First of all, what does it mean to be a Clinical Medical Assistant?
Clinical Medical Assistants play a major role in the day to day operations of a medical facility. They perform certain tasks that otherwise would have to be done by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. Through their work the productivity of a medical facility is improved and doctors can see more patients. Clinical Medical Assistant responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
- document medical history and vital signs,
- discuss treatment procedures and options with patients,
- set up and prepare the patient for examinations and test procedures,
- collect and catalog laboratory specimens,
- execute standard lab tests,
- give assistance to doctors and nurses through examinations and treatments,
- dispose of the contaminated supplies,
- disinfect medical instruments,
- take electrocardiograms,
- remove stitches,
- prepare patients for x-rays,
- replace dressings.
The scope of responsibilities depends on the services a medical facility provides. Some tasks can be learned on the job, but these days employers prefer employees with experience, degree, certification, or a combination of all of them. In a busy medical facility there is usually little time and only few resources available to train a new employee. Therefore more knowledgeable you are in this profession, and more tasks you can perform without supervision from day one, the more valuable you are.
As a Clinical Medical Assistant you must enjoy working with people! Clinical Medical Assistants work closely with doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, but their main focus are patients. As a CMA you will interact with patients on a daily basis. You have to be emphatic, highly patient, diplomatic, outgoing, active listener, and great communicator, for people you get to see might be frustrated, sick and in pain, scared. Professionalism and discretion is a must, since handling sensitive and confidential information is part of the job. Other skills should include: multitasking, prioritizing, dependability, calm and composed behavior in emergency situation and when working under pressure, team player, strong work ethic, etc.
How to become a Clinical Medical Assistant!
Although in some states there are no formal educational requirements to become a clinical medical assistant, generally CMA’s graduate from a postsecondary educational program. Many have a high school diploma, or equivalent and gain knowledge of their responsibilities at the workplace. More and more employers require applicants to complete a customer service assessment test. High school students considering this profession should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.
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Pay and Job Outlook
The healthcare industry is growing at rapid speeds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that healthcare jobs are expected to have the fastest employment growth in the years 2014-2024, and Medical Assistants held about 591,300 jobs in 2014, and the projected growth is 23% by 2024.The need for skilled medical assistants increased and so did the median salary due to increased regulations in the healthcare field. From 2008 the average salary jumped from $29,000 to $35,500 (plus benefits) in 2013.