Friday, November 7, 2008

MGH medical assistants help maintain office operations

Medical assistants are vital clinical and administrative team members who help keep medical office operations running smoothly. They perform a range of important tasks, such as taking medical histories, recording vital signs, preparing patients for treatments and procedures and assisting physicians during examinations.

The special support that these staff members provide was recognized at the MGH during the week of Oct. 20 through 24 – National Medical Assistants Week. In recognition of the week, the MGH/MGPO Practice Support Unit, a department within the MGH/MGPO Practice Improvement Division, launched the first installment of its Medical Assistant Professional Development Series, an initiative that highlights skills development and reinforcement in clinical and nonclinical areas of the ambulatory practice.

During the seminar, Practice Support Unit staff members Lisa Susser, Training and Communications specialist; Alice Peck, RN, Ambulatory Quality and Safety nurse; and Sue Hunt, RN, CMA, Medical Assistant Program advisor; performed a short scenario in which a patient and medical assistant interact to demonstrate several obvious breaks in policy. Afterward, the medical assistant participants were asked to identify these breaks and offer solutions and preventative measures for these situations. In total, 50 medical assistants attended the two seminar sessions to learn about dealing with difficult situations on the job and celebrate their important roles within the MGH.

Feedback from the series included, "What a gratifying experience it was to be recognized and appreciated," and, "The follow-up discussion questions were great and very helpful to me in my work."

The next series installment will take place Dec. 2 and will focus on "Anticipation: Meeting Expectations." For more information about the Medical Assistant Professional Development Series, contact Susser at

medical assistantsMEDICAL ASSISTANCE: Hunt, left, acts as a patient while Susser plays a physician during a skit to demonstrate handling difficult situations in the medical office.

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