What It Takes To Be a Medical Assistant Student

In honor of Medical Assistant Week (Oct. 21-25), Globe University-Appleton wants you to be informed of what it takes to be a medical assistant student. We recently interviewed Kara Abbott, certified medical assistant and medical assistant program chair at our Appleton campus. Keep reading to learn what medical assistants do, what sort of person you have to be, experiences you’ll gain as a student in the medical assistant program, and your potential career outlook.

What does a medical assistant do?

medical assistant program

Medical assistant student Starla Pittman (left) and Michelle Vanden Heuvel, RN, BSN, MSM. Michelle serves as Globe University-Appleton’s medical assistant externship coordinator and health care management and medical administrative assistant program chair.

“A medical assistant is trained to perform both administrative and clinical procedures. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Administrative: computer applications, answering telephones, greeting patients, maintaining and filing patient medical records, coding and filing insurance forms, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services, and handling correspondence, billing and bookkeeping.
  • Clinical: taking medical histories, vital signs, patient education, preparing patients for examination, assisting physicians during exams and minor surgery, collecting and preparing laboratory specimens, performing laboratory tests, administering medications, removing sutures and changing dressings, performing EKGs and pulmonary function testing.”

What type of person does it take to be a medical assistant?

“[A medical assistant] must be a ‘people-person’ who likes a variety of duties. You must be a caring individual who wants to help people and patients feel at ease. You must have good communication skills and a desire to work in an always-changing environment.”

Through Globe University’s medical assistant program, what sorts of hands-on experiences can a medical assistant student expect to gain?

“[You can expect to do] all of the duties that a medical assistant can perform on the job, both clinical and administrative. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

medical assistant program

Medical assistant students Alyssa Anglemyer (left) and Robin Swenson practice taking patients’ vital signs.

    • ear lavages,
    • vital signs,
    • hand washing,
    • electrocardiograms,
    • pulmonary function testing,
    • assisting with minor surgery,
    • using medical equipment,
    • drawing blood and testing it,
    • autoclaving,
    • injections,
    • legal concepts,
    • communication,
    • patient education,
    • documentation,
    • inventory,
    • finances, and
    • scheduling appointments.”

After graduating, what sorts of settings can medical assistants expect to work in?

Medical assistants can work in a variety of settings, including:

  • ambulatory surAfter graduating, what sorts of settings can medical assistants expect gery
  • clinics (physician’s offices)
  • emergency and outpatient hospital departments
  • laboratories.

In celebration of Medical Assistant week, each medical assistant student was allowed to make their own video using their new iPad. The video aimed to capture why they chose to become a medical assistant. The winner, Amber Buskirk, was awarded the grand prize of a Classic II S.E. Littmann Stethoscope, donated by Barb and Mike Schneider, owners of the Uniform Boutique in Appleton. Congratulations, Amber! You can view her very creative video here.