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Top Questions People Have About Working as a Professional Medical Assistant

The inside scoop on shots, hygiene issues, and career outlook

Maybe you’ve heard that working as professional medical assistant is a fulfilling and reliable career path. Perhaps you’ve even seen the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show that the field of professional medical assisting is growing fast.

But chances are that you probably have some questions you’d like answered before you decide to enroll in a professional medical assistant training program. And considering the nature of the work, some of those questions may even be a little bit embarrassing to ask.

We’re here to help. We’ve compiled some of the most-common questions people have about careers in medical assisting.

Read on to see if we’ve covered your concerns. If we haven’t answered your questions, please contact us so we can.

Do medical assistants give shots?

Yes, some professional medical assistants give shots, such as vaccines, hormone injections, or allergy tests.

However, job duties will vary depending on what kind of medical practice you’re working in. Also, keep in mind that there are often strict protocols in place for when and how medical assistants may administer injections.

What if needles make me queasy?

Take comfort in the fact that many professional medical assistant students are somewhat fearful about dealing with needles when they begin their training.

However, you should know that most training programs require students to practice giving shots on plastic arms. That can help build your confidence, and you may find that your anxiety about needles decreases.

Of course, if you have a serious fear of needles, you might want to think about whether a career in medical assistance is right for you. Reason: Most clinical environments are likely to include needles somewhere in the work environment.

Will I have to draw blood?

It’s possible, but again, it depends on the practice you’re working in.

In any case, most medical assistant training programs will include blood drawing procedures.

Do medical assistants work nights and weekends?

If you work in a hospital that’s open 24/7, you can probably expect some night and weekend shifts. As you build seniority with an employer, you may eventually have more input into your schedule.

Medical assistants who work in doctor’s offices or clinics may be expected work any time the office is open.

Will I have to clean feces?

We know this sounds like an odd question, but believe it or not, it’s actually one of the biggest Internet search questions about medical assistant jobs!

Put your mind at ease. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be required to clean up feces, urine or vomit if you work in a doctor’s office or hospital. If a patient becomes sick, it’s usually the janitor’s job to handle the mess in a medical office. In a hospital, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) will likely responsible.

What other things do medical assistants do?

As a medical assistant, you may be called upon to perform a variety of clinical procedures including urinalysis, strep tests, weight checks, electrocardiograms, and blood pressure checks.

You many sometimes need to review medications with patients, call patients to follow up after visits, or to notify people of lab results.

Can I work in labor and delivery as a medical assistant? What about emergency rooms, pediatric offices, or nursing homes?

It’s possible to work in labor and delivery, pediatric offices and neonatal intensive care units as a medical assistant. Keep in mind that while these areas may sound like fun – and they can be –remember that sometimes you might find yourself working with extremely ill babies and children. Carefully consider if you think you’ll be able to handle the emotional toll.

Employment in nursing homes is another option, depending on the level of care provided at different facilities. Similar to working with children, anyone working with older patients may need to be prepared to deal with people who have serious medical conditions. Some of these patients may even be dealing with end-of-life issues.

Medical assistants who enjoy a fast-paced work environment may discover that working in an emergency room (ER) is a satisfying job choice. In some larger hospitals, medical assistants in the ER may specialize in certain types of procedures.

In any case, keep an open mind about where you’d like to work. Many medical assistant students find that once they begin training, they gravitate toward specific areas that they may not have been previously aware of.

Do medical assistants receive benefits?

One of the great perks of professional medical assistant jobs is that you’re likely to get benefits, such a healthcare insurance, in addition to your regular paycheck.

How much money do medical assistants make? It is better to be a CNA instead?

Compensation ranges can vary greatly depending on your region. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a good source to find the latest pay information for professional medical assistants on the national level. Consulting local job listings can be a good way to find out what people are making in your area.

As for certified nursing assistants (CNAs), the latest national data from BLS  shows that medical assistants often command a higher salary.

Have additional questions about professional medical assistant training? Request more info or schedule a tour at one of Branford Hall’s campuses in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, or Massachusetts.