Medical Assistant Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | September 2, 2023
Medical Assistant job description, duties, tasks, and responsibilities
Medical Assistants perform both administrative and clinical duties. Image source:

This post provides exhaustive information on the job description of a medical assistant, MA, to help you learn the duties, tasks, and responsibilities they are commonly charged with.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

A medical assistant, MA, is responsible for performing administrative and clinical duties, including taking and recording of patients’ personal information and medical history, which they must keep confidential and should never be discussed with anyone else except other medical practitioners involved in the patients’ treatment.

Medical assistants work in various medical offices, with different health professionals such as physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists, pediatricians, physiotherapists, and clinical psychologists.

The medical assistant job description may also consist of tasks such as measuring patients’ vital signs, helping the physician in examining the patient, preparing patients’ blood for laboratory tests, and administering injections on patients as directed by the physician.

Specialization in the Medical Assisting Career

Due to the fact that medical assistants can perform both administrative and clinical tasks, they can therefore be asked to work and specialize in any of the two departments in large hospitals or health facilities.

The administrative medical assistant works closely with laboratory services and hospital administrators and performs tasks such as coding patients’ medical information or filling out insurance forms.

They schedule patients’ appointment with physician, answer telephone, and may be responsible for purchasing and storing medical supplies and equipment for their department.

Duties performed by the clinical medical assistant vary and depend on the state where they are employed.

However, some of the tasks they may perform include carrying out simple laboratory tests, disposing of contaminated materials, and sterilizing of medical equipments.

Other duties they may also perform include drawing blood for laboratory tests, preparing patients for x-rays, removing stitches, instructing patients on special diets and medication, and helping to cleanup and change patients’ dressings.

Medical assistants can also specialize based on the role they play in a medical office:

  • Ophthalmic and optometric medical assistants: these are medical assistants who work with and help ophthalmologists and optometrists respectively in providing eye care service to the public.

Some of the tasks they perform include showing patients how to place, remove, and maintain their contact lenses.

Ophthalmic medical assistants may also be needed to assist ophthalmologists during surgical procedures.

  • Podiatric medical assistants: these work with podiatrists (also called foot doctors).

They provide assistance to podiatrists during surgery, make castings of feet, take and develop patients’ x-rays, and perform other functions.

Shown below is an example of a detailed and specific job description for medical assistants:

Medical Assistant Job Description Example/Sample/Template

The medical assistant will perform all or some of the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Prepare patient for exam and treatment by taking and recording vital signs, symptoms and other necessary measurements and recording chief complaint
  • Document pain scores as appropriate
  • Report condition of patient which may be indicative of change in the patient’s condition to the clinician
  • Assist providers with exams and minor in office procedures and acts as chaperon as needed
  • Perform a variety of office-based testing and treatments related to patient care under the supervision of a clinician including but not limited to vision, hearing, and lifting tests
  • Collect and prepare specimens for laboratory testing including phlebotomy
  • Use universal blood and body fluid precautions at all times and personal protective equipment as needed
  • Coordinate and manage patient care including pre-certifications, referrals, authorizations, prescriptions and scheduling of patients for clinic, hospital and other ancillary medical treatments and tests
  • Responsible for communicating test results to patient
  • Act as a resource to clinician in order to provide optimal patient care
  • May administer medications in accordance with established policies and procedures or as directed
  • Assist nursing staff and provider in surveillance programs
  • Provide clerical support with patient/client notification and documentation
  • Perform surveillance programs to include but not limited to complete medical records including labs, authorizations, X-Rays, hospital records and any previous care pertaining to each patient visit
  • Provide complete and accurate information necessary for billing related to the patient encounter in a timely fashion
  • Maintain a clean, functional environment including cleaning and disinfection of equipment, exam rooms and storage areas
  • Disinfect equipment and instruments using appropriate solutions following sterilization procedures
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations and OSHA guidelines in handling of hazardous substances
  • Perform basic maintenance of equipment and coordinate needed maintenance for prompt repairs
  • Order supplies and stock patient care areas
  • Monitor inventory including medication/injectables and immunizations, i.e., expired medications/equipment, recalls and patient tracking
  • Develop and maintain effective communication mechanism with all external and internal customers
  • Exemplify service orientation and the team concept in all contacts
  • Responsible for prioritization of patient flow through clinical process.

Medical Assistant Job Description for Resume

The job description sample given above for the post of medical assistant can provide valuable information in writing a resume for the position, especially in preparing the employment history section of the resume.

Here is a resume sample you can study to write yours: Certified Medical Assistant Resume Sample

Medical Assistant Requirements: Knowledge, Skill, and Abilities for Career Success

Here are important attributes and qualities most employers look out for before hiring an applicant for the post of medical assistant:

  • Must have strong computer skills, including the ability to work with medical software
  • Must have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills
  • Possess the ability to manage multiple changing priorities in an effective and organized fashion
  • Possess previous MA experience, phlebotomy skills, excellent computer skills with knowledge of medical software applications
  • Possess the ability to manage multiple changing priorities in an effective, organized manner
  • Possess exceptional interpersonal and communication skills to work with a diverse patient population
  • Possess experience with office medical procedures and treatments and knowledge of insurance, managed care operations, EMR and scheduling software.

See more medical assistant skills and qualities.