AnnaMarie Houlis
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National Medical Assistants Day is a national holiday to recognize medical assistants across the country — nurses, administration assistants and more for doctors like physicians, podiatrists, chiropractor, dentists and other health practitioners.

Who are the medical assistants we celebrate on National Medical Assistants Day, and what exactly do they do?

"Medical assistants perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians and other health practitioners running smoothly," according to Snag a Job. "The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner's specialty."

"Medical assistants are one of America’s fastest-growing careers, offering clinical and administrative support for physicians and other medical professionals," according to National Today. "They provide front office support, draw blood, administer vaccinations, take patients’ vital signs and much more. Simply put, they’re a crucial part of your visit. Join us for National Medical Assistants Day on October 23 to celebrate the people that make your doctor’s office run so smoothly!"

When is National Medical Assistants Day?

Again, National Medical Assistants Day is observed on Wednesday of the third business week in October, which makes it October 23, 2019. For the next seven years, here are the days of National Medical Assistants Day:

  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019
  • Wednesday, October 21, 2020
  • Wednesday, October 20, 2021
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2022
  • Wednesday, October 18, 2023
  • Wednesday, October 16, 2024
  • Wednesday, October 22, 2025

5 activities to recognize National Medical Assistants Day

Here are just five simple ways to celebrate medical assistants on National Medical Assistants Day.

1. Thank them in person.

The next time you're in your doctor's office, thank the staff that's there. A smile and a thank you can seriously brighten their day, every day, but especially on National Medical Assistants Day.

2. Send flowers and a note to the office.

If you're not in the office on National Medical Assistants Day, go ahead and send some flowers to the office with a note. You can let them know how much you value their hard work that way.

3. Use the hashtag on social media.

Use #MedicalAssistantsRecognitionDay to share your appreciation on social media. You can even go ahead and tag a medical assistant in your life to show them, in particular, how much you appreciate what they do.

4. Let the doctor know how much you appreciate their staff.

Talk to your doctor about how much you notice their staff's hard work. Because medical assistants usually report to doctors, this makes them look very good and leaves a good impression for them. It can do wonders for their career!

5. Leave positive reviews online.

Leave positive reviews about not only your doctor but also the medical assistants on online doctor review boards. Feel free to call out specific names of medical assistants who have helped you and share personal stories. They may think they're just doing their jobs, but by you taking the time to tell the world about it, you show your appreciation for their efforts.

4 roles in healthcare for medical assistants

The employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent in the next decade, which much faster than the average for all job fields, according to National Today.

Here are four roles in healthcare for medical assistants.

1. Physician Medical Administrative Assistant

A medical administrative assistant in a physician's office does administrative work for a physician usually in a clinical setting.

"Clinical duties vary according to state law and include: taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination and assisting the physician during the examination," according to Snag a Job. "Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens or perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They also arrange examining-room instruments and equipment, purchase and maintain supplies and equipment, and keep waiting and examining rooms neat and clean. Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician."

2. Medical Practice Manager

A medical practice manager is usually in charge of the clinical setting, handling all of the medical assistants.

"A medical practice manager oversees the day-to-day operations of the medical facility," according to Payscale. "They typically supervise all office staff, and they are usually given responsibility for those hiring decisions. The normal duties of the medical practice manager involve scheduling of patients, maintaining records and overseeing any records clerks. They will usually work to ensure that systems regarding billing and insurance interfaces are maintained as well."

3. Pediatrics Medical Administrative Assistant

A medical administrative assistant in a pediatric's office does administrative work for a pediatrician usually in a clinical setting. Their jobs are very similar to that of physician medical assistants, it's just that they work in clinics that treat younger patients.

"Pediatric medical assistants work with pediatricians providing care to infants, children and teens under the age of 18," according to TheMedicalAssistants.com. "There are two positions for pediatric medical assistants in the office — front office and back office. Front office medical assistants are responsible for controlling the flow of patients through the office and collecting co-pays and other forms of payment. Back office medical assistants work directly with patients and the doctor."

4. Dentistry Medical Administrative Assistant

A medical administrative assistant in a dentist's office does administrative work for a dentist. Again, their jobs are very similar to that of physician medical assistants and pediatrics medical assistants, it's just that they work in dentist offices instead and some responsibilities differ.

"A dental administrative assistant works to assist a dentist in caring for patients," according to Study.com. "Assistants interact with both patients and the dental team, perform administrative office duties, obtain health histories and maintain records. They must have strong customer service, computer software and telephone skills, and they must know the technicalities of dental insuring and billing. Dental administrative assistants must recognize the signs and symptoms of dental troubles. Assistants have to understand dental terminology and be able to use computer programs for dental offices. Dental administrative assistants need to master both recall and filing systems. Good communication skills and interpersonal skills are needed to work with nervous patients and dentists under stressful conditions."

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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