dental assistants do is help patients feel comfortable before, during, and after any procedures.

Those Interested in Helping Others

All healthcare professions should promote health and wellness in clients. For dental assistants, interacting with patients makes up the bulk of your day-to-day work.

A dental assistant should look for work in a dental specialty that activates their desire to help others. Helping people is good for one’s own mental health as well, whether it’s done in the workplace or elsewhere.

A dental assistant that is interested in helping children and making them comfortable may choose pediatric dentistry. Orthodontics is a good field if a dental assistant wants to help people with braces and other orthodontic-related needs. Oral surgery practices are ideal if a dental assistant wants to help people stay calm before and during surgery, as well as supporting patients with the post-surgery healing process.

General dentistry lets a dental assistant interact with a variety of patients during a range of situations, from routine checkups to more serious oral procedures.

Those Interested in Continuous Learning

A career in the dental assisting field will involve continuous learning and an expansion of one’s field of knowledge. While a dental assistant’s daily schedule and responsibilities may remain fairly routine, they will constantly be exposed to new situations.

A dental assistant will treat patients from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a wide variety of health needs. They will get hands-on experience with office organization and management. It’s impossible to stagnate because one’s brain needs to absorb new information. A dental assistant that likes to continue learning throughout their life will have a bright future in a healthcare career.

Skills Needed for Success

Dental assistants have a variety of skills they’ll need to learn and practice to manage day-to-day job responsibilities. A successful dental assistant will have to pay close attention to detail and have good communication, customer service, teamwork, and organizational skills.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is an essential skill for every aspect of this position. A dental assistant needs to make sure sanitization and other health procedures are followed correctly. The dental assistant also needs to be accurate when recording patient information, administering tests, and inputting data into the computer.

Communication

Good communication skills are an essential part of being a dental assistant. Not only will a dental assistant communicate with the dentists to get their instructions, but they’ll also interact with patients, office suppliers, and insurance companies.

The dental assistant will need to know how to ask questions to ensure that they understand the dentist’s instructions. When talking to patients, a dental assistant will need to understand and clearly communicate procedures, health conditions, and treatments.

When talking to suppliers, a dental assistant will need to communicate their office and healthcare needs. If insurance companies call about billing, they will need to explain the patient’s history and treatment in HIPAA-compliant terms.

Customer Service

Customer service is another essential skill. A dental assistant needs to give patients information and listen to their concerns with empathy and understanding. Especially in situations where a patient is undergoing a painful procedure or dealing with a painful illness, it is important that the dental assistant makes the patient’s social interaction as easy as possible.

A dental assistant may need to employ problem-solving skills with regards to insurance issues, patient confusion, or patient fear regarding certain procedures. Problem-solving becomes doubly important when a dental assistant works with children, who may not  who may not understand what is happening.

Teamwork

A dental assistant needs to use teamwork on a day-to-day basis. Every employee in a dentistry practice must work together to make sure patients are well cared for and office operations run smoothly. Depending on the size and specialty of the practice, a dental assistant might work with multiple dentists, other dental assistants, receptionists, office administrators, and other healthcare professionals.

Organization

A dental assistant will need to be organized to help keep the office well run. The administrative duties they are responsible for will vary depending on whether the office has a receptionist or a full-time office administrator.

If the dental assistant is in charge of administration duties, they may need to keep and file patient records, set appointments by phone, update billing and schedule information digitally, and prepare the dentist for daily appointments. This means that they will need to have an easily navigated organizational system and be able to focus on multiple tasks at once.

Final Thoughts

Dental assisting is one of the fastest-growing healthcare fields. With recent changes to many insurance policies, more people are able to afford dental care in the U.S. than ever before. Students can complete a 9-month vocational program to become a dental assistant in no time. Becoming a certified dental assistant will let you enter the workforce quickly, accrue experience, and decide where you want to specialize.

Did learning about how to become a dental assistant interest you? Still deciding whether you want to become a dental assistant? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic. PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers a dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information..

How to Become a Medical Office Assistant

The medical office assistant has a different focus than that of a clinical medical assistant. Each state determines the actual scope of practice for medical assistants, but in all states, they must work under the supervision of a doctor or licensed nurse such as an RN or LPN. A medical office assistant performs clerical duties and billing rather than clinical tasks. Here’s how to become a medical office assistant.

Medical Office Assistant Training

While medical office assistants can be trained on the job, there may be limitations in such training. Many employers prefer or require that their medical office assistants graduate from an accredited program. Medical office assistant training programs can be found in vocational schools. While the programs may vary slightly in length and curriculum, a typical diploma program lasts about six months. A typical curriculum for a medical office assistant will include medical terminology, the use of office equipment, billing and coding, legal and medical ethics, communication skills and scheduling.

Skills for Becoming a Medical Office Assistant

As with any occupation, that of a medical office assistant requires certain skills and personal characteristics for success. First, you should genuinely like and want to help people. A warm, empathetic manner helps build rapport, relieve patient and family anxiety, and promote better communication. Your communication skills should be excellent, both written and verbal, as much of your work will revolve around transmitting information. Attention to detail is another critical characteristic needed in tasks such as billing, coding or scheduling. Flexibility is important, as health care changes happen on a regular basis. In addition, in a small office you may need to perform multiple tasks in the same day. Knowledge of medical terminology, billing rules, regulations, medical coding, and the ability to decipher complex material will help ensure your work is accurate.

Duties of a Medical Office Assistant

The medical office assistant performs clerical and administrative duties. These may vary according to the size of the office in which they work, but typically include such tasks as:

  • Processing insurance claims
  • Medical coding & billing
  • Maintaining medical or financial records
  • Front office management procedures
  • Collection procedures
  • Scheduling patients for appointments, medical procedures or surgery

In larger offices, these duties are often divided, so that one person acts as a receptionist, another handles billing and collections and a third manages specialty referrals. Some offices have an insurance expert, someone who helps patients complete forms, interacts with the insurance companies and works on payment denials. A medical office assistant may also act as the physician’s secretary and be responsible for writing letters, managing the physician’s schedule or similar administrative tasks.

Medical Office Assistant’s Work Settings

The medical office assistant who is trained in administrative tasks is most likely to work in an area such as medical records. Many hospitals also offer job options as clinic secretaries or administrative assistants in the various areas where patients receive care. A clinical secretary frees up licensed nurses to perform clinical tasks and can help ensure the unit runs efficiently by transcribing doctor’s orders, answering the telephone and ordering supplies.

Although many organizations use electronic medical records, there is still a need for document scanning of outside records or records that are not in electronic format. These must be properly identified and indexed within the patient chart. Hospital billing is complex and attention to detail is important in this kind of work. Hospitals have coding needs more complex than those of an office, especially if the hospital has a tumor registry or if clinical research is conducted on the premises.

Advancing Your Career as a Medical Office Assistant

There are plenty of opportunities for advancement. Certifications may also improve your chances of promotion. Look for recognized 3rd party testing organizations such as The National Center for Competency Testing or NCCT. Additional education in management and leadership may open the door to a supervisory position. You might also choose to work in a specialty office rather than in general practice.

With a relatively short educational period and high demand, becoming a medical office assistant offers you many potential benefits. Begin with a good education and take opportunities for additional training or experience. You can have a long and satisfying career as a medical office assistant and you will be helping others to improve their health.

Enjoy managing the front office of a medical facility or doctor’s office? Want to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance billing, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Good Health Habits for a Healthier Body: A Medical Assistant Guide

A wholesome diet is the foundation of wellness. As a support professional, it’s a medical assistant’s role to help doctors, nurses and nutritionists educate patients about healthy eating habits. A medical assistant should understand how different types of foods affect the body and how certain foods relate to serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. These are the basics every medical assistant should know.

Basic Nutrition

Food is fuel for the body and comes in two essential forms, macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber and water. They are necessary for energy and healthy body function. Micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals, support the billions of chemical processes that occur in the body and are only needed in small quantities.

Macronutrients

Because macronutrients are consumed in large amounts, consistently eating too much or too little of any single type can cause or worsen disease. Balance is essential for good health.

Carbohydrates – Glucose, a simple sugar, is the body’s primary fuel, and it comes mostly from carbohydrates. So-called simple carbs like white bread and pasta have little fiber and are quickly converted by the body into glucose, causing blood sugar to spike and fall sharply. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables and legumes take longer to digest and keep blood glucose, and energy level on a more even keel.

Protein is made up of nine amino acids, each with a unique function, from cellular repair to building muscle. Amino acids can’t be synthesized by the body and are found nowhere else in nature, so consuming protein regularly is a must. Meat, eggs, dairy products, vegetables, grains and legumes all contain protein, but only animal protein contains all nine amino acids.

Fats – also known as lipids, are vital for temperature regulation and serve as a secondary form of energy. Most come from food, but cholesterol, a sterol similar to fat, is also produced naturally by the liver. Fats insulate nerve fibers, support cell walls, and help the body process certain vitamins, but some are healthier than others. Saturated fat, found in most animal products, is associated with higher rates of heart disease, while unsaturated fat, found in vegetables, fruits and fish may have a protective effect.

Fiber – is not digestible and comes in two varieties, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in a fluid. It helps regulate blood sugar and lipids and may decrease inflammation. Insoluble fiber provides bulk and helps stool move through the intestinal tract. Both play a role in preventing constipation and maintaining a healthy balance of gut microorganisms.

Water – Every chemical reaction in the body requires water. It regulates body temperature, hydrates skin, lubricates joints and muscles and helps the body process waste. Up to 60 percent of the human body is water, and without it, life is not sustainable.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals essential for good health.

Vitamins – Thirteen vitamins come in two forms, fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E and K need lipids to be absorbed and are stored in the body. Water-soluble vitamins including eight B-vitamins and vitamin C dissolve in water and can’t be stored. Each has a different, but necessary role in the body. Vitamin deficiencies are rare in the United States, but because animal products are the best natural source of vitamin B-12, vegans may need a supplement or fortified foods to get the recommended daily allowance.

Minerals – The body needs five major minerals including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium plus small amounts of trace minerals including iron, zinc, copper, manganese, fluoride, cobalt and selenium. Like vitamins, each plays a different role, but all are critical to healthy body function. Because minerals control the body’s fluid and pH balance, even minor deficiencies or excesses should be avoided.

Diet as a Tool for Good Health Habits

Doctors and nutritionists recommend proper nutrition as one of many good health habits that can decrease the risk of disease, but they also use dietary modifications to manage certain chronic conditions.

High Blood Pressure

Sodium may not be directly responsible for hypertension, but because it controls fluid balance in the body, overuse can cause water retention that raises blood pressure and damages the kidneys. To prevent hypertension, consuming less than 2000 milligrams of sodium daily by avoiding salty and processed foods is recommended. For clients diagnosed with high blood pressure, less than 1500 milligrams is the target.

Atherosclerotic Heart Disease and Stroke

Atherosclerotic heart disease is the progressive narrowing and stiffening of the coronary arteries due to a build-up of fatty plaques. Over time, this can lead to a complete arterial blockage and a heart attack. If a plaque ruptures, it can cause a blood clot that leads to stroke. Risk factors include smoking, hypertension, diabetes and stress, but also obesity and high cholesterol, which can be changed with diet. To manage the risk of heart disease and stroke, doctors recommend good health habits like cutting calories, decreasing sodium to lower blood pressure and eliminating the saturated fat that forms arterial plaques.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is an excess of blood sugar caused by the body’s resistance to insulin. It’s a complex disorder but is rooted in excess consumption of carbohydrates and obesity. As a lifestyle disease, it’s preventable with good health habits including a balanced diet.

Good Health Habits for Long-Term Wellness

Medical assistants can reinforce the doctors’ dietary recommendations and encourage clients to build on their nutrition efforts with these additional suggestions:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise
  • Manage stress by finding time to relax
  • Avoid micronutrient deficiencies by eating a well-balanced diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Sleep enough to feel rested
  • Maintain a normal weight
  • Stay hydrated
  • See a doctor as recommended for regular preventive care

Wellness is a journey built on a lifetime of good health habits. As part of the healthcare team, medical assistants can support their patients in that journey by being a valuable source of information and support.

Did learning about how medical assistants can educate patients about good health habits interest you? Interested in working with colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant programs prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist, Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

 

11 Qualities that Make a Good Medical Assistant

Becoming a medical assistant requires a diploma from a vocational school and skills that are vital for the job. Candidates must also possess several personal qualities that ensure they are able to interact with patients as well as members of the healthcare team.

Quality #1: Effective Communicator

A medical assistant must learn medical terminology in order to understand professional conversations regarding medical conditions, diagnostics and treatments. In addition to communicating with members of the medical team, good medical assistants must have the ability to translate the terminology into lay-person terms that patients can understand.

Communication is a two-way street. A medical assistant must also possess good listening skills. Medical assistants listen to patients explain their symptoms and concerns. The medical assistant must answer questions to the best of their knowledge. When interviewing a patient, they need to know how to obtain all of the pertinent information from the patient to ensure the physician has the facts necessary to make an appropriate diagnosis. Good listening skills are also necessary when receiving instruction from physicians and nurses. Following an examination, patients may ask a medical assistant to clearly explain any procedures they must undergo and the treatment they will receive.

Quality #2: Compassionate

A medical assistant may encounter patients experiencing pain. Patients or parents may express fear concerning a potential diagnosis or condition. Medical assistants must offer compassion and support. Patients must feel that the medical team understands their concerns and has sympathy for their emotional state. The qualities of compassion and understanding help alleviate anxiety and encourage a sense of calm in patients of all ages.

Quality #3: Outgoing

Throughout each work day, medical assistants interact with a variety of patients, physicians, nurses and other members of the medical team. At times, the medical assistant may need clarification concerning a particular task. They must be able to ask the questions necessary to stay informed. Many of the conversations occur in person. Some of the conversations occur over the telephone. In any instance, a medical assistant must be a “people person.” This occupation is not for someone who is shy or withdrawn.

Quality #4: Nonjudgmental

A medical assistant may encounter patients who require medical treatment as a result of a prior unwise decision. Medical assistants may meet patients who have lifestyle choices or who are from cultures that are in stark contrast to their own. Regardless of the circumstance, the professional behavior of the medical assistant requires that they do not pass judgment on others. It is also unprofessional for a medical assistant to judge or gossip about patients or other employees. During their career, medical assistants may encounter ethical and moral issues but, as a member of the medical team, a medical assistant’s main concern is to always provide the best possible care for their patients.

Quality #5: Self-Controlled

Patients consult with medical professionals in order to receive the treatment they need to maintain their health and well-being. The field often presents several emotional challenges. Medical assistants may interact with patients exhibiting a wide range of emotions. At times it is difficult not to become emotionally attached or affected by the emotions displayed by others. However, despite what a medical assistant thinks or feels in the moment, they must display a professional attitude toward the patient and others.

Medical assistants may encounter people who are less than personable. Medical staff and patients may, at times, become frustrated or angry. In these cases, the medical assistant must have the ability to take another person’s personal temperament in stride and not allow the encounter to prevent them from performing their duties.

Quality #6: Calm Under Pressure

Physicians’ offices, quick-care clinics or similar medical facilities are bustling with activity throughout the day. Staff members pitch in and manage a number of responsibilities and assignments. During the course of the day, a medical assistant might encounter ranting patients or demanding members of the medical team, in addition to trying to fulfill their own duties. At times, an eight-hour shift may seem like a never-ending array of demands. Under these circumstances, the job can easily become stressful. A medical assistant must be able to handle multiple tasks and deal with difficult situations as they arise with a calm, controlled and cool-headed demeanor.

Quality #7: Reliable

Reliability is one of the most desirable qualities any employee can possess. Medical employees are expected to arrive at the agreed upon time and to accomplish the assigned duties within their scope of practice. Other members of the health care team rely on medical assistants to behave and act in a professional manner that appropriately represents the facility in which they are employed.

Quality #8: Honest

By being an honest person, a medical assistant is better able to establish trusting relationships with both patients and colleagues. When explaining procedures and treatments with patients, they must resist the urge to sugar coat the experience. Likewise, if a medical assistant makes a mistake, they should admit the error, make the necessary corrections, make amends and strive to improve. Co-workers will not view someone who engages in deceptive behavior as trustworthy.

Quality #9: Integrity

The quality of integrity can be described as how someone acts when others are not around to witness their behavior. The trait must be displayed when interacting with co-workers or in an examination room with a patient. Patient information is another area in which integrity has a role. The HIPAA Privacy Act protects patient information. Personal patient information should never be shared with people outside of the medical team responsible for that individual’s care. Behavior and conversations in and around the workplace must be both professional and discreet.

Quality #10: Well Organized

The many tasks that a medical assistant might complete in a day require that the individual is well organized. In addition to visiting with patients and consulting with colleagues, the medical assistant is required to complete various documents. They may need to provide medical professionals with laboratory tests and other pertinent information needed to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe treatment. The various tasks must be completed at specific times during the day. The medical assistant needs to manage their time accordingly to accomplish their duties to the best of their ability in the time frame allowed.

Quality #11: Adaptable

Adaptability is a good trait to possess. A medical assistant must be able to adjust their normal schedule to accommodate sudden change. They may need to use problem-solving skills in order to manage all that is required in the moment. Adaptability also helps when dealing with the many different personalities that medical assistants encounter. As their career progresses, medical assistants may need to learn additional skills or gain advanced knowledge. It is in the best interest of the medical assistant to embrace change as needed.

Did learning about the qualities that make a good medical assistant interest you? Interested in working with colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant programs prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist, Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

The Importance of Communication Skills for Dental Assistants

Dental Assistant with Dentist

Communication skills are critical in any aspect of health care. In the course a day, a dental assistant might need to communicate effectively with dentists, dental hygienists, other dental assistants, patients, family members, insurance company workers, sales representatives or other dental offices. Ineffective communication increases the risk of misunderstandings and the potential for poor patient outcomes. Effective communication helps ensure the transfer of correct information, promotes better working relationships and soothes patient or family anxiety.

What is Good Communication?

Several skills are necessary for good communication. One of the most important is the ability to listen carefully and comprehend what is being said. In some cases, what is not being said is equally important, so the dental assistant must be able to “hear” beneath the surface to pick up on an unvoiced anxiety or fear. Empathy is the ability to see things from another’s point of view, while sympathy is the ability to feel sorry for another’s misfortunes. A dental assistant must be able to use both facilities to communicate effectively.

Nonverbal communication skills, such as focusing on the speaker, smiling when appropriate and nodding to convey agreement, are as important as what one says. If a dental assistant crosses their arms, taps their fingers impatiently or roll their eyes, the other person will often react defensively and stop communicating. Good communication skills take practice and awareness, and the ability to learn from one’s mistakes.

Communication in the Front Office

In many dental offices, the dental assistant wears multiple hats. They may answer phones, schedule appointments, work chair-side with the dentist, order supplies and manage billing. This brings the dental assistant into contact with a wide range of people of different ages, educational backgrounds and cultures. For example, they must have the ability to communicate with a frightened child or an elderly woman who has diminished hearing. Interruptions are the norm and the front office position can be stressful. However, allowing stress to take over can impede communication, so stress management becomes an important aspect of communication in this role.

Communicating with the Dentist

Dental assistants provide hands-on support to the dentist during the care of patients. A good dental assistant learns to anticipate what the dentist will need next. It’s important to stay focused on the task and listen to the dentist’s requests to help ensure an efficient work process. Working efficiently also helps make patients feel more secure. At the same time, the dental assistant must stay aware of the patient’s responses and emotions. A frightened patient may pull away at the wrong moment. The dental assistant can help soothe and comfort the patient with words or a gentle touch.

Communicating with Hygienists

In most offices, hygienists work alone. However, the dental assistant may assist with stocking rooms or escorting patients to their room for an appointment. It’s important to set the patient at ease. If it’s a new patient, the dental assistant may perform an introduction. In some offices with multiple hygienists, the dental assistant may act as a “runner.” In this situation, it’s important to convey messages clearly and concisely and to listen carefully to ensure the right supplies are obtained.

Educating Patients

Dental assistants may also perform some basic patient education. One of the most important aspects of patient education is to maintain awareness of the patient’s comprehension of the material. Research indicates that as many as 1 in 7 adult patients may be functionally illiterate, according to Intellectual Takeout from The Charlemagne Institute. Yet most educational materials come in printed form. The dental assistant must remain sensitive to the fact that the patient may be embarrassed to admit he or she cannot read. Reviewing the material together rather than just providing handouts is the safest course. Patients are more likely to ask questions in this sort of one-on-one session.

Culture & Communication

Culture has a big impact on communication. For example, in some cultures, it is considered disrespectful to meet another person’s eyes for any length of time. This can make it seem as though the individual is not listening. Words may have different connotations in different languages. When it comes to patient education, the patient may not have a written language or may be unable to read English. The dental assistant must be sensitive to verbal and non-verbal cues to assure the patient or family member understands what is being said. If an interpreter is necessary, the dental assistant must be able to have a three-way conversation in order to convey the necessary information.

Telephone Communication

One of the great disadvantages of telephone communication is that a dental assistant cannot see the person on the other end. Since we often depend on body language cues to determine if another person understands what is being said it is critical to listen to the other person’s tone of voice and to pay attention to pauses, sighs, volume, pace or other indicators of a communication problem. Always clarify misunderstandings immediately.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a normal occurrence in any kind of human interaction. A patient wants an appointment at a time that is unavailable or a dental assistant has a misunderstanding with a co-worker. The ability to communicate effectively can result in a resolution, while poor communication skills can make things worse. In conflict resolution, a dental assistant will use the facilities of empathy, careful listening, and nonverbal communication. However, a dental assistant must also manage their own emotions and stress. If they practice good communication skills, conflict resolution becomes much easier. Restate the other person’s words. This makes it clear a dental assistant is listening and will clear up miscommunication. Focus on a solution rather than who is right.

Good communication skills are not hard to learn. However, they do take practice. Once a dental assistant uses these skills consistently, they will find many benefits in their work as a dental assistant. In addition, good communication skills are useful in one’s personal life as well. Always remember the basics: listening carefully, awareness of non-verbal communication, respect for cultural differences, reiterating back what you hear and being empathetic.

Did learning about dental assistant communication skills interest you? Still deciding whether you want to become a dental assistant? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic.? PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.

The Importance of Math for Medical Assistants

Lady and Doctor

Being a Medical Assistant can be a very rewarding career. There’s something very fulfilling about helping someone with their health issues or pain relief. Medical Assistants rely on several necessary skills for success in the field. Math is a skill that plays a very important role in the healthcare profession, especially for Medical Assistants. You may not have realized the importance of accurate math skills for Medical Assistants, but it is used in several different ways throughout their day: such as calculating medication, metric system conversions, vital signs, lab tests and while conducting clerical office work.

Calculating Medication

A doctor’s prescription may be filled by Medical Assistants to administer medication to patients. In measuring the medication, the Medical Assistant needs to gauge the correct dosage. It’s vitally important to calculate the correct amount, as giving too much or too little to a patient could cause serious harm.

Ratios and proportions are also used when calculating how much medication to give to a patient. The patient’s weight dictates the medication’s dosage. Sometimes micrograms will have to be converted into milligrams by setting up proportions.

In calculating medications for children, one formula to use is Clark’s rule. Graphs and rubrics are also used in determining the correct weight and height. A Medical Assistant will use the weight and height of a patient to create a graph. If a baby scale is unavailable, a Medical Assistant may have to calculate a baby’s weight by weighing an adult and the baby together and then subtracting the adult’s weight from the total.

Metric System

The medical field primarily uses the metric system for measurements. It’s the most common measurement system in the world. Many believe the metric system is a more accurate way to give medication. Decimal points are also often used in converting metrics as a short-cut. Medical Assistants must have knowledge of converting the customary U.S. measurements into metric measurements. Accurate calculations with those measurements is written in unit notations.

Vital Signs

One of the most important vital signs Medical Assistants will take is the pulse/heart rate. They will need math skills for taking respiratory rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
A person’s heart rate is measured by the number of times their heart beats per minute. A patient’s pulse can be taken by placing two fingers (not a thumb) at their wrist over the artery and multiplying the number of beats counted in 15 seconds by 4 to get the heart rate. Respiratory rates can be calculated by watching someone breathe for 15 seconds and multiplying the number of breaths taken by 4.

Blood pressure is measured by two different numbers; the higher number is the systolic pressure and the lower number is the diastolic pressure. When taken, it’s written as a ratio figure with the systolic pressure number over the diastolic pressure number. A Medical Assistant may need mathematical skills to read a thermometer and convert Fahrenheit to Celsius.

Clerical Office Work

Medical Assistants often assist with patient billing. They must know basic addition and subtraction to calculate bills for the cost of the office visit, plus any procedures that were done. A Medical Assistant may call the patient’s insurance provider to verify their insurance and the amount the insurance company will pay toward the patient’s bill and then calculate what the patient owes, minus what their insurance pays.

Did learning about the importance of math for Medical Assistants interest you? Interested in working with colleagues who want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the Medical Assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant programs prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist, Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a Medical Assistant and start a rewarding career today.


**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

7 Reasons to Get a Medical Assisting Diploma

Interested in earning a medical assisting diploma? There are many different reasons to get your medical assisting diploma and become a medical assistant. Medical assisting is becoming increasingly popular with students entering the medical career field each year and is highly rewarding. Medical Assistant is a great choice whether you are looking into it as a career or a stepping stone to another position.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants do a variety of tasks around the office. You can find them working with patients, taking vitals and performing preliminary screenings. Medical assistants can schedule patients, order supplies and resolve payment issues. Medical assistants are incredibly useful and necessary as the backbone of all hospitals, healthcare facilities and medical offices.

Why Get a Medical Assisting Diploma?

Interested in getting a diploma in medical assisting? There are many beneficial reasons for doing so, including the fact that you can have an important job helping patients, it is a growing industry, you are able to work with colleagues who care, you can obtain a diploma within a short time frame, your career can provide personal fulfillment, and there are numerous job opportunities with flexible work schedules.

9 Months to a Medical Assisting Diploma

It typically takes less than a year to become a medical assistant. 9 months from now, you could be a medical assistant in the healthcare field, working in a medical office or hospital. You don’t have to spend years in school. A medical assisting diploma is perfect for those that want a rewarding career and may have obligations that stop them from attending a traditional 4-year college.

Helping Patients

Being a medical assistant means being able to help patients daily. As the first person a patient sees, you will want to make a good first impression. As a caring and nurturing individual, you can help calm patients dealing with the stress that comes with illness and injury. The medical assistant can create a comfortable place for patients to get treatment and stay healthy.

A Growing Industry

The field of medical assisting is expected to grow over the next decade because of the healthcare needs of an aging population. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 29 percent growth in the medical industry from 2016 to 2026. As more people age and experience the natural health concerns of aging, medical assistants will be in high demand for years to come

Caring Colleagues

As a medical assistant, you will be working alongside colleagues who care about their patients as much as you do. You will work with nurses, doctors, phlebotomists and other medical specialists. Your colleagues are in the healthcare field because they want to help others. Working with these kinds of individuals in a professional environment is incredibly rewarding and inspiring.

Personal Fulfillment

Many medical assistants work in the field for their entire careers while others take a break from working as a medical assistant only to find themselves returning years later. A career as a medical assistant is one you can always fall back on, even after being out of the field for periods of time.

Job Opportunities

Because medical assistants are in high demand, work is readily available after graduation. Medical assistants are needed in a wide range of healthcare settings such as doctor’s offices, hospitals and nursing homes.

Flexible Schedules

Medical assistants can work morning, afternoon or nighttime shifts. The medical assistant may choose to work part-time or full-time. This is essential for busy individuals who balance work with their home and family life.

Becoming A Medical Assistant

If you are tired of going from one job to the next, it might be time to earn your diploma to become a medical assistant in the healthcare field. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a rewarding career helping others alongside caring colleagues, while maintaining a flexible work schedule if you need to take care of family members or children.

Did learning about the reasons to get a medical assisting diploma interest you? Interested in working with colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares  graduates to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant,  Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist, Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a Medical Assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Chair side Skills to Master for Dental Assistants

The job of a dental assistant requires a set of skills that helps both the dentist and the patient. It is their job to ensure the patient is comfortable, calm and well informed about the procedure. It is also the dental assistant’s duty to assist the dentist in performing vital. Depending on where the dental assistant chooses to work, they could be working with adults and the elderly or children as young as one or two years old. Because of this, it is important that they have the proper chairside skills to ensure the comfort of all of the patients they see during a typical workday.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Dental assistants perform a wide range of duties and are often considered the back bone of the dental office. Most dental assistants will greet the patient and bring them to the exam room. The dental assistant is the first person that the patient will see when going for the actual procedure and before sitting in the chair. Most dental assistants are also responsible for taking x-rays of patients’ teeth. Dental assistants are required to help prepare the exam room for treatment and to assist the dentist chairside while the procedure is being performed. Lastly, the dental assistant is required to clean the operatories and sterilize all equipment prior to the next usage. .

Chairside Skills Required to Master Your Career

Because a dental assistant will see many patients on any given day, they will need to have the necessary set of chairside skills for the optimal comfort of their patient.

Some of these chairside skills include:

Skill #1: Compassion – Studies have shown that more than half of the population is afraid to go to the dentist. An even smaller portion of individuals have a condition known as dentophobia, where they have an intense fear and worry about going to the dentist. The dental assistant needs to show compassion to these patients and to let them know that they are available if and when the patient needs them. A caring smile and compassionate tone can be all that is needed to calm the worries of a patient who is terrified to sit in a dental chair.

Skill #2: Patience – Many dental procedures take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to complete. The dental assistant is usually beside the dentist during the entire appointment. The dental assistant will need to have the patience required to sit for a relatively long period of time. This is especially vital if the dental assistant works in a dental surgeon’s office where longer and more in-depth procedures are being performed.

Skill #3: Knowledge of Procedures – It is the dental assistant’s job to have the room set up prior to procedures and to know what supplies are needed during each part of the procedure. This is where it is important for the dental assistant to have a clear understanding of all the dental tools, procedures and materials that are needed along the way.

Skill #4: Calm Demeanor – Many patients are nervous prior to and during their appointment, even if they are an adult and have been to the dentist hundreds of times. This is where a calm demeanor comes in handy. The soothing presence of a composed dental assistant allows the patient to calm down. Composure comes with a working knowledge of the dental procedures to be performed, as well as a good working relationship with the dentist. These elements improve a dental assistant’s chairside skills.

Skill #5: Foresight – The dental assistant needs to have the foresight to know what the dentist or patient is going to need before it is needed. For example, for a simple filling procedure, the dental assistant needs to know the specific steps of the procedure to ensure that it goes smoothly and without interruption. Attending a good school to become a dental assistant is of the utmost importance because that is where a dental assistant will learn about all of the various dental procedures and what is expected to work with the dentist chairside.

Skill #6: Accuracy – Most people think that dental procedures are solely performed by the dentist, but actually there aremany duties that the dental assistant performs that are crucial to the patient’s oral and dental health. For example, when the dental assistant takes an x-ray of a patient’s mouth, the x-rays need to be accurate in order to be read correctly to detect underlying problems. Accuracy comes with both education and practice. Learning dental assisting from a book is ideal to get started, but the real skills begin with hands-on experience working with patients.

Skill #7: Understanding – Patients may come into the dental office afraid, nervous and even angry. Having a good understanding about people and being able to put oneself into the patient’s shoes will assist greatly in connecting with the patient and ensuring a successful appointment.

Skill #8: Helpfulness – A dental assistant needs to be as helpful as possible to both the dentist and the patient. They need to be able to discuss various aspects of the procedure and the patients’ needs with the dentist. When speaking with patients, the dental assistant must also be helpful in educating them about what to expect prior to, during and after their procedure.

Becoming a dental assistant is a wonderful career choice that can lead to a variety of opportunities within the dental field. Some dental assistants go on to become RDAs (registered assistants) while others become hygienists or even dentists! By possessing the proper chairside manner, the dental assistant can ensure the comfort and safety of both the patients and the dentist.


Did learning about dental assistant chairside skills interest you? Still deciding whether you want to become a dental assistant? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The
Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic. PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the Dental Assistant Program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant Program offered at our Richardson Campus.

How to Create a Medical Office Emergency Plan

A medical office needs to be resilient in times of crisis. FEMA recommends that all businesses plan in advance to manage any emergency. They recommend being prepared to assess the crisis situation, use common sense and use available resources to take care of the those involved.

During a crisis is the time when patients are at their most vulnerable and when medical offices may need the most support. It is very important that a medical office and all its employees know how an emergency plan operates. Medical office administration staff are ideal at developing emergency plans.

Risk Assess the Potential

One of the most important things for the medical office assistant to do when developing an emergency plan is to consider the potential risks to the medical facility. This ranges from flooding from a nearby river making roads impassable to a chemical plant being in the neighborhood. An emergency may include illness striking the staff and the need for an emergency staffing plan. The medical office may fall into darkness with an electricity outage. Increasingly the risk of computer system failure and hacking is a hazard as more records and systems go digital. It is also recognized in emergency planning that it is impossible to plan for everything as the unexpected can and does occur. Being prepared for common scenarios increases the resilience of the medical office and the likelihood that everyone involved will be safe.

Stock Emergency Supplies

Every medical facility needs to be prepared for a crisis and have the proper supplies to combat any situation. Basic supplies include fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. Each employee should have a personal kit that satisfies their specific needs including any medications they may need. First aid kits should be available in case of an emergency. Other items that may be supplied in case of an emergency include a battery-powered commercial radio, extra batteries, flashlights, whistle to signal for help, and tools to turn off utilities.

Clearly Display Emergency Routes

It is important to include the emergency routes out of the medical office. Staff and patients need to be aware of the emergency routes and follow them in case of a crisis. These emergency routes must take into consideration the use of stairs rather than elevators and access for disabled co-workers. There should also be a rally point set for everyone to meet after leaving the medical office. Make sure to account for all medical staff and patients when arriving at the off-site emergency location.

Pick an Emergency Leader

The medical office administrative staff should be in charge the day of the crisis. They will be fully in charge of the medical office emergency plan and have the authority to make decisions to keep people safe. The medical office administrative staff will also have the knowledge, skill set and available resources to implement the emergency plan. They will also become ambassadors for new employees and those needing retraining.

Develop Contingency Solutions

Once the medical office is aware of potential hazards they can create an emergency plan in case a crisis occurs. Having a contact list of all staff is vital. The plan needs to list the processes to take should an emergency situation occur. An example is a scenario where all the doctors have contracted influenza and are unable to work. Solutions might include cancelling routine surgery and getting colleagues from another medical office to cover for the sick doctors. If there is deep snow, or flooding, some of the administrative work may be continued remotely by staff having access from home. Another critical solution for emergency planning is to make sure computer systems are backed up off site. If the office caught fire destroying computers, it is essential to have access to medical records.

Working with a Larger System Plan

One of the most important things for medical office administration staff to do when developing an emergency plan is to connect to other organizations. The city government may have systems in place that the medical office can take advantage of. The community can come together to plan with local hospitals, and the fire and rescue services in case of a crisis. It is also vital for a medical office to partner with other medical facilities in the area to ensure plans are consistent and there is cross coverage. The medical office can also provide support to a hospital in an emergency if there is an overflow of injured patients. By being part of a larger plan, across a region, there is likely to be consistency with planning in emergencies.

Test the Plan

One of the most important things to do is test an emergency plan by having a trial drill. This can be organized by the medical office administration staff who also keeps records to ensure everyone has received training. Practice exercises identifying issues that need to be resolved and amended for the medical office emergency plan. The practice also ensures that medical office staff is familiar with the plan and can act in an emergency situation.

Emergency planning is a vital part of running a safe medical office. By having an agreed upon and tested emergency plan, a medical office can be as prepared as possible for a real-world crisis.

Ready to be a part of a community that takes care of all medical staff and patients? Want to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance billing, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk, in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

 

 

Preparing Kids for a Dental Procedure: A Dental Assistant’s Guide

The dental office can be
a scary place for a kid. The noises, the prodding of teeth, and the dentist’s drill are all things that a kid waiting in the dental office will be wary of and the reason they are reluctant to be examined.

Dental assistants have a major role in helping kids who are having dental treatment by:

  • Creating a child friendly environment
  • Thinking safety and security
  • Explaining the procedures so that the child can understand and pay attention
  • Using distraction as a calming tool
  • Asking the kid what they would do to make the dental office child friendly
  • Helping the children and their parents deal with the fear
  • Educating the kids to prevent cavities in the first place.
  • Helping kids understand who people are thereby creating a friendlier environment.
  • Having an atmosphere that looks welcoming and friendly

Explaining the Procedures

If kids know what is happening and the rationale for doing things, they are likely to be more cooperative. A dental assistant can explain procedures in a child friendly way, using simple descriptions and ensuring things are clear. Using a doll or teddy as role playing model is another technique that works with small kids. Another way to get messages across clearly is to use animation that can be shown on a TV screen. The dentist assistant needs to identify a way to explain the procedure so that children will not only understand but will be attentive to the message.

Distraction

No one likes the sound of the drill, especially kids who are about to have a treatment. One way to help kids in the treatment room is to distract them. Music is one way of providing a distraction. A ceiling mural is an alternative for kids to

look at as they get examined in the dental chair. Talking to the kid and maintaining eye contact is calming which something a dental assistant can do as they are helping the dentist. Sometimes, having a parent in the room can help a child receiving treatment.

Ask the Child

When creating a child friendly space in a dentist’s office one of the best ways to get some creative ideas and insights into what is needed is to ask a child or parent. This is an easy task for a dental assistant who can gather opinion in a dental exam room or support managerial staff with focus groups and questionnaires. By listening to the people who visit the dentist’s office, issues that are problematic can be easily addressed. Kids observe things that are overlooked by an adult, and yet these are really important issues.

Dealing with Fear

A dental assistant can be proactive by helping kids who are afraid of dental treatments. In working with the dentist dental assistants can help calm children by using local anesthetics along with well-honed techniques. The dental team can work to get procedures done fast and efficiently on children by operating in a confident and seamless way. Dental assistants can also work with parents to calm and reassure the kid having treatment. The goal of a dental assistant is to gain the confidence of frightened kids rapidly, so they cooperate to complete the dental treatments. They must also calm anxious parents, so they do not exacerbate the situation with a frightened kid.

Education

One of the best ways of avoiding problems with frightened kids in the dental office is to do as much health promotion and education as possible to prevent tooth decay. A dental assistant has a vital role of teaching kids how to brush and floss their teeth. This includes reducing sugar consumption and avoiding too much candy. By using child friendly teaching methods, a dental assistant plays a huge role in helping kids stay healthy, so they avoid dental treatment in the first place.

Child friendly areas in dentist’s offices are vital and a dental assistant is ideally placed to maintain them and to work with the dental team to deliver care in an appropriate setting. Having space that is bright and welcoming, calm and full of games and toys, is an excellent way to care for kids during a dental procedure. Dental assistants are vital in ensuring the department is a proactive and attractive environment for any kid.

Still deciding whether you want to become a dental assistant? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic.? PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-informationDental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.