What Medical Assistant Training Programs Involve

Medical assistant training programs prepare individuals to work as entry-level med assistants. This is done by preparing students to assist during medical or surgical procedures, update patient charts, take vital signs, draw blood or collect specimens for diagnostic purposes. Such assistants are also typically required to perform administrative tasks.

Aspiring med assistants have several options to choose from, including degree and diploma programs, as well as online courses. Each option is associated with specific features and benefits, and the one selected will largely depend upon the student’s personal preferences and lifestyle.

The curriculum is typically divided between classroom training and clinical experiences, the latter of which is acquired at a medical facility. However, with online courses, one’s clinical experience will be obtained at the specific facility where he or she has secured employment.

Medical Assistant Training Programs Courses
The curriculum offered by the majority of medical assistant programs includes the following courses:

Patient Care and Communication
In order to provide a high level of care for patients and communicate effectively with doctors and other healthcare professionals, one must take courses in anatomy and physiology. A brief course in etiology may also be part of the curriculum. Throughout the course a student will also learn how to prepare patients for exams, take their vital signs, and transport them from one area of the facility to another in a safe manner.

Pharmacology courses are part of most med assistant training programs. During such courses, students will learn essential information about various medications, contraindications, side effects and drug classifications. Although assistants do not prescribe or administer medications, they are often called upon to communicate between doctors and pharmacists, making a basic understanding of pharmacology an essential aspect of training.

Laboratory Procedures
Almost all assistants will be called upon at some point in their career to assist with laboratory procedures. This may include blood work, urinalysis, saliva tests and other diagnostic procedures. For this reason, all medical assistant education programs include at least one course in laboratory procedures.

Cardiopulmonary and Electrocardiography
Many medical assistants are also asked to assist with tests such as EKGs or other diagnostic procedures involving the heart. Under appropriate supervision, students will learn how to assist during cardiopulmonary procedures and how to accurately log the results of such tests in the patient’s chart.

Nutrition and First Aid
Most programs include classes in first aid and nutrition. Prospective medical assistants will learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to properly administer first aid. A brief course in nutrition and dietary procedures is also included in the curriculum.

In addition to the aforementioned courses, students will also take classes in medical ethics and healthcare law. Depending on the type of course in which one enrols in, electives may include psychology, endocrinology, and religion.

There is no doubt that job opportunities in the field of healthcare will increase at a rapid pace throughout the next decade. For this reason, students will find that pursuing medical assistant training is a worthwhile endeavour.