An Assistant Medical Professional (AMP) is a member of the support staff in medical settings, such as hospitals and private practices. The AMP’s role can vary greatly depending on their location and speciality. Still, they are generally there to provide help, education, and guidance to physicians, nurses, other hospital staff members and patients. This article offers an introduction to this field by providing insight into the AMP’s responsibilities, requirements for educational programs through licensing requirements—as well as career paths.
A Day Typical Day In The Life Of A Medical Assistant
The AMP’s role varies greatly depending on location and speciality. However, their day is typically spent helping physicians and other medical professionals deliver patient care while also performing administrative functions such as billing and record-keeping.
An AMP working in a pediatric home health agency may accompany nurses to patients’ homes, helping them take vital signs and answer medical questions.
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An AMP working in a hospital setting may spend their time drawing blood samples from patients, administering medications, helping new mothers with breastfeeding techniques and monitoring patient vitals such as breathing rate and heart rates.
An AMP working in a dermatology office may spend their time creating treatment plans for patients and helping administer chemical peels or laser treatments.
An AMP working in an AIDS clinic may spend their time helping patients complete paperwork for disability claims, counselling clients about sexually transmitted diseases and conducting tests to determine the severity of infections.
An AMP working in a laboratory setting may spend their time performing DNA sequencing, testing organ tissue for cancer cells or helping with the preparation of biological samples.
Medical Assistant Job Duties
AMPs work under the supervision of Physicians, Nurses and other professionals to provide general administrative and clinical support. While this list is not exhaustive, some typical duties include:
Performing patient exams. This may involve simple chores such as taking vital signs and height and weight measurements or more involved tasks such as listening to lung sounds and performing diagnostic tests.
Performing basic laboratory tests. This may include blood work, urine analysis or testing for drug levels in the body.
Preparing patients for examinations and treatments by providing them with pre-procedure instructions. AMPs also perform follow-ups after procedures have been committed to ensuring patient well-being.
Calculating dosages of medications and preparing medicine for patients. This includes taking inventory of existing medicine supplies, reviewing new medication orders with Pharmacists and labelling medicines for distribution to patients.
Conducting tests on biological specimens, such as urine or blood samples. AMPs use special equipment to conduct these procedures (such as centrifuges).
Educating patients on topics such as diet and disease prevention, sometimes over the phone.
Assisting nurses with medical procedures such as injections and wound care. AMPs also provide post-treatment instructions to patients and document any changes in patient condition.
Assisting physicians with examinations by helping undress patients or positioning them for examinations. The AMP may also help prepare exam rooms by arranging instruments, sterilizing equipment and laying out protective gowns.
Maintaining the cleanliness of exam rooms by cleaning instruments, replacing paper on examination tables, or disposing of contaminated trash. The AMP may also stock exam room drawers with supplies such as gloves and tongue depressors.
Scheduling appointments for patients by using a database system (such as Epic or Meditech). AMPs also use these systems to enter patient information, past medical history and test results.
Performing administrative tasks such as billing insurance companies, managing patient records (including x-rays and other imaging studies) and filing medical reports.
Providing backup coverage for receptionists by screening incoming calls, directing callers to the appropriate department and transferring calls to extensions.
Performing calculations such as dosage conversions for prescriptions and preparing charts by counting pills or labelling specimens in a lab.
Maintaining inventories of medical supplies by counting items in stock, monitoring expiration dates and placing orders for new supplies.
Learning on the job by shadowing other workers and reading medical publications such as trade magazines and journals.
Required Knowledge and Skills
In order to perform the responsibilities of a Medical Assistant, certain knowledge and skills must be acquired. The following are examples of those needed:
Communication – Composes routine reports and correspondence, as well as technical material such as medical records. Compiles, sorts, and handles incoming mail or phone calls. May answer telephone using appropriate etiquette, such as identifying self, using correct formalities and answering questions. Takes messages for others in the office. Some positions require extensive knowledge of medical terminology to communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals effectively.
Interpersonal – Helps patients feel at ease before, during, and after treatment by providing caring, respectful behaviour. Responds promptly to patient requests or inquiries. Interacts with patients in a friendly, courteous and helpful manner. Develops positive rapport with patients by using effective communication skills. Establishes and maintains patient confidentiality.
Problem-Solving – Uses sound judgment to plan work activities and solve problems such as taking inventory or locating misplaced items within the assigned department or unit.
Science – Completes test requisitions, analyzes samples and prepares specimens. May use medical equipment to conduct tests.
Mathematical – Calculates dosages of medications using dimensional analysis, calculates dosage of medication based on patient’s weight.
Computer – Uses computer software programs related to daily job tasks such as electronic health records systems or clinical information systems used to document patient information.