A Career in Medical Assisting
Male or Female Occupation?
By: Danni R., CMA, CCMA, CMAA, FLWD
My name is Danni R, and I am a certified medical assistant and
online educator. I am writing this article to introduce you to an exciting
career in the allied health profession that has existed for quite a long time
but is just recently gaining the attention and recognition it deserves. I am
talking about a career in medical assisting!
What Is A Medical Assistant?
The medical assiatant's career is very rewarding and
versatile; although one can never really predict what may happen next in a busy
office or clinic, one thing is for sure: whether working in the front or back
there never is such a thing as a typical day! Medical assistats perform a wide
variety of tasks or supportive services.
Most medical assistants work in doctor's offices
under the direct supervision of primary care or specialty care physicians where
they frequently interact with patients and other medical professionals. However,
as the medical assistant profession finally gains much deserved recognition more
and more medical assistants are also hired by hospitals, clinics, and outpatient
surgery and renal dialysis centers.
Medical assistants help during patient examinations
and treatment administration in clinical areas. Coordinating ongoing care and
getting people to participate more fully in their own care are two important
goals the medical assistant strives to meet. The medical assistant also plays a
vital role in the medical office's administrative and business areas. The
ability to do it all, clinical as well as administrative tasks, is what sets
them apart from the Licenced Practical Nurse (LPN).
There are more than 50 medical specialties and
subspecialties recognized in the USA. Specialist physicians along with their
medical assisting staff work in clinical, laboratory, or surgical medicine.
Clinical specialists diagnose and treat disease, lab specialists study diseases
and surgical specialists perform or supervise operations. No matter what a
doctor's specialty, you will always find medical assistants working side-by-side
with them, doing their part helping someone get better or saving a live. In any
given specialty, the medical assistant's work could involve anything from
cleaning a wound to adjusting eyeglass frames. Generally, basic knowledge is
gained through specialized education and/or on-the-job training.
Medical assisting is a field full of opportunity for those who
enjoy working side by side with physicians and others in a medical office or
clinic regardless of gender.
However—Where Are The
A study held in June 2003 revealed that male medical assistant
students made up less than ten per cent in courses offering medical assisting
training!Although when asked—men agree that they are interested in becoming a
medical assistant for the same reasons that women do, but surprisingly, when
looking at the statistics, few men actually follow through!
Unfortunately, the root of this controversy lies
deep. Despite of their interest in the profession men have historically been
discouraged to enter the profession by by not offering them the same
opportunities their female counterparts receive.
Correcting Misconceptions To Attract More
Every potential employer begins the selection of
potential candidates and the pre-employment interview with a well-established
system of beliefs about what a medical assistant should look like and earn. It
is their deep-rooted stereotypical misconceptions of a man's ability and
suitability in this field that is hindering their progress and keeping numbers
of men entering the medical assistant profession low.
Wage rates, for example, play an important role when
jobs are being sought and offered. Men in jobs predominately held by women
become victims of pay bias. Relatively low hourly wages and lack of benefits,
such as insurance and retirement plans, especially in smaller medical offices
and clinics, are not attracting or keeping men in those positions.
The persistence of misconceptions plays a role in
almost every walk of life, but it is not only employers who have misconceptions
about men in medical assisting. Educators and the men themselves often cling to
ideas that men who display caring attitudes aren't "real men" and highly
feminized pictures of medical assistants on the job enforce this idea.
To provide men with positive role models, advertising,
videos, graphics and publications should not only feature images of women but
also men performing action-oriented clinical and administrative tasks.
Vocational training and education programs should set enrollment goals for male
students and actively recruit them.
The number of male faculty teaching clinical and
administrative medical assistant curricula should be increased. Misconceptions
that keep men out of the medical assistant profession should be corrected by
accurate information about opportunities, challenges, life-long learning, and
rewards of service to others in medial offices and clinics. If medical assisting is to fulfill its potential of providing quality care in a modern health care system, sincere efforts should be made to attract
and recruit more men.
The Exception: Medical Assistants Wanted—Men Only!
If you are working as a medical assistant on a U.S.
Navy submarine chances are you are a man. At present women cannot serve in
submarines! For that to happen the Navy would have to redesign its submarines to
accommodate their female recruits.
As a U.S. Navy medical assistant on a submarine your
duties would involve medical skills as well as radiation safety and atmosphere
control. You would receive special training in caring for
sick and recovering shipmates who were taken to the sickbay for treatment and
receive extra training covering radiation safety, health physics and atmosphere
control as well as the basic submarine training that every submariner must do,
such as practicing underwater escape. You will be part of a team of medical
assistants who are responsible for the radiological and environmental safety of
the crew and to provide the engineering department with technical advice on the
safe operating parameters of the reactor cooling system.
My name is Danni R., I am a certified medical assistant (CMA, CCMA, and CMAA) and former medical assisting instructor at Porter & Chester Institute, and Branford Hall. I now teach medical assisting skills, medical terminology, and anatomy online classes at UniversalClass.com.
To learn more about me and my work you are invited to visit any of my to ranking Medical Assistant websites at: