Medical assistants work closely with doctors and nurses to provide quality patient care. Training inlcudes learning how to take vital signs, get patient histories, collect specimens, get patients ready for procedures, and more. Medical assisting can also include administering medications, drawing blood, administering tests such as EKGs, removing sutures, and replacing bandages and dressings.
Exact duties vary from office to office. In small practices, a medical assistant often handles both administrative and clinical duties. In larger practices, the job usually specializes in one area under the supervision of a department administrator.
Training programs typically provide exposure to the medical environment both in the classroom and in hands on clinical training. Most medical assistant training programs also include an externship to provide direct real world experience.
The shortage of medical assistants and other medical personnel is well known, people with formal training and certification are in high demand, and this is expected to be one of the fastest growing job occupations through the year 2012. Jobs are found in hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies, medical supply businesses, nursing homes, and more.