Certified Medical Assistants

The decision to go into health care was an easy decision for me. It started with the birth of my son, he was born premature. He weighed two pounds 13 ounces; he needed specialized care which was provided by neonatal nurses. Neonatal nursing is a relatively new specialty by comparison to adult health, midwifery, or other areas of nursing. Because it is new, there are great opportunities for nurses to devote their skills to newborns who need specialized care.

Neonatal refers to the first 28 days of life. Neonatal care, as known in specialized nurseries or intensive care, has been around since the 1960’s (AACN, 2010). I was in awe of how they cared for my son. When it was time for my son to be released I knew I wanted to be a nurse. With life you never know what is coming your way, I did not pursue the field because life happened got married and had three more children. I did not forget that I wanted to be a nurse just couldn’t get it in my grasp.

Finally, I decided to go to school but, went for my certification in Medical Assisting. Clinical medical assistants have various duties, depending on State law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examinations, and assisting physicians during examinations. Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments.

As directed by a physician, they might instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications, authorize drug refills, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for x rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings. Medical assistants also may arrange examining room instruments and equipment, purchase and maintain supplies and equipment, and keep waiting and examining rooms neat and clean (BLS, 2009).

This was a very good choice for me. I enjoy being a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). But, we often get confused with being a physician assistant (PA). Employing the CMA (AAMA) to do clinical and administrative procedures in an ambulatory delivery setting is proving to be a cost-effective way of providing high-quality care. The CMA (AAMA) credential represents a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) who has achieved certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

The CMA (AAMA) must graduate from an accredited postsecondary academic program; pass a national examination administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners, and recertify every five years. The CMA (AAMA) is trained in socioethnic sensitivity and highly skilled in communicating with patients. In an effort to reduce potential malpractice liability, insurance carriers are recommending that practices employ culturally competent “patient advocate” professionals such as the CMA (AAMA) who has the required listening and speaking abilities.

Researchers are exploring new ways of utilizing the CMA (AAMA) that enhance efficiency and reduce patient noncompliance with physicians’ instructions, such as serving as a “health coach” who meets with patients before and after the clinician (physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant) visit, and assists during the clinician visit (Balasa, 2008). With any health care worker there are steps that need to be followed in order to get the training and experience they need to provide excellent health care.

Without the credentials listed above one cannot claim to be a Certified Medical Assistant. When people practice any type of medicine they must carry the correct credentials in order to do so if not they face jail time for practicing medicine without a license. Employers must check the licenses of the employees they wish to hire, this way the person they wish to hire is fully licensed or certified to state regulations. Medical Assistants deal with the patients a lot more than the physician themselves. They deal with appointment scheduling, specialty referrals, lab tests and much more.

The patient has the right to make his or her own decision when choosing a physician and even the medical assistants within the office. Medical Assistants show fidelity not only to the patients but to the physicians as well. When a patient is not happy with the medical office they have the right to find another doctor but, what happens when a patient is unhappy with the medical assistant within the office? Depending on the situation and circumstance of the problem the medical assistant can be fired and or lose their certification.

That is why when a medical assistant is dealing with a patient it is very important for a patient to nderstand that a medical assistant does not have a medical license but, they have do have the training to perform the tasks the doctor has ordered for them to do. When a patient is discussing their medical histories with the medical assistant it is also important for the CMA to write everything down so that it is properly documented and the physician knows exactly what is going on with the patient. When things are not communicated to the physician like lab test results or symptoms the patient was feeling that is a break down with the procedures that a CMA should follow.

When the medical histories, lab results, and physician findings are not properly documented this is when the patient could be put in harm’s way. What can I do if I disagree with my HMO? What does the doctor have to tell me about my upcoming operation? Can I withhold medical treatment for my child? Does my teenager have to get permission for an abortion? Users of health care in America are asking these and many other questions concerning health care in America, and many groups are trying to define patients’ rights. In the rapidly changing atmosphere of health care, many factors have affected how health care is practiced.

The rights of the patient have also been affected. Patient rights have recently become the center of national attention in the practice of medicine. The push for legislation of a patients’ bill of rights is to provide laws that would prevent health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and other managed health plans from refusing to pay for appropriate care. But what exactly does patient rights mean? Often, people do not realize their specific rights at the time of their care because those rights are often not clearly defined. A patient’s rights occur at many different levels, and in all specialties.

The American Medical Association (AMA) outlines fundamental elements of the doctor-patient relationship in their Code of Medical Ethics. These rights include the following: oThe right to receive information from physicians and to discuss the benefits, risks, and costs of appropriate treatment alternatives oThe right to make decisions regarding the health care that is recommended by the physician oThe right to courtesy, respect, dignity, responsiveness, and timely attention to health needs oThe right to confidentiality oThe right to continuity of health care oThe basic right to have adequate health care

Patients often have certain responsibilities for ensuring their rights. According to the AMA, physicians should also serve as advocates for patients and promote these basic rights. Every time a patient visits a doctor, both parties are seeking answers to these questions: oDiagnosis: What is wrong with the patient? oPrognosis: What does the diagnosis mean for the patient? oCaring and management component: What can be done for the patient? oResearch dimension: What can the doctor learn from this patient? oPublic health dimension: How can others benefit from the treatment process of this patient? Educational opportunities: What can the patient and the professionals learn from this experience and teach others (EMED, 2010)? Above are all questions that a patient has every legal right to ask.

Most of these questions are good ones to ask the assistants in the office so that the patient can get a better understand of what kind of medical facility they are choosing and if they feel comfortable enough to continue their care there. I am happy that I chose to become a CMA so that I can help people. I love taking the role of the CMA in a doctor’s office and push myself to be the best I can be every day.

The responsibility of the training involved especially when going to do the internship at a doctor’s office was very over whelming but, my physician that I chose to complete the last part of my schooling with was an excellent choice because he gave me encouragement and the confidence to be the very hard worker I am today. Though CMA’s are found in doctor offices mostly they are definitely expanding to ER’s and hospital floors which is also exciting to know that my job will always have a lot of resources to follow in order to stay employed.




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