What does it mean to be a medical assistant?

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January 2, 2019
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Medical Assistant - FHCA Orlando

A medical assistant, as described in the Florida statutes, “is a multi-skilled professional dedicated to assisting in all aspects of medical practice, under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. He or she assists in patient care, executes clinical and administrative procedures, and often carries out managerial and supervisory functions.”

He or she must adhere to the legal and ethical standards of medical practice, recognize and respond to emergencies, and demonstrate a professional character. Examples of medical assistant duties are: applying antiseptic procedures, taking vital signs, preparing the patient for the doctor care, giving non-venous injections, obtaining blood samples, observing and reporting the patient’s vital signs and symptoms, administering basic first aid, preparing the patient for examination and treatment, operating medical office equipment, collecting routine laboratory specimens under the doctor direction, administering medications under the physician instructions, carrying out basic laboratory procedures…

Although there is no regulatory board in Florida that issues a license or certification, the entity responsible for overseeing the exercise of all occupations and professions related to health is the Florida Department of Health.

The various organizations that certify or register medical assistants as CMA (Certified Medical Assistant or Registered Medical Assistant) at the national level have different requirements. They all require an academic credentials evaluation of the doctor or foreign health professional, but each certifying organization handles this differently. Some make their own evaluation, others ask to be referred to the evaluation made by an agency chosen by them.

For some, the credentials evaluation result is enough for the person to be eligible to take the medical assistant exam (AAMA CMA Exam – American Association of Medical Assistants) or even to receive the certification directly (especially if it is a doctor or health professional whose program of studies covers what is intended to be in a medical assistant US program). Others require studying all the programs in an accredited academy in the United States and then pass the exam.

The payment to a medical assistant per hour in Florida, for example, ranges between $ 10.40 and $ 18.13, while nationally it ranges from $ 10.36 to $ 20.56, according to the data available from the Department of Labor. The annual salary ranges from $ 21,600 to $ 37,700 and from $ 21,500 to $ 42,800 respectively.