Medical assistants help other medical staff with various tasks in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, private clinics, and outpatient centers. They play an essential role in keeping the healthcare system running smoothly and effectively.
Some of their job duties include taking patient vitals, answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, and maintaining accurate patient information in the electronic health record.
Medical assistants usually work full-time schedules of around 40 hours per week. They typically work five, eight-hour shifts or three, 12-hour shifts.
This article will go over what a typical work day is like for a medical assistant along with some places where they work.
Typical Medical Assistant Hours & Work Day
Full-time and part-time work schedules may be available for medical assistants, however, most medical assistants work full-time. They typically work around 40 hours per week. It is also important to note that their daily schedule will vary depending on where they work.
Medical assistants that work in a private practice, for example, may work from 8 am to 5 pm. If they work in an emergency department or urgent care clinic, they may work overnight shifts or on weekends and holidays.
The weekly schedule of medical assistants can be divided in several ways. Two common schedules are five, eight-hour shifts per week or three, 12-hour shifts. Because patients will need care any day of the week, medical assistants may also work on weekends. Overtime is also possible.
In addition, medical assistants may choose to arrive earlier to work so they have more time to get everything in order before patients arrive. They may also stay later so that they can finish tasks, such as restocking supplies, completing patient charts, and processing paperwork.
Sample Medical Assistant Work Day Schedule
Because appointment schedules are usually jam-packed, medical assistants will work with many patients during a typical shift. They will need to work quickly and efficiently as they perform their job duties.
They can expect to perform both administrative and clinical tasks throughout their shift. Depending on their workplace, they may focus more of their attention on one or the other.
Here is an example of what the work day of a medical assistant working in a hospital would look like:
- 8 am: Arrive at the hospital
- 8 am to 9 am: Check-in with coworkers, review the day’s schedule, prepare exam rooms for patient care
- 9 am to 10:15 am: Take patient vitals, review patient history, schedule appointments, assist morning patients
- 10:15 am to 10:30 am: Morning break
- 10:30 am to 12:30 pm: Answer phone calls, work with billing and insurance
- 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm: Lunch break
- 1:00 pm to 3 pm: Check-in with coworkers, take patient vitals, review patient history, schedule appointments, assist afternoon patients
- 3:30 pm to 3:45 pm: Afternoon break
- 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm Answer phone calls, work with billing and insurance, complete patient charts
- 4:45 pm to 5:00 pm: Debrief with coworkers, clean and restock exam rooms
- 5:00 pm: Finish shift
Common Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job duties of a medical assistant can be divided into two categories: clinical and administrative. Clinical tasks involve assisting other medical staff with various aspects of patient care. Administrative tasks involve office work such as maintaining accurate patient records and scheduling appointments. Some people, called medical administrative assistants, only work on administrative tasks.
Clinical Duties of a Medical Assistant
Clinical duties involve working closely with physicians and other healthcare staff to provide patient care. Some of these clinical duties include:
- Taking patient vitals, such as blood pressure, weight, and pulse
- Reviewing patient health history
- Assisting physicians with certain medical procedures
- Collecting and preparing specimens for laboratory analysis
- Restocking supplies in the exam room
- Communicating with patients regarding care
Administrative Duties of a Medical Assistant
Administrative duties help keep the healthcare system running smoothly and effectively. Some of these administrative tasks include:
- Making and answering phone calls
- Checking and responding to messages
- Greeting and directing patients in the waiting room
- Maintaining accurate patient records
- Working with billing and insurance
- Scheduling appointments
- Helping patients fill out paperwork
>> Read More: Skills Required to be a Medical Assistant
Where Medical Assistants Work
One of the biggest perks of working as a medical assistant is the ability to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings. Some of these workplace environments include physician private practices, hospitals, and outpatient facilities.
They may also work in more specialized environments such as optometry offices, chiropractic offices, and podiatry offices.
The work schedule of a medical assistant will vary depending on where they are employed.
Medical assistants who work in a physician private practice generally have a more regular schedule. For example, they may work from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays. In addition, they may enjoy a more relaxed working pace because they generally see fewer patients.
In contrast, medical assistants who work in a larger healthcare facility, like a hospital, may work more variable schedules. For example, they may work overnight shifts or during weekends. In addition, they generally experience a busier working pace because of the large number of patients they see.
Optometry offices and chiropractic offices also tend to have more regular work schedules than settings such as hospital emergency rooms or urgent care clinics.
>> Read More: Common Places Where Medical Assistants Work
Other Medical Assistant Career Resources
Here are some of our other medical assistant resources that can help you learn more about a career as an MA:
- How to Become a Medical Assistant
- Average Medical Assistant Salary
- How Long It Takes to Become a Medical Assistant
- Deciding if a Medical Assistant Career is Right for You
- Types of Medical Assistants
- Medical Assistant Certifications
>> Learn About Stepful’s 4-Month Online Medical Assistant Program