The clinical medical assistant is a member of the medical team that provides patient care. Here’s all you must know about them.
The work of a clinical medical assistant involves direct contact with patients under the direction of a physician or registered nurse.
They update and maintain patient records, prepare supply rooms, sterilize instruments, order supplies, restock examination rooms, set up equipment for examinations and treatment rooms.
Moreover, they assist in physical exams requiring assistance from two or more people to turn or move patients. The dressing, undressing, and the procedure of taking the vital signs are also done by the clinical medical assistant (CMS).
As part of administrative responsibilities, they develop admission histories and perform lab services, including specimen retrieval.
And in order to know more, keep on reading this article, which we created with the help of MedAssistantEdu.
Assisting The Patients
A clinical medical assistant must work closely with physicians/providers to assist them with patient exams. This typically includes physical exams involving:
- Moving/transferring patients;
- Drawing blood;
- Inserting catheters;
- Assisting in EKGs, phlebotomy (blood collections), or electroencephalography (EEG).
Since clinical medical assistants are often the first line of communication between the providers and patients regarding patient issues, excellent communication skills are also necessary.
Qualities Needed To Become A Clinical Medical Assistant
Clinical medical assistants must be able to work well with both patients and other healthcare professionals. They should be self-motivated, friendly, helpful, and organized.
Aides are often the first point of contact for people who need medical help. Therefore, they must communicate effectively to provide information about appointments or medications.
They must possess strong computer skills, be patient and caring with people in need of medical care.
A clinical medical assistant may work under the direction of a registered nurse. In this case, it is necessary to follow instructions from other healthcare professionals within a hospital environment.
Depending on the department where they are working, an assistant may also have to maintain records. These include preparing reports and charts for orderlies or other staff members who will complete lab tests and physical exams.
The clinical medical assistant may also work closely with the office administration team since they are often responsible for scheduling appointments and filling out insurance forms.
Knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and medical procedures may also prove beneficial.
The Tasks Of A CMA
The day-to-day tasks of a clinical medical assistant can include:
- Updating and maintaining patient records;
- Preparing supply rooms;
- Sterilizing instruments;
- Ordering supplies;
- Restocking examination rooms;
- Setting-up equipment for examinations and treatment rooms;
- Assisting in physical exams requiring assistance from two or more people to turn or move patients;
- Developing admission histories;
- Performing procedures related to lab services, including specimen retrieval;
- With additional training, provide specialized skills such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), intravenous drug infusions, phlebotomy (blood collections), or electroencephalography (EEG);
- Helping patients with dressing, undressing, taking vital signs, and preparing for X-ray procedures.
The clinical medical assistant can work in a hospital, doctor’s office, or other healthcare establishments.
Their hours are usually regular business hours Monday to Friday. Weekend work or on-call duties may also be required depending on the employer.
There are opportunities for part-time work as well as full-time positions.
The Training And Certification Required For Clinical Medical Assistants
This depends on whether they work within a hospital environment, under the direction of nurses, physician assistants/associates, or physicians themselves.
The following is an outline of standard requirements:
To Work With A Nurse
They must pass an exam called the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). This usually takes about three months to complete. Training covers the following:
- Basic medical procedures;
- Patient care and safety;
- Communication skills;
- Common medical terminology;
- And patient rights.
A clinical medical assistant working under a nurse is not required to have specialized training within specific departments like a lab or physical exams because they are performed by nurses trained in these areas.
To Work As A Unit Clerk
If they want to work as a unit clerk, it may be necessary for them to become certified. However, this is at the discretion of each hospital.
Clinical medical assistants typically require an Associate’s degree from an accredited program offered by community colleges or vocational/technical schools.
However, some employers will accept training and work experience instead of formal education.
All clinical medical assistants must complete an accredited externship program before taking the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Typically, clinical medical assistants must be certified or licensed, depending on state requirements.
Most employers require certification. It can be obtained by passing the appropriate AAMA national certification exam after graduating from an accredited program and gaining one year of full-time experience under a qualified clinical supervisor.
Licensure is typically required for insurance billing purposes. This may include passing another specialized certification exam or completing training through an employer who can act as your certificate sponsor.