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Free up to 3 hours of doctors’ time daily with smart use of MAs

What would you do with three more hours each day? Trained medical assistants (MAs) integrated into your medical practice can free up to three hours of physicians’ time daily—if they take on the right tasks.

Medical assistants are under-utilized in most medical practices, according to Marie Brown, MD, director of practice redesign at the AMA. Dr. Brown is a professor emeritus at Rush University and a practicing physician in internal medicine. She presented tips on recruitment and retention of medical assistants during a recent session that is part of the AMA STEPS Forward™ webinar series that focuses on physician well-being, practice redesign, and implementing telehealth during COVID-19.

The series also provides various toolkits that off real-world solutions, success stories and downloadable resources that address common practice challenges.

Dr. Brown said many of the daily practice tasks that physicians perform do not require a physician’s level of expertise, such as record keeping, medication review, pending routine orders and identifying care gaps. These can be performed by another member of the medical team, such as a medical assistant.

Properly assigned medical assistants can free up to three hours a day from a physician’s schedule by taking some of the administrative and clinical tasks and allow a physician to focus more time on direct interaction with patients, she said.

However, making best use of medical assistants can pose some challenges. Staffing can be difficult, she noted. “There’s just not enough of them. The ideal staffing ratio may be two MAs to every one physician or clinician. But what I hear from around the country is there are not enough assistants to hire.”

Dr. Brown said in order to recruit and retain MAs, practice managers need to understand the various ways employees can become MAs, determine the best role for MAs in a certain practice, make a good business case for MAs in a practice, and then develop a plan to onboard and retain trained MAs.

While MAs generally do not need to be licensed or certified by law, their scope of work and state regulatory requirements vary from state to state and practice to practice. Types of certification include the certified medical assistant (CMA), registered medical assistant (RMA), and certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA).

Medical assistants can qualify in several ways to sit for a certifying exam.

MAs can be involved in pre-appointment agenda setting, documenting the chief complaint and history of present illness, reviewing medications and helping physicians in the exam room. Many MAs around the country—following protocols—help identify care gaps such as a need for a screening mammogram, routine blood tests such as hemoglobin A1c, and pend these orders.

It is important to match individual MA skills to tasks, because training and background varies so widely. Case studies indicate that practices using MAs saw time to provide care go down and patient and physician satisfaction go up—along with revenue, Dr. Brown said.

When you have recruited, trained and integrated an MA into your practice, it is important to develop a plan for continuous professional development and a career progression ladder with different titles, levels and skill sets, she added.

Return on investment increases as MAs progress along a defined career development and job title path, she said. Titles can be simple stages such as MA I, II and III or more descriptive, such as team care coordinator and lead MA.

Pursue your next career as a MA by enrolling today at Sumner College’s Medical Assisting program. Classes start soon.

Content shared from ama-assn.org
How to Manage Your Time In Nursing School

Whether your semester has just begun or your classes are in full swing, it’s never too late to revise your strategy and give your time management approach a reality check. Nursing school can be overwhelming and push you in ways you didn’t know you could be challenged. Getting to the finish line will not be easy but a clear and deliberate plan of action will help you get there unscathed.

TIME EFFICIENCY

In nursing school, everything else becomes secondary to studying. Create a daily and or hourly schedule and stick to it to be the most efficient. An hour by hour plan will help tremendously in keeping you on track to hit your daily milestones. In addition, it will be helpful to get conditioned to studying first before everything else. On days when on site classes are held, commuters should consider staying on campus to complete studying for the day instead of wasting precious time in stop and go traffic. If you stay on campus, avoid trips back and forth between classes to the your room and use small breaks to stick it out in the library. Keep flash cards on hand for quick study breaks when your schedule allows. Downloading audio lectures can be helpful for learning on the go and can be accessed on your headset or in the car. Parents should try to maximize time when children are sleeping or at school and use this time to study also. Lastly use weekends to meal prep, do house chores, prepare for the week and of course study!

STAYING ORGANIZED 

Getting organized can drastically change your nursing school experience for the better and create more time for focused learning.. Allocating specific folders, binders and bags for each class or day of the week will help you tremendously. Printing the syllabi for each course, outlining major deadlines and noting all test and assignment dates can be lifesaving. Large calendars are also great for providing a monthly view of classes, assignments, tests and clinicals. Small planners  can provide a great weekly view of your obligations and phone reminders can be essential. Organization will allow you the space and peace of mind to study. Preparing class and clinical materials ahead of time can be lifesaving.

DEVELOP AN EFFECTIVE STUDY STRATEGY

Undoubtedly, studying is the most time intensive task in nursing school. There’s an exorbitant amount of info to read, digest and retain and seemingly not enough time in the day to tackle it all. Study at times that you are most energized and receptive. Create a dedicated area in your home that’s conducive to studying helps to set the tone and environment for optimal learning that’s free of distractions. It is also  important to master the skill of intaking and dumping information. Unlike your pre-nursing courses, being super detailed oriented could actually work against you in nursing school. After your first test, there should be an analysis of the materials you covered as it relates to what you were actually tested on. Let this information guide your future study habits per course. Your learning style may be auditory or visual; however, most people study best in groups and are able to grasp concepts from peers more concisely. Lastly, grab a few classmates with similar schedules to form a study group and test your knowledge by explaining and teaching one another.

KEEP SOCIAL TO A MINIMUM

“Do what you have to now  so you can do what you want later.” While cliche, the aforementioned expression holds true. Nursing school is no joke and is a real life commitment and sacrifice of time. Depending on the rigidity of your program, you may want to consider minimizing social outings for the duration of your program. This does not mean that you can’t have a life or shouldn’t see your friends and family; however, it does mean you should be doing so a lot less. Remember, self-care is a huge component of keeping your sanity during this challenging time.  Be sure to prioritize time for things that make you happy, recharge your energy and allow you to step away for mental breaks. Schedule your social time in advance to be sure your interactions are not becoming distractions to your focus and productivity. Also, it may not be a bad idea to limit time on social media as well. You can use various apps to track and limit your usage.

ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER

In nursing school you have countless assignments, deadlines, tests and obligations. In this environment a hectic schedule can get the best of them despite proper planning and time management. Therefore, having a human reminder  can really go a long way. Identifying a buddy in the program will be gold and in addition to helping you stay on top of all your deadlines, they can provide moral support and encouragement which can improve your nursing school experience drastically.

Tips and content shared from The Nurse Link

How to Study in Nursing School: 8 Tips from an Expert Nurse Educator

Blog shared from Nurse Jannah’s Osmosis webinar on successful study habits every nursing student should adopt. 

As you’re about to enter into an awesome and powerful field, you’re probably wondering about how to study in nursing school so you won’t get overwhelmed. Adopting smart study habits early on in your education will set you up to be a successful learner, test-taker, and practicing RN. Why not get them right from an expert nurse educator?

Why getting into nursing is a big deal

Did you know that, according to AACN Fact Sheets, nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the United States, with 3x as many RNs as physicians? This really speaks volumes about the big role nurses play in healthcare, but also about the challenging road to becoming one.

Nurses work in so many different settings and are in charge of a lot of things. They collaborate as a team, but they operate independently of medicine or other fields.

No wonder there’s tons of information to master in nursing school!

All of this can be overwhelming and confusing to any student: maybe it’s too much to learn in a short time, or maybe you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you feel like things aren’t sticking to your memory, or you don’t know what to use to learn, with so many resources available.

As our expert nurse educator shares in our Osmosis webinar: “This happens to a lot of us”. Here are 8 key tips that Nurse Jannah recommends on how to best study for nursing school.  

1. Get a head start on your course material

Try to stay ahead of the game before you even have a lecture. Read the chapters or watch videos and get familiar with the content—whatever the preparation looks like, it’s important to do it ahead of time.

The reason is that it’s really hard to catch up with the study in nursing school, as there’s a lot of ground to cover, and it goes by fast.

Some of the material you’ll learn is easier to understand than others, and that’s OK. Putting in the work ahead of a lecture is the most important part, as you teach your brain to set the right foundation for gaining knowledge. And even if you don’t understand everything, you build on that and let the lecture or next piece of learning help fill in the gaps.

Osmosis illustration of a nursing student working to understand the material.

2. Try making concept maps

Instead of going with the classic way of taking notes—highlighting text and rewriting pages of notes—concept maps are one fun and easy way to study for nursing school.

A concept map is a visual representation of knowledge on a subject that helps you to organize your thoughts on it. Besides being much easier, it’s also an efficient way to understand the information (rather than memorizing it).

Start with the topic you want to learn about and, first, build on it with what you learned. After that, use your notes, videos or other resources to fill in the map and get the whole picture of that topic.

Osmosis illustration of a basic concept map.

3. Meet your learning objectives

This is something that probably many often ignored as students, which you definitely shouldn’t. When you stumble upon your learning objectives (LOs), paying attention to them is one smart way to study in nursing school.

Although it seems just like a list, LOs act much like your guide to studying, because they outline exactly what you should be able to do or competently discuss after successfully learning about them. This is a really good guide to follow especially when you have a lot of content and don’t know what you’re supposed to focus on.

You can find more practical and visual examples of these tips in our webinar.

4. Make a schedule (and stick to it)

Another tip Nurse Jannah has for you is making a schedule that really sets you up for success. This means one that is realistic and adjusted to your life, your time, your responsibilities.

There’s no standard timeframe for the best learning, so the key here is to focus on quality rather than quantity. If your daily schedule allows you to study for nursing school two hours in the morning or three hours in the evening, both are fine as long as it’s according to your real attention span.

Another important thing here is to make sure you can stay committed to your schedule for studying just as you commit to other obligations in life, in a practical way. This will keep you accountable as well.

5. Teamwork makes the dream work

Speaking of accountability, another tip on how to study for nursing school the better way is finding a study partner: a friend, a tutor, or joining a study group to keep you connected.

The best thing about study groups is that you can listen to different perspectives while discussing a topic. Actively listening to how other people think and apply knowledge helps you hone your critical thinking skills. This is one important skill to have in nursing school, as you’re taking different tests and answering different types of questions.

Osmosis illustration of students studying together.

6. Find your learning style

Everybody learns differently: some students are visual learners—and Osmosis makes that easy with 1800+ animated videos for you!—while others learn better by listening to lectures or doing hands-on activities.

Try to practice a bit of self-reflection to discover your learning style and find resources that represent it, as primary learning tools. The earlier you discover how you learn best, the easier it becomes to study and not waste your time the wrong way.

7 Practice, practice, practice

Of course, it is also about practicing NCLEX®-style questions during nursing school. Not only it challenges you to apply all the knowledge you gain, but also your ability to think at a high level and analyze data in different ways.

NCLEX®-style questions are unlike any other type of questions you’re used to seeing, which is why practicing them helps to reinforce your understanding of a concept and prepares you for the final exam: the licensure examination.

Osmosis illustration of a nursing student studying contentedly.

8. Don’t forget the basics

Understanding the basics is the biggest starting point in your studying. You need to have a solid understanding of foundational sciences first, such as anatomy and physiology, because all the knowledge you learn in nursing school is based on these and it’s also what makes learning more complex concepts along the way much easier.

And finally… you got this!

And don’t forget to watch the full webinar here: Study for Success: Habits Every Nursing Student Should Adopt.

Osmosis illustration of Nurse Jannah offering nurses encouragement on their nursing journey.
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Content shared from Osmosis

Public Health Nursing 101

In an era of increasing challenges for public health, nurses have the potential to make a dramatic difference. The American Public Health Association defines public health nursing as, “the practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations using knowledge from nursing, social, and public health sciences”.1

 

As individuals, nurses directly influence the health and wellbeing of patients every day. Through frequent contact, nurses are best placed to encourage lifestyle changes in communities and offer education on healthy living – particularly to the most vulnerable in society.

Uniting to improve public health

By working together, nurses can make a great impact on public health as a whole. The American Nurses Association (ANA) builds on individual nurse contributions to public health, by supporting policy, advocacy, and education at the highest levels. These areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

Preparing nurses for public health crises

Nurses must be prepared to respond directly to public health crises; from outbreaks of disease to natural disasters. ANA keeps nurses up-to-date on emerging public health issues, to help nurses to make the most informed treatment decisions.

ANA has supported nurses’ work with resources on:

Public health nursing’s scope and standards of practice

ANA empowers nurses to perform to the full extent of their expertise, for the benefit of public health. By facilitating the review and revision of public health nursing’s scope and standards of practice, ANA ensures that nursing responsibilities evolve at the same pace as the demands of public health.

The Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations

ANA supports the work of the Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations (CPHNO), which strives to improve the health of communities through excellence in nursing education, practice, leadership, and research.2 Its membership has changed since it was established in the early 1980s, and now includes:

The goals of the CPHNO are to create innovative models for public health nursing practice; identify and support the emerging roles of public health nurses; and to develop leadership skills for public health nurses at all levels.

Recent ANA actions for public health

Take more action

Want to know more about public health nursing?  Contact any of the above Quad Council associations. If you’re interested in obtaining the Advanced Public Health Nursing-Board Certified (APHN-BC) credential, visit the ANCC Certification section to learn about the assessment method for ANCC board certification.

References

1American Public Health Association, Public Health Nursing Section. (2013). The definition and practice of public health nursing: a statement of the public health nursing section. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

2 Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations. (2011). Quad Council competencies for public health nurses. Retrieved 3/24/16 at www.achne.org/files/quad%20council/quadcouncilcompetenciesforpublichealthnurses.pdf

Article shared from the American Nurses Association

 

Four Ways to Become a Standout Nursing Student
How to Calm Student-Nurse Jitters

Clinical education can make even the most confident student nurse jittery. Calm your anxiety with these tips.

When it’s time to trade mannequins and simulations for real patients, even the most confident student nurse can get a case of the jitters.

Many RNs-to-be worry not only about acing their clinical skills but also about getting along with patients and hospital personnel. “I tell students who are [starting their clinical education] that they really know more than they think they do, and that they actually can do the things they were trained to do,” says Susan Bankston, a senior at the University of Texas (UT) School of Nursing at Houston.

Try these tips to overcome your anxiety:

Realize You’re Normal

Even experienced nurses were once nervous students. “Every nurse starts out in exactly the same place feeling the exact same way,” says Donna Cardillo, RN, a career coach and author of Your First Year as a Nurse. She recommends asking more advanced students how far they’ve come since their first patient encounters and meeting with fellow students to vent and share experiences. “This gives you the sense that everybody has to go through it and makes you more comfortable,” she says.

Be Conscientious

Careful preparation may not completely banish your nervousness, but it will keep you busy so you won’t have time to stew. Perfect each skill in the clinical lab before attempting it in the hospital, says Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and executive associate dean at the UT School of Nursing at Houston.

Do your homework the night before meeting patients so you’re familiar with their care. If you’re shy, practice what you plan to say when entering a room, Sherwood advises. Bankston recommends getting plenty of rest the night before your clinical debut and allowing yourself ample time to get to the facility you’ll be working at.

Act Professionally

The basic rules of any workplace apply to students gaining hospital experience. Be friendly, make eye contact, and introduce yourself to patients and other health professionals, Cardillo recommends. Don’t expect all nurses to be talkative or helpful; they may be overburdened and stressed from staffing shortages or other difficulties.

“Take the initiative to help,” she suggests. “Offer to get supplies or turn a patient. If you’re friendly and helpful, people will want to be friendly and helpful to you.”

Other healthcare professionals will come to appreciate an eager student. “If you’re willing to do some of the dirty work that will alleviate their workloads, they’ll love you,” Bankston says.

Lean on Others

Acting professionally also means asking for help when you need it. Many students are relieved to learn that they’ll have a great deal of supervision and provide very little care independently during their first semester of clinicals. “There are lots of checks and balances in the care process, including the clinical instructor and other nurses,” Sherwood says. Clinical instructor styles may range from motherly to tough, Cardillo says, but all are there to answer questions and help shape you into a capable nurse.

Show You Care

The nursing school adage of “the patient doesn’t care how much you know, the patient wants to know how much you care” is generally true, Bankston says. Although Bankston fumbled the first few times she took a temperature or blood pressure, patients were usually tolerant. “Patients want to know that someone cares about them and is listening to them,” she says. Cardillo adds that patients also expect a student nurse to be as courteous and respectful of their privacy as any other nurse.

Persevere

A little queasiness is normal when nursing students begin working with real flesh and blood. “I’ve gotten emails from students saying, ‘I thought I was going to throw up when I was doing a certain skill. Does that mean I shouldn’t be a nurse?'” Cardillo says. “Most nurses get over their queasiness or learn to work around it.”

However, do try to downplay your skittishness if possible. “You don’t want to look too nervous in front of patients, because it will make them jumpy,” says Fay Bower, RN, DNSc, FAAN, chair of the Holy Names University Department of Nursing in Oakland. “Some skills are scarier than others, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be pretty good at it.”

Learn more Nursing Tips:
5 Key Stats About Medical Assistants

Medical assistants are critical to healthcare teams. The changing landscape of healthcare has expanded the role of this profession, which is why training and certification is so important.

With healthcare evolving constantly, it’s not always helpful to look back and it can be challenging to predict the future. But we can gain insights by studying the present.

So, what’s happening right now? The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) surveyed 197 medical assistant employers to find out. Here are five key stats they discovered. (For more, be sure to download the full PDF summary in the link below that is shared from the NHA original blog. 

46% of employers say medical assistants play more than one role in their organization

Medical assistants wear many hats. This shift may be attributed to the transition from a solo assistant to the provider to that of a highly valued, integral clinical team member. As more healthcare organizations shift to team-based care models, medical assistants are often a central part of the team, playing the role of a flow manager, running team huddles, preplanning patient visits and completing various health screenings.

medical assistants are responsible for performing advanced skills

medical assistants have more responsibility this year compared to last35% of employers believe that medical assistants have more responsibility this year compared to last

Taking on more roles also means more responsibilities. Some of the top skills needed include phone screening/triage, medical scribing, and health coaching. Medical assistants are being asked to work at the top of their license, freeing up providers to perform tasks that only they can.

 

Certification is the No. 1 criteria employers look for in medical assistant candidates

72% of employers said that when reviewing job applicants, certification was a screening criteria—more than any other criteria listed. Certification proves to employers that you have the knowledge and skills the job demands. Certification may also be required for certain job opportunities. Learn more about Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA).

 

Professionalism, verbal communication, and critical thinking are the most important soft skills desired by employers

As the role of medical assistant is elevated, soft skills become increasingly important. Two of the most important soft skills identified by employers—professionalism and critical thinking—are also identified as those most lacking in medical assistants. If you’re in the field, or considering starting a career as a medical assistant, you have a great opportunity to develop these skills and help advance your career opportunities. NHA has professional development opportunities for current certification holders!

Most important and most lacking soft skills in medical assistants

On average, a medical assistant interacts with 16 patients per day

They also interact with an average of 4.3 providers. This high level of both patient and provider interaction makes soft skills like communication key. Medical assistants often record vital signs, take medical history, administer medications and injections, and handle many other tasks working directly with patients. If you’re a “people person” — medical assisting is a great career path for you! Those who make patients feel comfortable can shine in this position.

Download the Industry Outlook “Understanding the Journey to Career Success”  Link

 

Learn more about becoming a Medical Assistant today:

VANTAGE POINT The Role of Medical Assistants: Growth, Opportunity & Challenge

Article written by and shared from the National Healthcareer Association – July 2021

The field of medical assisting is on an upswing. Job postings per medical assistant (MA) completion more than doubled between 2011 and 2014, and the faster-than-average employment growth is likely to continue over the next decade.1,2

Healthcare system redesign strategies, which encourage providers to work at the top of their licenses, are opening up opportunities for medical assistants to engage in higher-level responsibilities, driving greater job satisfaction amongst medical assistants working in these roles.3

And some healthcare employers are now offering signing bonuses and career laddering opportunities to attract and keep medical assistants in their organizations. Despite positive growth trends, there are some challenges that make this a pivotal moment for the profession.

Employment outlook for medical assistants

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 23% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, which are expected to grow around seven percent.2

Not only are employment opportunities growing, but the number of MA completions is declining—further growing job opportunities for medical assistants.

Davene Yankle, nurse manager of clinical development for the Ohio Health Physician’s Group, said her organization is seeing MA shortages. “We are seeing a shortage in both primary care practices (PCPs) and specialty practices. Due to shortages, specialty practices are using administrative assistants in place of MAs, and in orthopedics we are using athletic trainers in place of MAs. In PCP areas, we are hiring more LPNs when we can find them.”

Pamala Smith, BSN, vice president chief nursing executive with Advocate Medical Group, said that they are also experiencing a shortage of medical assistants. “There are greater challenges in recruiting experienced medical assistants,” said Smith.

While MA shortages are beneficial for those seeking employment, the shortages do create challenges for employers. What can employers do to both find and retaingood MAs?

Employers can often increase the number of MA candidates they receive by partnering with schools in the following areas:

  • Student mentoring programs
  • Advisory panel participation
  • Performing mock interviews on students during capstone classes
  • Being an active participant in the school’s externship program

Partnering with an educational institution provides both students and employers with an opportunity to get to know each other and offers an edge to employer partners. Not only can employers increase their candidate pool, but they have an opportunity to interact with some of the program’s best candidates.

When experience is essential, working with medical staffing organizations and posting openings on web advertising sites can be beneficial. Offering signing bonuses, competitive salaries and career laddering opportunities will increase the number and quality of applicants, and help in employee retention.

Trends affecting MA job growth

The driver behind MA job growth – and the reason growth will continue–is an increased demand for access to care and industry trends which are changing the role of the MA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths each year and treating people with chronic disease accounts for 86 percent of our nation’s healthcare spending.10 In efforts to reduce health care spending, emerging payment models such as Value-Based Purchasing (pay for performance) offer providers financial incentives for meeting particular health measures and reducing healthcare costs.11 Greater access to care and early intervention is a central theme in value based care models, which places greater burdens on the healthcare team to see larger numbers of patients and to interact more with patients between visits.

Increased demand for access to care

Trends requiring greater access to medical care include:

• Innovations and new treatments
• An aging population
• An increase in the numbers of patients with chronic diseases associated with obesity
• The Affordable Care Act

Advances in treatments and technology are allowing patients to live longer and healthier lives. Survival rates for diseases like cancer and heart attacks have greatly improved.

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer deaths fell 23% from its peak in 1991 to 2012.4 From 2003 to 2013 the death rate for coronary heart disease fell about 38%.5

The number of Americans over the age of 65 will increase by 17 million by 2025. Individuals over the age of 65 use much more healthcare than average — approximately three times that of a working-age person.1

Obesity is a major and growing problem that will increase the need for access to healthcare. The healthcare costs of obesity are expected to rise by $550 billion over the next two decades. More than one-third (34.9 percent or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are considered obese. By 2030, the problem is expected to be much worse: 42 percent of Americans will be obese, with 11 percent being severely obese (around 100 pounds overweight).6, 7 Obesity is a major contributor to chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

The Affordable Care Act has increased the need for access to healthcare and demand for services; 16.3 million Americans gained health insurance coverage from 2013 to 2015 .8,9 Though this act may be affected by the Trump administration, access to care will most likely be a priority issue in any replacement legislation.

The changing role of the MA

Almost all new trends in healthcare favor medical assistants as work shifts from higher-paid, higher- credentialed practitioners to lower-level, lower-cost practitioners, including the MA.1 Medical assistants have traditionally worked in support positions in ambulatory care environments, performing limited clinical and administrative tasks. However, theMA’s role is transitioning from a solo assistant to the provider to that of a highly valued, integral clinical team member.

Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have adopted a team-based care (TBC) approach in response to new payment models. In these environments, teams made up of providers, nurse case managers, medical assistants and other allied health professionals work collaboratively to help patients meet health goals. Providers are often encouraged to work at the top of their license, freeing up providers to do tasks only they can do. In turn, a cascading “top-of-license” or “abilities” approach flows throughout the rest of the team – including medical assistants.

Examples of ways that medical assistants can work at the top of their credential include stepping into the role of a flow manager, running team huddles, preplanning patient visits and completing various health screenings. Some organizations are now considering their most experienced medical assistants for the roles of a scribe, health coach, patient navigator, population health manager and patient care coordinator.

As medical assistants broaden their skill set, there will be significant pressure to perform at a higher level in the areas of professionalism, informatics and performing clinical tasks.

Elizabeth Thompson, medical practice administrator, Indiana University Health – Southern Indiana Physicians, believes that professionalism amongst MAs is increasing as a result of expanded roles in her organization. “The expectations are higher, and medical assistants are meeting these. As medicine moves to be more Lean, medical assistants understand that their role is vital because they are not as expensive as LPN/ RNs, but very vital to making ambulatory patient care work well,” said Thompson.

A time to shine

This is a unique period for medical assistants. Job opportunities are surging and the role of the medical assistant is expanding.

However, it is also a time in which organizations are sizing up medical assistants. Many organizations that either haven’t used medical assistants in the past or haven’t used medical assistants in expanded roles are experimenting to see if medical assistants are a good fit for their company.

Conversely, due to MA staffing shortages, companies are also experimenting with using other healthcare professionals to fill roles.

How can medical assistants answer the call during this great time of opportunity? MAs must work on skills and traits that are valuable to employers and patients. Pamala Smith said essential traits for medical assistants include “excellent customer service which ties into patient safety, the ability to multitask, being proficient with the EMR, and having good time management, the ability to think critically, being a self-directed learner, and the ability to effectively hand off if asked to do something out of your scope.”

Thompson agreed that modern MAs must show their worth on multiple levels. “MAs can show that they meet expectations by being reliable, thorough, safe, and in general, providing support through day-to-day patient care as well as specialized care, such as teaching, performing medication reconciliation, becoming an EMR super user and precepting,” she said.

In conclusion, recognition of medical assistants is at an all- time high and the role of medical assistants is expanding. As we enter this new era of healthcare, now is the time for medical assistants to shine. Now is the time for medical assistants to demonstrate they are up for the challenge by exuding professionalism and being committed to helping patients achieve their healthcare goals. Now is the time for medical assistants to validate their knowledge by becoming certified and investing in continuing education opportunities. Now is the time to pave a better path and better salaries for future medical assistants by earning the gift of today’s open doors.

References

  1. The Medical Assisting Education Market Report, © Gray Associates September 2015. As seen in NHA’s whitepaper, Medical Assisting: Opportunities and Requirements for Growth.
  2. Medical Assistants: Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved fromhttp://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-6
  3. HealthCare, P. Patient-centered medical home: The Evolving Role of the Medical Assistant. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www.partners.org/Innovation-And-Leadership/Population-Health-Management/Stories/Role-Medical-Assistant-Video.aspx
  4. Simon, S. (2016, January 7). Cancer Statistics Report: Death Rate Down 23% in 21 Years. Retrieved fromwww.cancer.org/cancer/news/cancer-statistics-report-death-rate-down-23-percent-in-21-years
  5. A Sea Change in Treating Heart Attacks. The New York Times. (June 21, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/health/saving-heart-attack-victims-stat.html?_r=0
  6. Prevalence of Obesity in the U.S., 2011-2012. Obesity. The Journal of The American Medical Association. Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832542
  7. Linking Obesity and Health Care. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2012/05/21/11514/linking-obesity-and-health-care
  8. American Community Survey, Health Insurance Coverage Status, 1-Year Estimates 2009-2014.
  9. National Health Interview Survey, Early Release Program. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/insur201511.pdf
  10. CDC. (November 14, 2016). Chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Retrieved January 18, 2017 fromhttps://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/
  11. Collaborating for Value; A Winning Strategy for Health Plans and Providers in a Shared Risk Environment. (2016). Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://www.intersystems.com/assets/Winning_Strategy-_for_Health_Plans_and_Providers_in_a_Shared_Risk_Environment.pdf

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Learn more about becoming a Medical Assistant at Sumner College:
Medical Assisting – Huge Potential Job Growth

According to a recent US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Medical Assisting is a career poised for amazing job growth in the coming years. If you are a high school student thinking about what career to pursue, consider Medical Assisting.

Medical assisting is one of the nation’s careers growing much faster than average for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The demand for medical assistants is driving this expansion. Employers are seeking and recruiting these allied health professionals because of their uniquely diverse clinical and administrative training.

As the number of medical assistants grows, so does the recognition of their value in the marketplace.

The BLS also reports median annual wages in its employment projections for occupations with the most job growth.

 

Learn more about Medical Assisting jobs:

What Does a Certified Nurse Midwife Do?

CNMs work in a variety of practice settings including hospitals, community clinics, and birthing centers. While their primary role centers on women’s healthcare during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, CNMs provide primary care, gynecological care, and family planning services for women throughout their reproductive years and menopause. Some CNM responsibilities are listed below:

Primary Responsibilities

  • Provide prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care to women and monitor newborns
  • Offer assessment, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Treat both males and females for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Offer education and counseling in health promotion and disease prevention

Skills Learned

  • Patient care for all aspects of pregnancy, labor, and delivery
  • Communication and leadership skills
  • Technological proficiency
  • Patience and compassion

CNMs must earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees, acquire an RN license, and obtain national certification and licensure in the state where they intend to practice.

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What is a Medical Assistant (MA) Salary?

Medical assistants work in essential entry-level positions in the healthcare industry. They handle different tasks, including administrative duties like filling out patient paperwork, coding insurance forms, scheduling appointments, and organizing lab testing. MAs also take on clinical tasks, such as performing basic lab tests, changing wound dressings, or preparing patients for x-rays.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual medical assistant salary reached $34,800 as of May 2019. With over 680,000 MAs in the field, salaries vary considerably by employer and location.

Individuals interested in learning more about entry-level positions in the healthcare field, can find more information here. Read on to learn more about the medical assistant job outlook and salary potential.

 

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Reasons to Be a Medical Assistant

If you’re looking to start your career in the healthcare sector, why not consider getting your medical assistant certification? With quick training, lucrative salaries, and excellent job growth, this allied health profession is an excellent route for people who are new to healthcare or who already have hands-on experience.

1. This Is a Quick Certification That Pays Well

While there are no formal requirements to work as a medical assistant, most employers prefer applicants to be certified medical assistants. Completing a medical assisting program or associate degree is often a necessity to get hired.

But instead of, say, a surgeon going to school for more than 15 years, medical assistant classes usually take less than a year..

2. This Career Makes a Difference

Well-trained and professional medical assistants make a massive difference in a patient’s hospital or clinic experience. On any given day, a medical assistant might administer medicine, help patients navigate complex insurance policies, and prep patients for examinations.

MAs often cite this wide range of responsibilities for why they’re proud to be part of this field.

4.  Won’t Break the Bank

Unlike university programs, medical assistant students aren’t required to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

Whether you opt for an MA certificate program (which takes 7.5 months at Sumner College) or a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree, you’ll be paying substantially less than what a 4-year (or medical) degree would cost.

5. Learn with Exciting and Applicable Classes

MAs are unique in that they straddle the line between administration and treatment. During medical assistant classes, students will study physiology, patient care, sterilization techniques, and basic pharmacology. Classroom lessons on administrative tasks like insurance, HIPAA compliance, and medical billing and coding are equally important.

6. Continue Your Education Later on

Students who pursue a two-year associate degree program will be required to complete general education courses. While they may seem unnecessary for a quick entry into the medical industry, it’s a practical option for anyone contemplating on continuing their education in the future.

After several years of working, you may end up enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program. Some of these associate degree credits can be transferred instead of starting from scratch.

7. There Isn’t One Standard Working Day

The medical assistant job description is so varied that it’s impossible to be bored during your shifts. On any given day, you could be speaking with an insurance agency, drawing blood, managing the front desk, or helping take patient’s vital signs.

Medical assistants are trained to carry out a wide range of duties and are expected to step in where they’re needed the most.

8. Varied Working Environments

Some people like the fast pace of a surgical ward, general medical hospital, or trauma center. Others may prefer the quieter vibe of a private physician’s office. Smaller practices tend to rely on their medical assistants to handle both administrative and clinical duties, while MAs at larger practices and hospitals tend to focus on one set.

Whichever location you choose, you’ll be able to find one that fits your personality.

9. A Great Launchpad into the Medical Industry

In the medical world, experimenting with different career paths is a high-stakes game. Training as a nurse or a doctor takes incredible time and effort, and it’s not unheard of for medical professionals to dislike the field they’ve chosen.

Why not start with a job that allows you to experience the widest range of duties possible? Medical assistants can decide whether patient care or medical administration is more their speed, and many go back to school to gain their nursing degree or become a certified medical biller.

If you’re ready for more responsibility, many medical assistants move onto careers like sonography, nursing, and hospital management.

10. How Much Do Medical Assistants Make? You’d Be Surprised!

For a career that doesn’t require a 4-year degree, these healthcare professionals have great income opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a medical assistant was $33,610 in 2018.

Some states (like Alaska, Washington DC, and Minnesota) pay far more than $40,000 per year. Just like any other career, your income comes down to credentials and location. No matter how you slice it, medical assistants are some of the best paid healthcare professionals out there.

 

 

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