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. This is a career that requires a lot of 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, and in most Medical Assistant programs, that comes in the form of an externship: 275 hours in a healthcare facility. We want to prepare our students for all aspects of the work, and to help them prepare so we’ve written an outline of what to expect from your Medical Assistant externship.
Working under supervision
One of the greatest benefits of a Medical Assistant externship is the opportunity it provides to practice skills and duties while being supervised. In your classes, you’ll learn what and why Medical Assistants do what they do. However, the moment you take that knowledge into the real world with real patients, even the simplest things like taking blood pressure can be daunting. The good news is: You’re not alone.
Your supervisor will work with you closely, especially at the beginning, to ensure you remember everything you’ve learned in class. They will ensure you feel comfortable administering your duties. In addition to your guide, of sorts, your supervisor may also serve as your safety net to ensure you don’t miss anything. That 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 relieve most of those fears.
You’ll also be able to observe your supervisor and coworkers perform procedures you’ll eventually perform yourself. It’s one thing to read about Medical Assisting in a textbook and quite another to witness in a working environment.
Asking a thousand questions
Your Medical Assistant externship should be a time to unleash your curiosity. These 275 clinical hours are trying, but they also provide an opportunity to learn all aspects of a job from the people who are doing it. In class, you’ll learn about best practices and why 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?” and “why do we put away the files 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 can’t 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’ll understand the interpersonal aspects of the work. When you begin your externship, you’ll feel like a student. Ideally, by the time you leave, you can expect to feel like you fit the role.
As a result, you can expect at the end of your externship to feel confident in your abilities to be a Medical Assistant. Self-confidence is a huge part of any healthcare job, which can be challenging for students as 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, in other words, an externship where you won’t just learn how to be a Medical Assistant; you will become one.
At the Allen School of Health Sciences, we are devoted to fostering positivity, empathy, professionalism, and integrity in our future Medical Assistants. In order to protect our community during the COVID-19 crisis, The Allen School of Health Sciences is offering virtual campus tours for enrollment for our classes starting soon. Contact the Allen School today! We cannot wait for you to become part of the Allen School family. Visit www.allenschool.edu to learn more.