Medical assistants are considered generalists in most medical environments. The following scenarios de-scribe how the medical assistant functions as a generalist or multiskilled professional. As you review the scenarios, make note of the many duties the medical assistant performs.
Scenario 1 Debbie is 23 years old. She has been working as a medical assistant for 2 years. She is currently working in a family practice office with two doctors, two other medical assistants, and a medical records clerk. Her role is primarily administrative; she is mainly responsible for phone reception and patient check-in and check-out.
A 29-year-old female patient calls complaining of lower back pain. As Debbie listens to the patient describe her condition, she determines the severity of the patient’s discomfort and schedules a same-day appointment. When the patient arrives at the office, Debbie greets her at the front desk, verifies her address and insurance information, and escorts her to an exam room. After the physician completes the exam, the patient is instructed to see Debbie on the way out. Debbie reviews the patient’s prescriptions and schedules a diagnostic test and laboratory work for the patient at another facility. Debbie then collects the patient co-pay and gives the patient a receipt. After the patient leaves, Debbie prepares the insurance forms for reimbursement and files the patient’s chart.
Scenario 2 Tom is 30 years old. He has been working as a medical assistant for 7 years. He currently works as a clinical medical assistant in an urgent care center that specializes in occupational medicine and basic emergency medicine. He is flexible and works a combination of days, afternoons, and weekends. He normally works with two doctors, two nurses, and four other medical assistants during his shift. The center’s patients usually arrive on a walk-in basis.
A 40-year-old man signs in with the receptionist. She helps the patient complete the necessary forms for the medical chart. After the chart is completed, she places the chart at the clinical station. Tom reviews the medical chart and makes note that the patient, a truck driver, is here for an occupational physical. He obtains the protocol from the trucking company file and verifies the testing requested by the company. He then escorts the patient to an exam room and interviews the patient regarding his medical history. He explains all the testing that will be completed and escorts the patient to the laboratory. Tom collects a urine drug screen, following precise directions, and collects a blood specimen. Tom then per-forms an auditory and visual screening and escorts the patient back to the exam room. The patient is given a gown with instructions on how to put it on. After a few minutes, Tom obtains an EKG on the patient. The patient is now ready for the physical part of the exam, which is performed by the doctor. Tom verifies the information again and gives the chart to the doctor. After the doctor is finished with the exam, Tom returns to the patient, explains how the physical is reported to his employer, and escorts him to the x-ray technician for a chest x-ray. After the patient leaves, Tom completes the paperwork, submits the laboratory work to an outside reference lab, and submits the x-ray to be read by a radiologist.
Scenario 3 Patty begins her day at 5:00 A.M. Her first stop is the reference laboratory, where she collects all the necessary phlebotomy equipment needed to complete the daily visits. She then drives to the first nursing facility on her route, where she is scheduled to collect blood specimens from 10 patients. She re-turns to the lab to drop off the specimens and paperwork, and heads out to her second nursing facility to collect blood specimens. She continues to collect specimens throughout the day and returns to the laboratory at 1:30 P.M. She is given her schedule for the following day.
As you read this chapter, consider the following questions: