What is an MA in Healthcare and Why You Should Pursue it
If you’re considering a career in healthcare, you may have come across the term “Medical Assistant” or MA. Medical assistants play a vital role in healthcare organizations, working alongside doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to provide patient care. Pursuing an MA in Healthcare can be a smart career move for anyone interested in the healthcare industry. In this article, we will explore the reasons why an MA in Healthcare is a smart career move, the roles and responsibilities of an MA, the curriculum of a typical MA program, and how MAs bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers.
Why Pursuing MA in Healthcare is a Smart Career Move
The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing industries, and the demand for healthcare professionals, including MAs, is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Another advantage of pursuing an MA in Healthcare is that this role offers significant potential for career advancement. MAs can specialize in areas such as ophthalmology, podiatry, or dermatology, among others, based on their interests and skills. Moreover, with experience, MAs can move up to managerial or supervisory roles.
Furthermore, an MA in Healthcare offers an opportunity for personal and professional growth. MAs work with diverse patients and healthcare professionals, developing valuable skills such as effective communication, teamwork, and empathy. These skills can be transferrable to other areas of healthcare or other industries.
The Roles and Responsibilities of an MA in Healthcare Explained
Medical assistants play a crucial role in healthcare organizations, typically working in clinics, hospitals, or private practices. Their duties and responsibilities vary depending on the organization and specialty area. Generally, MAs perform administrative, clinical, and laboratory tasks to ensure smooth patient flow and high-quality patient care.
Administrative tasks performed by MAs may include greeting patients, answering phones, scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, and handling insurance forms.
Clinical tasks performed by MAs may include taking patient history and vital signs, preparing patients for exams, assisting healthcare professionals during exams, drawing blood, administering medication or injections, and providing patient education.
Laboratory tasks performed by MAs may include performing basic lab tests such as blood glucose tests, urinalysis, and pregnancy tests, and preparing specimens for testing by a lab technician.
The importance of MAs in the healthcare system cannot be overstated. MAs serve as a link between the patient and other healthcare professionals, ensuring effective communication and coordination for comprehensive patient care.
Unpacking the Curriculum of an MA in Healthcare Program
MA programs are typically one to two years in duration and lead to a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree. Programs vary based on the institution and state requirements but generally include classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training.
The curriculum of an MA program covers topics such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, clinical procedures, and laboratory techniques. Students learn how to take patient history, measure vital signs, assist providers during exams, draw blood, and administer medication. They also receive training in medical billing and coding, medical ethics, and legal issues in healthcare.
Graduates of an MA program are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to work in various healthcare settings such as pediatric centers, clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.
How an MA in Healthcare can Bridge the Gap between Patient and Provider
As mentioned earlier, MAs serve as a link between patients and healthcare professionals. They play a significant role in ensuring effective communication between patients and providers, which is crucial for comprehensive patient care. MAs may clarify medical instructions, answer patient questions, and provide education about medications, procedures, or test results.
Effective communication facilitated by MAs can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. By providing patients with the necessary information and support, they become more engaged in their care and more likely to adhere to healthcare instructions, leading to better health outcomes.
What You Need to Know Before Applying for an MA in Healthcare Program
If you’re considering pursuing an MA in Healthcare, there are several things you need to know. Admission requirements for MA programs may vary based on the institution but typically include a high school diploma or equivalent. Additionally, some programs may require prerequisite courses in areas such as English, math, and science.
An MA in Healthcare program requires students to possess several skills and attributes, such as attention to detail, empathy, strong communication skills, and computer proficiency. Additionally, MAs need to be able to work in a fast-paced environment, multitask efficiently, and manage their time effectively.
Upon graduation, MAs may seek certification or licensing. While certification is voluntary, many employers prefer or require certified MAs. Certification is available through professional organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Each certifying organization has its eligibility requirements, but generally, candidates need to meet education and experience requirements and pass an examination.
Medical Assistants play a crucial role in healthcare organizations, providing patient care, administrative support, and laboratory testing. Pursuing an MA in Healthcare is a smart career move, given the job outlook, potential for career advancement, and personal and professional growth opportunities. To succeed in this field, you need to possess specific skills and attributes, have a strong educational foundation, and, ideally, pursue certification or licensing. Ultimately, MAs bridges the gap between patients and healthcare providers, helping to ensure high-quality healthcare and positive patient outcomes.