The Top Skills Needed to Work in the Healthcare Field

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Healthcare is a huge, vast industry in the United States. In other words, the healthcare industry is bursting at the seams with plenty of job openings that need to be filled. Furthermore, the majority of these positions come with perks such as steady pay, fringe benefits, flexible shifts, cool coworkers, excitement, and an invigorating sense of purpose that can only be derived from giving of oneself to help other people make it through their days with big smiles.

In essence, the healthcare field has the capacity to provide extremely good employment opportunities to millions of people in the United States because it is so very enormous. Many people in this country require direct care and other indirect services related to healthcare. Nonetheless, there are a number of top skills that people should either possess or work hard to develop if they are considering a healthcare career.

The following is a list and description of the general skills that are needed in order to be successful in the healthcare industry on a long-term basis. Astute readers should take note that none of these are hands-on procedural skills. After all, a person can be excellent when it comes to performing medical procedures while being totally awful to the people who require those same procedures to be performed on them.

The Top Five Skills Individuals Need For a Career in the Healthcare Industry

  1. Service orientation is a skill that is totally necessary to survive as a healthcare worker on a long-term basis. Service orientation is defined as a mindset that calls upon a person to actively seek ways to provide assistance (a.k.a. service) to others. A major aspect of working in the healthcare field is ensuring the provision of assistance to patients, their families and others. In a nutshell, healthcare workers deliver services to people.
  2. Communication skills are absolutely imperative for working in the healthcare field. Communication skills include verbal communication, which is the act of speaking and voicing things to other people to get one’s points and information across in an effective manner. Communication skills also involve nonverbal communication, which is the act of using body language, gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, shrugging, eye movement and posture to convey messages.
  3. Observation is the skill of paying attention to and analyzing the behaviors of oneself and others with the ultimate goal of improving or making corrections as needed. Healthcare workers must continually observe their own actions; also, they observe patients, coworkers, supervisors, families, vendors, visitors and an array of other people. Thus, healthcare workers need to have a keen sense of observation.
  4. Active listening skills are very important to have in the healthcare industry. Active listening skills are the series of deliberate actions people take so they will be able to devote complete attention to what other persons are saying. Some examples of active listening skills include taking the time to comprehend the points individuals are attempting to make, questioning others as needed to gain more clarity, and not interrupting conversations at improper times.
  5. Social awareness is crucial when dealing with people as a healthcare worker. Social awareness can be defined as the skill of comprehending and appropriately responding to the reactions of others and their interpersonal struggles, as well as knowing why they may be reacting in that manner. A socially aware healthcare worker remains fully aware of his or her surroundings and correctly interprets the emotions and actions of the multitude of persons that he or she has met.

If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, get a healthcare career in as quickly as two weeks at Legacy Healthcare Careers. Train to become a nursing assistant (CNA). Call (682)626-5266 to register for CNA classes at our state-approved school.

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April: Alcohol Awareness Month!

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Alcohol is a substance that undeniably has a number of direct and indirect affects on the health system in the United States as well as around the world. Furthermore, April happens to be Alcohol Awareness Month. Due to the reality that alcohol has such a notably profound impact on all facets of the healthcare system, a posting about Alcohol Awareness Month 2019 seems timely and appropriate.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) created Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987 for the targeted purpose of spreading knowledge and awareness about the topics of alcohol, problem drinking, alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, and recovery. In addition, Alcohol Awareness Month was created to lessen the stigma and negative connotations associated with addiction to alcohol.

Approximately 17.6 million persons are afflicted with alcohol use disorders or alcohol dependence (Facing Addiction With NCADD, 2019). As aspiring medical professionals and workers in the healthcare system, the likelihood of encountering patients and families impacted by alcohol abuse is high. Thus, healthcare workers should educate themselves about issues that revolve around alcohol misuse, alcoholism, and recovery.

To observe Alcohol Awareness Month, people can do their part by helping to spread some knowledge and awareness regarding alcohol usage. The various social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will surely be filled with informational posts, articles and pictures regarding Alcohol Awareness Month. Furthermore, people can utilize the #AlcoholAwareness hashtag when posting on social media apps.

Remember the following truths: even when an individual believes he or she is alone in the world, rest assured that someone is always around to offer help. Therefore, let’s be there to either provide help or obtain it if needed. After all, be mindful that it is never too late to make more healthful lifestyle changes and address addictions or problematic patterns. No one is alone in the uphill fight for a better, sober life.

REFERENCES

Facing Addiction With NCADD. (2019). Alcohol Awareness Month – April 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2019, from https://www.facingaddiction.org/resources/alcohol-awareness-month?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTmpReU5HTTRaakJtT1RJeSIsInQiOiJweWtJQjI4b0xUbVBrMDZvKzZGVmpVZVhtUE12NEpKRkI4aHo2azRZRkVZOE5OcnlNOFRrZkQrMWNna1wvQXdLWDQzT3o5YnNvMG40YlFzUTVFdjA5Nm9CWElWU3dEQlFjeHMzTWVwQjlZSVRrRENKeDdRbXhxcXNiTE5vam9WQThrOUNrMzQyVDlWcnRZUFwvQ2VNcWJudz09In0%3D

Nursing Care Spotlight: Preventing Skin Tears

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First of all, a skin tear is defined as a wound or laceration caused by trauma, friction and/or shearing forces. Skin tears rip through the upper layer of the sufferer’s skin, but not the lower layer that contains the various glands and nerve endings. Skin tears happen to be the most frequently occurring type of wound in older persons due to a number of reasons related to the aging process.

The likelihood of getting a skin tear increases dramatically as the elder’s skin becomes more weakened, drier, thinner and with less elasticity due to reduced subcutaneous fat, collagen, lessened elastin fiber deposition and sebacious (oil) gland production that occurs with advanced age (Aitken, 2018). In other words, skin tears are much more common as people age due to the fact that elderly skin undergoes predictable changes.

There are two distinct types of skin tears. A partial thickness wound happens when the epidermis, also known as the top layer of skin, becomes separated from the dermis (bottom skin layer). Meanwhile, a full thickness wound is a skin tear in which both the epidermis and the dermis layers become separated from the underlying skin (Ratliff and Fletcher, 2007).

Prevention of skin tears must be a priority for a number of compelling reasons. Firstly, the majority of people who seek care from the healthcare system are 65 years of age or older, so these patients are at increased risk of developing skin tears. Secondly, skin tears do have the potential to become infected. Third, skin tears can result in pain and suffering for the afflicted person. Finally, skin tears cost money to treat and heal.

The following is a list that merely scratches the surface regarding the various ways to prevent skin tears. Keep in mind that it is far more optimal to prevent a skin tear from happening in the first place since treating and healing this type of wound can turn into a time-consuming, somewhat expensive process.

  • Utilize draw sheets when moving immobile patients in bed to reduce the chances of developing skin tears from shearing and friction forces.
  • Apply barrier creams and lotions to patients’ extremities (arms, legs, hands and feet). Dry skin is a risk factor for skin tear development, so direct care members of staff should keep the skin moisturized often.
  • Educate nurses, nursing assistants, patient care technicians, transporters, and other healthcare personnel who regularly come into contact with patients about proper transfer methods, shearing, friction, risk factors, and preventive measures.
  • If possible, remove equipment with sharp edges that might cause injury to patients’ skin. If the removal of equipment is not possible, sharp edges should be covered with padding to minimize the chances of skin tears to peoples’ skin.
  • Implement a plan to identify all inpatient populations in hospitals, extended care facilities, personal care group homes, and other healthcare centers who are at increased risk of skin tear development.

REFERENCES

Aitken, C. (2018). Skin Tears in the Elderly. Western Alliance. Retrieved March 17, 2019, from https://www.westernalliance.org.au/2018/08/skin-tears-in-the-elderly

Ratliff, C., and Fletcher, K. (2007). Skin tears: a review of the evidence to support prevention and treatment. Ostomy Wound Management, 53(3), pp. 33-42.

March is Autoimmune Awareness Month

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The month of March is National Professional Social Work Month. In addition, March is National Nutrition Month. Since the professions of social work and nutrition are tightly interrelated with connections to the healthcare sector in a number of differing ways, a couple of previous posts had been devoted to these aforementioned month-long observations. Click here and right here to read these posts.

Well, March is also Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month. The whole purpose of Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month is to bring crucial awareness to the painful plights of the nearly 50 million individuals in America who are currently afflicted with autoimmune diseases. Many common illnesses such as type I diabetes, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease are autoimmune in origin.

An autoimmune disease is one in which a person’s bodily immune response begins to destroy perfectly healthy tissues and organ systems, leading to illness. Eustice (2018) asserts that an autoimmune disease is related to a malfunction of a person’s immune system, which results in the body attacking its own tissues. When the immune system malfunctions, the body sees its own tissues as foreign and attacks those tissues.

In addition, more than 100 autoimmune disease processes exist, and approximately 75 percent of afflicted persons are females. Some other common autoimmune diseases include Graves disease, psoriasis, vitiligo, inflammatory bowel disease, hemolytic anemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile arthritis, vasculitis, Hashimoto’s disease, mixed connective tissue disease and autoimmune hepatitis.

Certain factors seem to place an individual at a greatly increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease process. Females of childbearing age, persons who belong to particular racial-ethnic backgrounds, people who have been exposed to certain triggers or environmental exposures, and individuals with a family history of autoimmune disease are at higher risk of developing an autoimmune response (Eustice, 2018).

According to Whitehill (2017), Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month provides the public with the optimal opportunity to continue to raise awareness of scleroderma, Raynaud’s disease and the multitude of other autoimmune-related health problems. In order for a widespread public health problem such as autoimmune disease to be solved, it must first be acknowledged and brought into peoples’ awareness on a large scale.

If autoimmune conditions receive more attention from the American public as well as deeply moneyed stakeholders such as large research universities and major hospital systems, financial investments in well-designed autoimmune disease research trials will most likely rise. The body’s autoimmune response definitely needs further investigation in order to find a cure and perhaps alleviate the suffering of millions of affected people.

More monetary investment in clinical and medical research is surely needed to enhance the day to day realities for those unfortunate individuals who are caught up in the midst of the autoimmune disease journey, as well as swifter access to innovative treatments (Whitehill, 2017). A blend of innovation, money, critical thinking, initiative, research trials and intense curiosity will be needed to fight the issue of autoimmune disease.

REFERENCES

Eustice, C. (2018, December 24). Autoimmune Disease Types and Treatment. Verywell Health. Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-an-autoimmune-disease-189661

Whitehill, N. (2017, March 7). Raising Awareness and Knowledge of Autoimmune Diseases for March. Scleroderma News. Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://sclerodermanews.com/2017/03/07/raising-awareness-knowledge-of-autoimmune-diseases-for-march/

Brain Awareness Week: March 11 Through March 17, 2019

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This year (2019), Brain Awareness Week is to be observed for the entire week that begins on March 11th and ends on March 17th. For those that might not have been previously aware, Brain Awareness Week is a worldwide celebration of the brain. Since the brain has such a profound impact on peoples’ physical, mental, social and emotional health, Brain Awareness Week deserves to be the sole subject of an informational post.

Brain Awareness Week is a week-long celebration of the brain that was established back in 1996. Every single year, during one whole week in the month of March, Brain Awareness Week brings together the diligent work of organizations, research firms, partners and interested stakeholders on a global scale to celebrate the marvelous organ otherwise known as the brain.

In other words, Brain Awareness Week is a worldwide campaign with the intent of boosting peoples’ awareness regarding the uniqueness and importance of the brain, as well as getting the public to see the merits and beneficial aspects of clinical research involving the brain. This week is loaded with multiple opportunities to discuss the progress that revolves around brain research.

Numerous diseases affect the human brain in ways that are devastating to individuals, families, and entire populations. Brain Awareness Week provides opportunities to let people know about the progress that is being done to diagnose, treat and prevent brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, schizophrenia and depression (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, 2019).

Brain Awareness Week is celebrated with a myriad of activities and events. According to National Day Calendar (2019), activities are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations and include open days at neuroscience labs; exhibitions about the brain; lectures on topics that pertain to the brain; social media posting campaigns; displays at libraries and community centers; classroom workshops; and so much more.

To observe Brain Awareness Week, individuals can take a look at the the BAW calendar of events to find activities that will be taking place in the region where they live. People can also post on social media outlets using the hashtags #BrainAwarenessWeek and #BrainWeek. Also, the neuroscience departments at many colleges and universities will be organizing exhibits and educational activities that are often open to the public.

REFERENCES

Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. (2019). Brain Awareness Week. Retrieved March 13, 2019 from https://www.fens.org/Outreach/FENS-Brain-Awareness-Week/

National Day Calendar. (2019). Brain Awareness Week. Retrieved March 13, 2019 from https://nationaldaycalendar.com/brain-awareness-week-changes-annually/

 

 

February is Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

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February is Turner Syndrome Awareness month and, since this website definitely has an orientation toward the medical field and various issues that pertain to healthcare, this month-long observance deserves an honorable mention and a posting of its own. After all, the point is to raise some much-needed awareness regarding the rare disease process known as Turner Syndrome.

Turner Syndrome is a rather uncommon health problem that afflicts about one in every 2,500 females. This syndrome, which is not inheritable and affects only females, arises due to a chromosomal abnormality. It happens whenever all or part of of a girl’s second X chromosome is either completely or partially absent.

Turner Syndrome develops at the time of conception; in addition, approximately 99 percent of all Turner Syndrome pregnancies do not ever survive. In other words, a female infant who is born with Turner Syndrome has beaten the odds since the vast majority of women who are pregnant with Turner Syndrome babies do not carry them to full term due to fetal demise.

The visual, physical outcome of Turner Syndrome is a notable constellation of telltale signs and symptoms that can vary in severity from mild to profound. Girls with Turner Syndrome tend to present with the following characteristics: an unusually short stature, slower bone growth than usual, horseshoe-shaped kidneys, heart abnormalities, issues with hearing, enlarged hands and feet, and broadened chests and shoulders.

Other physical traits attributable to Turner Syndrome include webbed necks, deformed elbows, narrow palates, thin teeth and puffy extremities. In addition, girls with Turner Syndrome usually have absence of menstruation and suffer from infertility. A large number of females with Turner Syndrome have high blood pressure (hypertension), which is thought to arise due to kidney abnormalities and/or aortic constriction.

Due to the fact that February is Turner Syndrome Awareness Month, the overriding goal of this posting is to spread awareness about this disease process to as many members of the general public as humanly possible while also offering wholehearted support to the many parents of little girls afflicted with this disorder. Approximately 80,000 females have been diagnosed with Turner Syndrome in the United States to date.

Even though there is no known cure for Turner Syndrome at the time of this writing (2019), it is very much manageable when the female patient is placed under the care of a competent healthcare provider who is knowledgeable regarding its ongoing medical management.

REFERENCES

Martell, J. (2018). Raise Awareness of Turner Syndrome During the Month of February! Retrieved from https://patientworthy.com/2018/02/23/raise-awareness-turner-syndrome-month-february/

Healthcare Career Spotlight: the Patient Transporter

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A patient transporter, also referred to in some hospital systems as an orderly, is a multi-skilled allied healthcare worker whose primary workplace responsibility involves the safe transport of patients and clients from one destination to another within hospitals and other types of healthcare facilities. A competent patient transporter uses his or her skills to make things easier for patients and medical staff at healthcare facilities.

Most nurses and other healthcare workers would readily agree about the extreme usefulness of patient transporters. Furthermore, patient transporters are really important assets to the healthcare team at many hospitals because without their assortment of skills, many medical care settings would have extreme difficulty dealing with the most routine operations.

After all, facilities that do not use patient transporters usually force members of nursing staff to complete all transporting. For instance, a nurse who must transport a patient from the cardiac floor of a hospital to the interventional radiology suite must leave his other patients unattended for up to 30 minutes while he accompanies the lone patient. Imagine how inconvenient this would be for that nurse and his other patients!

Generally, the patient transporter needs to have a kind disposition, a lot of patience and an empathetic outlook toward the ill patients and clients that require transporting from one location to another. In addition, good body mechanics and some physical strength would be immensely useful due to the fact that patient transporters must bend, lift heavy loads, twist, and do a great deal of standing during a typical work shift.

The role of patient transporting has grown in recent years, so patient transporters have had to rise to the occasion to keep up with the demands and complexities of the present day health system in the United States.  Patient transporters transfer patients from beds to wheelchairs or stretchers to transport them to various locations, push occupied and unoccupied wheelchairs, and assist people to get into vehicles such as cars and vans.

Safety is essential when working as a patient transporter. They must transfer patients with extreme care and caution to avoid injuring themselves or the people they have been entrusted to transport. Confidentiality is imperative for patient transporters since they verify clients’ identities prior to transport and are privy to protected health information and other private matters. They must also adhere to infection control principles.

Patient transporters may have additional duties such as wheeling or pushing patients to the correct location within hospitals, taking patients to medical appointments, assisting patients onto examination tables, and transporting patients to the curbside or parking lot of the hospital in order to board ambulances and/or non-emergency medical transportation vans. Patient transporters also document their tasks upon completion.

In addition to transporting clients, patient transporters often transport and hand-deliver items such as heavy equipment, specimens and lab/diagnostic results to various locations within the hospital. At some facilities, patient transporters routinely transport bodies of deceased patients to the hospital morgue. Depending on the type of facility, some patient transporters serve as van drivers who drive clients to and from appointments.

Since the role of patient transporting requires constant contact with people, patient transporters should feel comfortable interacting with a wide variety of persons including patients, nurses, physicians, family members, coworkers, managers, visitors, vendors and others. Moreover, patient transporters must have a knack for swiftly gaining the trust and cooperation of the many patients who require transport each day.

Patient transporters can be found working in places of employment such as acute care hospitals, large skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, personal care group homes and non-emergency transportation companies. Individuals who have an interest in entering this healthcare career pathway must usually have a high school diploma or G.E.D. before training for this specific position on the job.

Prior work experience in the allied healthcare field and/or professional certification as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or certified nursing assistant (CNA) can be helpful to prepare for the daily functions of a patient transporter. Also, professional certification can provide a potential advantage that might result in an applicant standing out in a sea of other job seekers who apply for patient transporter positions.

The demand for patient transporters in the job market is projected to remain steady well into the near future. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, which classifies patient transporters under the Orderlies employment category, the projected growth rate for this specific position is 11 percent through the year 2024. This projected growth rate exceeds the average for all other jobs.

Much of this growth in patient transporter job openings can be attributed to the large wave of the Baby Boomer generation that is expected to have a profound impact on healthcare facilities. Aging members of the Baby Boomer cohort are already entering the healthcare system and requiring transport from one location to another. Therefore, patient transporters are very much needed in the employment market.

People who live and/or work in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas should call Legacy Healthcare Careers at (682)626-5266 to jump-start a life-transforming career in the healthcare industry. Legacy Healthcare Careers offers affordable career training as well as job placement assistance. Call today...

How Does the Opioid Epidemic Affect the Healthcare Field in the United States?

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The opioid epidemic, also known as the opioid crisis, first gained serious traction in the United States during the 1990s decade due to a number of momentous factors such as a marked increase in the number of pain killer prescriptions along with the fiercely addictive qualities of these medications. Also, big name pharmaceutical companies started to aggressively market and advertise opioid prescription drugs in the 1990s.

Unfortunately, the opioid epidemic has been having an awful impact on numerous individuals, their families, American society, and the healthcare field as a whole over the course of the previous two decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018), the number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioid drugs has been on a noticeable rise since 1999 with no slowdown in sight.

So, in what ways does the opioid epidemic affect the healthcare field in the U.S.? Well, people from all walks of life are addicted to opioids, so this epidemic has most certainly impacted many of the patients, coworkers and visitors who are participants in the healthcare system. The following list consists of the various ways in which the current opioid crisis has affected the healthcare field.

  • Impaired healthcare workers and providers: Many physicians, nurses, technicians and other allied healthcare workers have battled fierce addictions to opioids. Some healthcare professionals have even had their professional licenses and/or certifications revoked due to impaired practice or an inability to conquer their addictions. Other healthcare workers have entered drug rehab or chemical dependency programs.
  • Treatment of overdose: There has been a sharp increase in the number of addicted patients who are entering the healthcare system by way of rolling into hospital emergency departments on stretchers after having suffered opioid overdoses. In some regions, overburdened emergency medical service providers regularly deal with shortages of Narcan, the injectable medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.
  • Drug rehabilitative services: Some people enter the healthcare system by opting to receive inpatient drug rehab or participate in chemical dependency programs to battle their addictions to opioids. The number of health insurance plans that cover some or all of the costs associated with drug rehab or chemical dependency treatment has grown larger. Thus, many addicted persons are fighting their addictions by using these avenues.
  • Treatment of chronic disease processes: Still, some patients end up in the healthcare system for treatment of chronic hepatitis C, HIV and other bloodborne illnesses after contracting these viruses by using unclean hypodermic needles to inject opioid drugs. Many people who inject heroin were once users of prescription opioid pain pills. However, an alarming number of these folks switched to heroin since it is cheaper and delivers the same type of high.
  • Pain management clinics: Physicians who work in the specialty of pain medicine can earn very lucrative incomes due in part to the opioid epidemic. A pain doctor is a medical physician (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) who specializes in pain medicine. Pain management clinics, referred to as ‘pain clinics’ for short, are doing brisk business as a result of the number of drug-seeking patients who visit them to request prescriptions and refills for opioid medications.
  • Impaired family members and visitors: Nurses, nursing assistants, patient care technicians and other healthcare workers who deliver direct patient care at the bedside must occasionally deal with visitors who are obviously impaired. Almost any experienced healthcare worker can describe the so-called ‘opioid nod’ with stunning accuracy because they have seen so many family members nodding off while visiting with hospitalized patients.
  • Infants born to addicted mothers: Newborns who are exposed to opioids during the prenatal period begin to experience severe withdrawal symptoms within 48 to 72 hours after birth. This heartbreaking phenomenon is referred to as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Moreover, the number of infants being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome has been increasing steadily due to the large number of pregnant women who abuse opioid drugs.
  • Lost productivity: The opioid crisis is putting a burdensome strain on employers and corporations, including many healthcare companies. The steepest monetary costs linked with the opioid epidemic arise mainly due to lost productivity and earnings losses for corporations. Untimely overdose deaths and opioid addiction disorders also affect municipal, county, state and federal governments in a detrimental manner by way of losses in tax revenue.
  • Staggeringly high healthcare costs: Healthcare costs connected with the opioid epidemic have exceeded $200 billion since 2001. These expenses are primarily due to pre-hospital emergency medical services (a.k.a. ambulance care), visits to local emergency departments, and the widespread use of Narcan, a medication that rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose. Also, opioid addicts cost their employers approximately twice as much in healthcare expenses when compared to their non-addicted workmates.

Healthcare Career Spotlight: the Medical Office Assistant

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A medical office assistant, also known as an administrative medical assistant or front office medical assistant, is a multifaceted allied healthcare professional whose primary function is to ensure that the front office area of physicians’ offices, clinics, medical groups and hospital units runs smoothly. A competent medical office assistant puts an array of soft interpersonal skills and hard procedural skills to use every single workday to get the job done.

Medical office assistants are vital members of the healthcare team because without their varied skill set, many healthcare settings would have difficulty managing day to day operations. In general, the medical office assistant tends to be the very first individual with whom patients, clients vendors and visitors come into contact at most physicians’ offices and clinic settings. Thus, these multi-skilled healthcare workers serve as the front line backbones of many workplace settings.

The allied health occupation of front office medical assisting has expanded greatly over the past few decades. Therefore, the role of the typical medical office assistant has also expanded to keep up with modern times.  Medical office assistants complete tasks such as scheduling patients’ appointments, greeting and checking patients and visitors in, coordinating visits with guests such as pharmaceutical representatives, and contacting vendors to reorder supplies.

Medical office assistants may also be responsible for clerical duties such as computer data entry, conducting phone interviews, verifying clients’ personal health information, obtaining signatures on new patient forms, sending faxes, compiling charts, filing paperwork, scanning documents, maintaining the orderly appearance of the reception area, and ensuring that diagnostic results reach the appropriate healthcare providers.

Depending on the policies of the specific workplace, many medical office assistants also carry out tasks that are either directly or indirectly related to monetary collection. Some of these duties may include gathering information on health insurance payer sources, processing payments in exchange for healthcare services, generating receipts, making patients aware of co-payment and/or coinsurance amounts, scanning documents such as insurance cards, and setting up payment plans.

Since the field of medical assisting entails intensive contact with people, medical office assistants need to be extremely comfortable interacting with a variety of individuals including patients, physicians, coworkers, visitors, families, vendors and others. The role of a medical office assistant necessitates effective communication skills. In addition, medical office assistants must have the ability to quickly establish trust and cooperation with the multitude of people who visit the healthcare setting on a daily basis.

Medical office assistants are employed primarily in workplaces such as clinics, multi-specialty medical group practices, acute care hospital wards, physicians’ offices, and ambulatory surgical centers. After amassing several years of experience, some medical assistants secure employment as medical office assistant instructors at trade schools, community colleges, technical colleges, and private for-profit academies.

Persons with an interest in entering this career pathway must usually have a high school diploma or G.E.D. before completing a training program in medical assisting that results in a postsecondary certificate, diploma or associate of applied science degree. Medical office assistant diploma and certificate programs are typically less than one year long. On the other hand, programs that lead to an associate of applied science degree generally take two years to complete from start to finish.

Medical office assistant career training programs are offered at several different types of postsecondary schools such as technical colleges, community colleges, trade schools, state universities, vocational schools, adult education centers, regional occupational programs and private for-profit academies.

Most employers prefer to hire medical office assistants who possess a professional certification. As a result, a number of entities will certify the medical assistant’s vast fund of knowledge. The National Healthcareer Association, the National Center for Competency Testing and the American Medical Certification Association are three different entities that offer professional certification to medical office assistants.

Furthermore, medical office assistants remain in high demand in many employment markets for the near future. Employment of medical assistants is projected to increase by approximately 29 percent through the year 2026, which happens to be much faster than the average for all occupations. Much of this job growth is driven by grand openings and expansions of doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics and multi-specialty group practices.