Updated July 2022
Expectations of a Medical Assistant Externship.
You can learn a lot in the classroom, but you can’t learn everything, especially if you’re studying to be a Medical Assistant. It’s a job that requires extensive medical knowledge, as well as skills and professional attributes that can only be gained through hands-on experience. At the Allen School of Health Sciences this comes in the form of an externship, consisting of 275 hours in a healthcare facility. We want to ensure our students are prepared for all aspects of this career. To assist you, we have written an outline of what to expect from your Medical Assistant externship.
Working under Supervision
The greatest benefit of a Medical Assistant externship is opportunity to practice skills and duties while being supervised. In your classes, you’ll learn what and why Medical Assistants do what they do. When you take that knowledge into the real world with real patients, however, some tasks can be daunting. The good news is that you’re not alone, and there is a huge support system.
Your supervisor will work with you closely, especially at the beginning, to ensure you remember everything you’ve learned in class, and you feel comfortable administering your duties. In addition, your supervisor may also serve as your safety net to ensure that you don’t miss anything. This aspect of supervision can and should relieve a lot of pressure. It’s common to feel nervous before you’ve gained your skills, practice, and habits, but a supervisor’s presence should assuage most of these fears.
You’ll also be able to watch your supervisor and others perform procedures that you’ll eventually perform yourself. It’s one thing to read about Medical Assisting in a textbook and quite another to witness it in a working environment. The examples of your supervisor and others will give you opportunities to gain experience before you must perform a task yourself and provide you with confidence to do so.
Asking a Thousand Questions
Your Medical Assistant externship should be a time to unleash your curiosity. These 275 hours of training provide an opportunity to learn all aspects of a job from the professionals who are doing it every day. In class, you’ll learn about best practices and may have already questioned different medical procedures are done a certain way. In your externship, you can ask the less technical questions such as “How do you help nervous patients calm down?” or “Why do we put files away like this?”
Asking questions that interest you will make all aspects of the work more personal and will help the answers stick.
Learning the Role
A big part of the job is all about communication. The authority with which you carry yourself, and the empathy you bring to patient interactions cannot be taught in a lecture. They’re skills, critical to the position, that you can only learn in your Medical Assistant externship. As you practice and observe the professionals around you, you can understand the interpersonal aspects of the work- and become good at them. When you begin your externship, you will feel like a student. However, by the time you leave, you can expect to feel like you fit the role.
As a result of this experience, you can expect to feel confident in your abilities in becoming a Medical Assistant. Self-confidence is a huge part of any healthcare job and is often challenging for educators since it can’t be learned in a textbook or seminar. Gaining confidence in your ability to perform administrative and clinical duties requires practice, life experience, and supportive supervision. It requires…an externship! Here, you won’t just learn how to be a Medical Assistant, you can become one.
At the Allen School of Health Sciences, we’re committed to preparing our Medical Assistant students for work as soon as they graduate, which is why externships are such a critical portion of our curriculum. Contact the Allen School today! We are enrolling now for our classes starting soon! We cannot wait for you to become part of the Allen School family. Visit www.allenschool.edu to learn more.