You have successfully passed your interview. The potential employer calls you to let you know you have the job. The job is for a clinical medical assistant in a pediatric office.

But, what can you expect when the job begins?  This article will address all of the expected responsibilities of a pediatric medical assistant.

Prepping for Pediatric Medical Assistant

Pediatrics is a special field. You will work with babies, toddlers, adolescents and teens plus the parents. You will be the one that spends more time with the patient. You will prepare them for the doctor. Do your best to make the patient and parents comfortable.

When bringing the patient back, present yourself by stating your name and title to the parent and to the child. The confidence of the child needs to be gained. Talk to the child and make sure he or she understands what you are going to do. Let the child touch the stethoscope or listen to your heartbeat. The little things will be remembered by the children.

The vitals needed are temperature, weight, height and blood pressure (if age appropriate). Depending on the type of checkup, you may have to do a hematocrit or urinalysis. All information is recorded. Make sure you get all of the information needed for the doctor and record either on the computer or in the paper chart. The last pediatrician I worked for still used paper charts. Most offices are establishing EMR (electronic medical records), especially multi-doctor practices.

Being Knowledgeable of the Pediatric Routines

You should prepare yourself before starting in a pediatric office. Check on-line at the American Academy of Pediatrics. There are many helpful articles on this site. Be sure to review vitals needed when taking a patient back. Look on-line at the immunizations and ages they are needed.

Go to the center for Disease Control to find review the vaccine schedules. These are overwhelming when you first see them and how many they have to receive. I always had a copy of immunization schedules in my pocket until I learned them. They will become easier the more you do. Some hints on how to become familiar with pediatric issues:

  • Research common childhood illnesses and diseases to become familiar with them. You will see a lot of these on a daily basis such as colds, ear infections, sore throat, croup, asthma, head lice, ADHD and RSV.
  • Learn the developmental stages of infants and children. Review what is expected at each stage of childhood development.

Qualities of a Pediatric Medical Assistant

  • Understand the developmental of children.
  • Make the patient feel special. Learn their names and something they like. This way, the next time they come in, they will be impressed you remembered them.
  • Make their visit enjoyable. Joke with them. Do not just go through the boring motions without any interaction.
  • Take their mind off of scary procedures. Involve them in conversation about one of their hobbies. This will help to distract them.
  • Listen to parent and child. Even though it seems like a casual conversation, some elements may help the doctor in treating the patient.
  • Be patient with your patient. Understand that the child may be scared. It will be up to you to make the visit as comfortable as you can.
  • Dress professional. Wear clean uniforms with pleasant patterns, children prefer the cartoon characters. They relate well with these. Make sure your hygiene is good. No heavy perfumes or lotions. Light scents are more pleasant.
  • Plain jewelry is much better than flashy jewelry. No dangling earrings. Small hoops or posts are much better.
  • If you are comfortable with yourself, you will be comfortable with others. Happy and outgoing people make great pediatric medical assistants.
  • Educate parents. This plays a vital role in pediatrics. The more parents become educated, the better they will be in helping to prevent some of the illnesses their children have. Distribute pamphlets provided by your office.

Responsibilities of a PMA

A pediatric medical assistant is most likely to work in a pediatric office. However, there are other jobs for pediatric medical assistants. If a hospital has a children’s ward, medical assistants could work in this type of surrounding. Some of the duties may be a little different.

There are daily routines in the pediatric office. When you first arrive, make sure everything is turned on: lights, phones, computers and printers. Prepare new sign in sheets for the day. Make sure all charts are pulled for the day’s schedule. All quality controls will be checked each day. Write results in log. Check refrigerator temperatures and record. These will also be checked at the end of the day. Do daily inventory of vaccines on hand. Order more if needed. Most assign a day to order lab, office and vaccine supplies. Check all of the rooms and make sure they are stocked for the day. Such items will be tongue blades, ear speculums, gloves, alcohol and cotton. Forms for obtaining labs and x-rays. Once everything is checked, you are ready to begin your day.

During the day, you will be responsible for checking patients in, copying insurance cards and taking them back. You are the one that takes vitals, does lab work and assisting the doctor. This may include setting up nebulizer treatments, drawing blood, swabbing throat or wound care. Many things can arise during the day, just be prepared.

Training and Salary

Certified medial assistant training can be done at a 2-year program. There are tech schools that offer quicker programs, however most doctors prefer the 2-yr training. It is more in depth and you will be able to get medical assistant certification versus a registered medical assistant. The school must be accredited in order for you to earn an Associate of Science Degree.

Jobs are available in offices and hospitals for one wanting to pursue a career in pediatric medical assisting. Salaries of a pediatric medical assistant usually start out at $25,000 to $30,000 per year. It depends what state you live in. The salary quoted is for KY.

Make the Most of Your Job

Continuing education is always a plus. The healthcare field is rapidly changing; you need to keep up with the change. Any classes offered in pediatric medical assisting should be taken. I have seen many changes in the medical assisting field since I became a medical assistant in 2007. 

Aspirating with vaccines is not taught now. It was discovered that damage to the tissue could be done with aspirating. CPR has been revised – compressions are better than two breaths in between. New medicine and vaccines come out weekly. HIPPA and OSHA show changes also.

Keep the manuals up to date. They may pop in at any time. Medical assistants may be responsible for keeping everything in the office up to date. The SDS book will need to be updated regularly.

Be aware of your surroundings and aim for what you want out of a career. To me, the pediatric medical assistant is a special person who enjoys her work and people. It is the most rewarding to have the children run to you when they come into the office. This means you have done your job well. The children are not scared to come into the office. It is completely the opposite; they love their doctor’s office. I only wish it had been like this when I was a child.

Enjoy your work! No matter what area you choose after school, you need to make sure it is the field you want to be in. Burn out will not happen if the job you choose is not the one you want.

Before you graduate from the school, make sure you have researched different fields. You may be surprised at the outcome. There is a guidance counselor that would be more than happy to assist you with any leads for interviews. Use what is available to you.

Be a go-getter when it comes to pediatric medical assisting. Put your foot in the door and make sure each interviewer remembers you in a good way. You may not get the job the first time, but if you are remembered, you may get the job later. When you leave a job, make sure you take the proper steps.

It is always better to leave under good terms. Your employer will give you a good recommendation and may even hire you back if the need arises. Never talk bad of your employers to other potential employers. This makes you look bad. If you do leave under bad circumstances, be honest with why at your interviews.

The final words are to take pride in the job you do. If you take pride, it will show in your work and in the people you meet day to day. Be a team player! Use your work family as a family away from home. They will eventually become like family.

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