A Day in the Life of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant work
medical assistant work

A Day in the Life of a Medical Assistant

A Medical Assistant plays an essential role in the delivery of healthcare. You serve as the doctor’s right-hand person. You get to interact with patients and perform duties on both the clinical and administrative sides of the office. Even if you are not a Medical Assistant, you may have an idea of what they do because you see them when you go for your own appointments. But what do they do the rest of their day?

Arrive at Work

One of the benefits of being a medical assistant is the stability of your schedule. If you work in a doctor’s office—where most Medical Assistants do—you’ll probably work an 8-5 schedule every day. If you work at a nursing home or long-term care health facility, you may be assigned to work night shifts, but you can still expect some regularity to your schedule.

Let’s say you work for a small medical practice. You arrive at the office and almost immediately, you log into the electronic health records system and check the day’s patients and schedule. This will tell you how many patients will visit throughout the day, what procedures or exams they will undergo, and when they will arrive. Starting here helps you plan out the rest of your day. After you check the schedule, you’ll want to run through the rest of your morning duties:

  • Check your email for urgent requests
  • Check the office’s phone messages and return phone calls, if necessary
  • Fill out the day’s paperwork such as surgical forms and insurance papers
  • Complete any tasks leftover from the day before

Before Patients Show Up

The morning isn’t over yet. Now it’s time to prepare for patient arrivals. The first step is to check the procedure and exam rooms. Have the tools been sterilized? Are the rooms clean? Do any supplies need to be restocked or replaced? By the time your first patient arrives, you’ve already accomplished a lot of important work!

Once the rooms are ready, it’s time to pull the first patient chart. Review it and ensure that all paperwork for the patient, include permission forms, waivers, and insurance forms are complete. Next, check in with the physician or nurse about what they expect from you during the patient’s visit.

During the Patient Visit

Now that the patient has arrived, you’ll greet them and check them in. As the first point of contact for the patient, you’ll play an important role in setting the tone for their visit. Be friendly and calm and do your best to ease their anxiety. Walk them back to the exam room and then walk them through what they can expect from the physician. You may also do the following:

  • Take the patient’s vital signs
  • Draw blood
  • Perform lab tests
  • Hand tools to the physician
  • Update patient charts
  • Give follow-up instructions to the patient

After Patients Leave

After the patient leaves, it’s time to clean and prepare the exam room for the next patient. Once all of the patients have been seen, you may have to follow up on a few administrative duties, including appointment confirmations, prescription refills, and follow-up phone calls or emails.


A Medical Assistant’s day is very busy, but also very rewarding. If you want to spend your days like this, choose a Medical Assistant school that will prepare you with the hard and soft skills you’ll need to succeed. At YTI Career Institute, our Medical Assistant program in Pennsylvania can provide you with the skills you’ll need to succeed as part of a medical team. Fill out the form to request more information.