Medical Assistant on Externship

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Here's How To Have the Best Medical Assistant Externship

One of the most important components to Medical Assistant training is when you get to actually try out all you’ve learned in the classroom, labs, and libraries. It may start out on campus when you practice procedures and get behind a computer to learn about healthcare programs, but if you really want hands-on training, you need to get out there in the real world.

An externship gives you opportunity to observe, learn, and do! Make sure you get the most out of yours by following these 7 steps to a successful Medical Assistant externship:

1)      Do your research about the doctor’s office or healthcare facility before you start. Even if you already thoroughly check it out in order to land the externship, now that the gig is actually yours, you’ll want even more info. Find out if you know anyone who works there and get in touch before your first day. Or do some research about what’s happening in the healthcare industry that might be affecting the place you’re going. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to intelligently talk with the healthcare professionals you meet.

 

2)      Ask about expectations when you first start and make frequent check-ins during your externship to see how you’re doing. Good communication is important to your success. And remember, this is all about learning so you really want to know when you’re doing something well, and when you could improve—so you can.

 

3)      Be a sponge for all the information coming at you and flowing around you. Of course, you’re going to pay attention to what your supervisor teaches you. But you also need to take in what everyone does. Understand what the Medical Assistants do, but also what is expected of doctors, nurses, technicians, and other staff. How do they all interact with one another as a team to give the best care possible to patients?

 

4)      Ask a lot of questions about what you see. Observation alone won’t cut it. You may see a procedure that you learned about in school that seems different from the way you were taught. Is it? Or are you missing something? Don’t be afraid to (respectfully) ask why they do things the way they do them. The same goes for the computer systems they use and the way they enter information. Maybe their programs are different from those you’ve become familiar with. What a super opportunity to learn!

 

5)      Have a great attitude. And it needs to start long before you get to your externship. Get a good night’s sleep and have your uniform and everything you’ll need for the day all set to go as soon as you get up. Arrive a little early and report for duty. Listen well and do whatever you’re asked with a smile. Especially take the time to really pay attention to your patients. After all, you’ve chosen to become a Medical Assistant because you want to make a difference. Now’s the chance to prove you’re up for the task.

 

6)      Be thorough. There is little room for error in the medical field. What you do each and every day as a Medical Assistant can have a direct impact on patients, their families, and the people you work with. Don’t make mistakes. That means following proper procedures in everything you do, whether it’s conducting a blood draw or cleaning up after a patient mishap. And when it comes to patient histories, don’t miss the details. How a doctor treats a patient always depends on how they’ve been treated before, what has and hasn’t worked, and what medications they take or may be allergic to.

 

7)      Follow up at the end of the externship. Make sure you thank everyone who helped provide you with a positive experience and then follow up with them after you leave. That might mean connecting on LinkedIn, sending an email, or writing a personal thank-you note. And if you loved your externship, at the end of that thank-you, be sure to tell them so and ask if they’re hiring. If they aren’t ready to hire you just yet, find out if any of the people you worked with would be willing to write a recommendation.

 

If you’ve always wanted a career helping others, there are few industries that can measure up against healthcare. At Charter College, we have several healthcare programs, including Medical Assistant, which you can complete in as little as 10 months and includes a 180 hour externship.