What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Have you ever wondered what a medical assistant job is all about?  Students in the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Review Seminar at Globe University-Sioux Falls recently got the inside scoop on their future profession from someone currently working in the field.

medical assistant program, medical assisting

CMA Review Seminar Students and Erica Arends, CMA (front, right)

The CMA Review Seminar course is a comprehensive review of everything medical assistant students have learned throughout their time at Globe University to prepare them for the certified medical assistant exam. As part of an assignment, the students met up with Erica Arends, a CMA with the Avera Medical Group in Harrisburg, to learn from someone in the field.  Erica is also a Program Advisory Council (PAC) member for our medical assistant associate degree program and a regular supervisor to many of our student-externs.

Erica graduated from Globe University-Sioux Falls in 2010. Her favorite thing about Globe was the hands-on experience and flexibility in scheduling. She currently works at Avera Medical Group Harrisburg and Avera Urgent Care. She decided to become a medical assistant because she wanted to find something better to do with her time and needed a career change.

When asked what she enjoys about her job, Erica said working with patients and the variety of things she gets to see. She likes this job because she’s busy all the time, and her favorite part of the day is doing procedures.

Erica offered seven tips to the students as they prepare for their externships:

  1. Research the clinic and familiarize yourself with it before your externships starts.
  2. If the person you are following says something, it is for a reason—so pay attention! 
  3. Be confident and know what you’re asking. Asking questions is a big part of the externship.
  4. Know what needs to be done before being asked to do it.
  5. Be completely aware of what the schedule is.
  6. Know insurance policies and keep up with the changes.
  7. Use proper phone etiquette. People need to know where they are calling, who they are talking to and that the person they are talking to is knowledgeable.                          

The soon-to-be medical assistants gained great insight from Erica. Here’s what they had to say:

  • “When I first started the journey to my career, I thought it was just doing vital signs and rooming patients. I didn’t realize that we can do so much more like phlebotomy and giving shots. Globe has showed me that I can do way more than simply just being a Medical Assistant. The possibilities are endless.” –Chelsea Keeter, medical assistant student
  • When I started at Globe my expectations of the classes and the Medical Assistant program where slightly different than what I have come to know. When I first started I was unaware how hands on and dealing with patients we actually were. I had a vague knowledge and just thought it was more reception work. I have really enjoyed all the lab work and blood draws that we do, it has open my eyes to the different things that Medical Assistants are able to do in the work field.”–Megan Tadesse, medical assistant student
  • “As a single mother I needed to find a better career to take care of my daughter. I worked as a C.N.A taking care of residents in a nursing home so I knew that taking care of people was the line of work that I searched for. Before I started at Globe I was unsure of all the responsibilities that a Medical Assistant could do. I have learned a lot from all my classes and my instructor are great with real life experiences to share. I am confident that I will enjoy being in the clinic working.” –Nicolette Hammer, medical assistant student

They also noted that when searching for a job as a medical assistant, it’s important not to limit yourself to just medical assisting. A CMA can be a phlebotomist, which is working in the lab and drawing blood from patients. You can also pursue the administrative side, which involves working the front office doing paperwork such as medical charting, billing information and scheduling patients. You could also do the more clinical side of it which includes rooming patients, keeping inventory updated, and assisting the physician with daily procedures.

Globe University is the only school in South Dakota that offers radiology classes and the chance to become a Limited Xray Machine Operator, otherwise known as LXMO. You can even get this credential before becoming a Certified Medical Assistant.

As you can see, the medical assisting program opens doors to a handful of exciting career opportunities. It is a profession of many trades. Come check us out at Globe University-Sioux Falls!

~ In collaboration with Amy Zobel, Medical Assistant Program Chair, Globe University-Sioux Falls      medical assistant program