In times of crisis, many look to doctors and nurses as essential frontline workers. Public health professionals struggle to disseminate information in a crisis, and they rely on frontline healthcare workers to help patients separate fact from fear. Doctors and nurses are important, but they can’t do it alone. Some forget that medical assistants are essential workers too.
Medical assistants are on the frontlines, assisting doctors and nurses, allowing them to help more patients. Medical assistants manage patients in doctor’s offices and hospitals, helping the patients to reduce anxiety. A crisis can be worrisome, and a good medical assistant has empathy and compassion. They understand what a patient is going through and can help reduce fear through education. Medical assistants can educate patients about proper hygiene, how to prevent the spread of a virus, and when to contact their doctor. Medical assistants perform lifesaving tests and administer essential vaccines. They are responsible for administering virus and disease testing, blood draws and other laboratory testing needed during a crisis. For students interested in a rewarding career as a medical assistant, the time to seek training through an affordable vocational school program is now. Patients are waiting and you are essential.
What are Essential Workers?
An essential worker is someone who is required to work during a business closure in order to meet operational requirements. In this crisis, an essential worker is important to the safety of human life and the protection of property according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Examples include medical professionals, first responders, energy employees, water and sanitation, non-profit and social services organizations, public workers, communication and information technology, child care, financial services, law enforcement personnel, transit and delivery employees, and food processors.
In the health care sector specifically, essential workers include accounting, administrative, admitting, accrediting, certification, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, medical IT, emergency medical workers, urgent care, long-term care workers, inpatient and hospital workers, and community-based service providers. All of these workers are essential to keeping patients safe and healthy during a crisis. Of course, this includes medical assistants.
A medical assistant handles the many details that are an integral part of what is essential. They do both clinical and administrative tasks so doctors and nurses can concentrate on what they do best, treating the ill. Medical assistants are essential workers.
What Do Medical Assistants Do During a Crisis?
Medical assistants provide support for doctors and nurses in private practices and hospitals. Four out of five medical assistants are employed in doctor’s offices, putting them on the frontline of a public health crisis. The regular duties of a medical assistant during a crisis include:
- Greeting patients
- Keeping the reception area clean and sterilized
- Phone call triage
- Measuring vital signs
- Drawing blood
- Performing diagnostic tests
- Administering medications including vaccinations
- Assisting with minor surgical procedures
- Arranging referrals
- Submitting insurance claims
- Ordering supplies
- Patient education
Now more than ever, patients depend on their primary providers, and their medical assistants, for care. During a healthcare crisis, medical assistants use their clinical expertise to ensure patients who need urgent care receive it promptly. During a crisis, time is of the essence.
In a busy office, medical assistants can sanitize common touchpoints such as counters, doorknobs and pens. They can screen patients for symptoms of illness, such as fever. They can remind visitors to wash their hands and stay a safe distance from one another. Medical assistants can also use a patient’s waiting time to educate them about disease prevention. Medical assistants play an essential role during a crisis and are instrumental in saving the lives of their patients.
Why are Medical Assistants Essential Workers?
Many medical assistants are essential, and work side-by-side helping doctors and nurses in this crisis manage more patients, especially during outbreaks. Without medical assistants, patients wouldn’t get the quality of care they deserve. Medical assistants offer direct care to patients, by answering call lights, taking vital signs, administering medication and vaccines prescribed by doctors, and documenting medical histories.
Medical assistants are imperative for lowering costs, improving patient quality of care and achieving better patient outcomes. They are ready at a moment’s notice to drop administrative duties and handle patient intake, respond to emergencies and triage phone calls. Medical assistants help medical facilities and doctor’s offices run smoothly to offer patients a quality experience. They are also discrete when handling sensitive or confidential information. Medical assistants are more than important, they are essential.
Medical assistants are essential workers and you can become one in as little as nine months. Many vocational schools even offer online classes to support those at home. Becoming a medical assistant is a rewarding and challenging career choice where you can help save lives daily and truly be an essential worker.
Did learning about how medical assistants are essential workers interest you? Ready to work alongside 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 a graduate online 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 and 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.
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