Medical assistants are a vital part of any healthcare team. By performing the routine but essential tasks around a physician’s office, they free up doctors and nurses to see more patients and perform complex procedures. Medical assistants are often the patient’s first point of contact during an appointment, taking a patient’s medical history or making sure the patient is comfortable and prepared for the procedure. They will take vital signs and give patients any injections requested by the physician. Medical assistants also perform laboratory work, such as preparing blood samples for tests, and administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and taking calls. The vast majority of medical assistants work in physicians’ offices. Smaller percentages may find work in other ambulatory healthcare facilities, hospitals, or educational institutions. There are some avenues open for medical assistants who wish to specialize in certain areas, including administrative, laboratory, optometry, or podiatry work. Successful medical assistants are responsible for pursuing this training themselves, as it is not included in LBCC’s course of study. In order to function as an effective medical assistant, students must have strong communication skills, as they will be interacting with patients and physicians on a daily basis. They need to be able to discuss medical information clearly and confidently, setting a worried or pained patient at ease. Medical assistants must be self-directed, but also able to work as an effective team member. They should have a sharp mind to recognize details and analyze information, as well as good technical skills to operate computers and other medical equipment. More basically, they must be prepared for the physical requirements of this job. Medical assistants will spend a large part of their day on their feet, often lifting and carrying heavy objects. They must have the manual dexterity to perform detailed tasks and sufficient vision and hearing acuity to recognize signs of potential problems or patient distress. Finally, they must have the desire to work quickly and productively in this rewarding field. If you think a job as a medical assistant is in your future, use the links at the side to continue the program orientation.