Interested in knowing more about medical assistant specialties? Ready to take a medical assistant program at a vocational school?
There are many different medical assistant specialties that are available outside of family practice and primary care physicians’ offices. With a little bit of experience, medical assistants may be able to get a job in the field they are interested in.
Medical assistant specialties include allergy, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, gerontology, neurology, obstetrics, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, podiatry, plastic surgery, and urology.
Specialty #1: Allergy
An allergist diagnoses and treats patients who have a physical reaction to different substances including, for example, dust, dander, and pollen. Patients may also be allergic to some medications that should be noted on their permanent medical record. A medical assistant will help the allergist record and input patient information, vital signs, and medications into medical records.
Specialty #2: Cardiology
Cardiology is the medical specialty that diagnoses and treats patients with diseases and abnormalities of the heart and blood vessels. A medical assistant will assist with tests including phlebotomy, cardiac imaging, electrocardiography (EKG), and cardiac stress tests while being supervised by the physician.
To prepare the patient for a cardiovascular examination by the physician, the medical assistant will record vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate, and temperature, as well as height, weight, and cardiovascular history. The medical assistant will verify the patient’s medications and get a brief history that includes any risk factors.
Specialty #3: Dermatology
Dermatology is the medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of skin, nail, and hair diseases and disorders. The medical assistant is responsible for assembling, cleaning, and disinfecting the medical instruments that the physician will need to perform diagnostic procedures. These diagnostic procedures include physical examination, taking wound cultures and skin biopsies, and performing a urine melanin test. The medical assistant is also responsible for collecting, scheduling, and delivering specimens to the appropriate in-office or outside laboratories.
Specialty #4: Endocrinology
Endocrinology is the medical specialty that diagnoses and treats patients with diseases and disorders of the endocrine system, which includes the glands and hormones. Common tests that a medical assistant will assist with include thyroid function tests and blood sugar level tests. The medical assistant will assist, schedule, prepare, and educate patients about common diagnostic procedures to identify problems related to the functioning of the endocrine system.
Specialty #5: Gastroenterology
Gastroenterology is the medical specialty that diagnoses and treats patients with disorders of the stomach and intestines. The common tests a medical assistant will assist the physician with include phlebotomy, ultrasonography, stool tests, barium swallows, and endoscopies.
The medical assistant will also help the physician with diagnostic procedures to examine the GI tract. The medical assistant will compile a record of the patient’s symptoms and history, including occupation, family history, recent travel out of the country, and current medications. The MA will also check for signs of heartburn, GI bleeding, weight gain or loss, history of alcohol use, and use of a laxative or enema.
Specialty #6: Gerontology
Gerontology is a medical specialty that focuses on the health and care of the elderly. As the aging population increases, there is a growing demand for medical assistants who specialize in diseases and disorders of elderly patients.
Specialty #7: Neurology
Neurology is a medical specialty that diagnoses and treats patients with abnormalities of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves that transmit impulses. The medical assistant will assist in examining the patient’s nervous system. The physician will diagnose disorders based on mental status and orientation, cranial nerve assessment, sensory and motor function, and reflex assessment. Other tests a medical assistant will help with include radiologic tests, electrical tests, and lumbar punctures (spinal taps).
Specialty #8: Obstetrics
Obstetrics is a medical specialty that focuses on pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Obstetrics is often combined with gynecology, and a physician who practices both specialties is an OB/GYN.
The medical assistant will assist, schedule, and prepare patients for obstetric care. Some common diagnostic procedures medical assistants may assist a physician with include gynecologic examinations, colposcopies, dilation and curettage, and hysterosalpingographies. They may also assist physicians who diagnose, monitor, and deliver babies for mothers-to-be.
Specialty #9: Oncology
Oncology is a medical specialty that cares for patients with cancer. Medical assistants will assist oncologists and registered nurses with phlebotomy, patient check-ins, scheduling appointments, billing and claim processing, vital sign measurement, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments.
Specialty #10: Orthopedics
Orthopedics is a medical specialty that focuses on the correction of deformities of a patient’s bones and muscles. Some orthopedic specialists may focus on sports related injuries.
Medical assistants may assist the physician in the performance of diagnostic procedures, including the assessment of structure and function, and movement and pain. They will also interview the patient to better understand the events that occurred, and circumstances that led to, the patient’s seeking medical help for their bones and muscles.
Specialty #11: Pediatrics
Pediatrics is a medical specialty that involves the care of children up to the age of 18. A successful pediatric medical assistant will like children and be able to talk with them on their level. The medical assistant will work with the pediatrician to monitor a child’s development.
The medical assistant is responsible for preparing the pediatric patient and documenting the pediatric physical examination. While documenting the pediatric exam, the medical assistant will want to record the child’s medical history, including prenatal history and the details of the mother’s pregnancy.
As the child grows, the medical assistant will be responsible for documenting the history of childhood diseases, immunizations, and nutritional status. The medical assistant will also obtain and record measurements and vital signs during each patient visit. Weight is the most frequently obtained measurement when examining a pediatric patient, as it is often needed to assess nutritional status and determine medication dosages.
Specialty #12: Podiatry
Podiatry is a medical specialty focused on the diagnosis and treatment of the foot and ankle. Medical assistants will help podiatrists with exams, managing records, scheduling, billing, and performing minor surgery.
Specialty #13: Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgeons employ medical assistants to support them in the reconstruction, correction, or improvement of body structures. The medical assistant may assist with minor procedures, cleaning and disinfecting medical instruments, maintaining workstations, checking in patients, scheduling appointments, and processing billing.
Specialty #14: Urology
Urology is a medical specialty that diagnoses and treats the diseases and disorders of the male and female urinary tracts and male reproductive organs. A medical assistant may assist the physician with urinary system diagnostic testing including urinalysis, phlebotomy, cystoscopies, pyelographies, ultrasound, and vasectomies.
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