Medical assistants act as a liaison between a physician and a patient.
Different specialized medical assistants work in healthcare facilities with specific functions, such as OBGYN, pediatric, and chiropractic medical assistants.
You’ve probably heard about pediatric medical assistants and want to know more.
This article highlights everything you need to know about pediatric medical assistants. We discuss their roles, responsibilities, salary, job outlook, etc.
What is a Pediatric Medical Assistant?
You’ve probably had a question about what is a medical assistant.
But how does a regular medical assistant differ from a regular one?
Pediatricians usually tend to infants, children, as well as adolescents. A Pediatric Medical Assistant assists the physician while doing that.
Pediatric Medical Assistants can be required to fill both clinical duties & administrative duties. You can find employment across pediatric offices nationwide, and often pediatric assistants form a close relationship with the families (& especially children) they help.
What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Pediatric Medical Assistant?
A pediatric medical assistant’s major roles and responsibilities are similar to regular medical assistants, with the only difference being the type of patients they work with.
Pediatric medical assistants assist physicians in caring exclusively for infants, children, and adolescents.
Clinical Duties of a Pediatric Medical Assistant
Pediatric medical assistant job duties tend to do both clinical as well as administrative tasks within the healthcare setting, and their vital clinical tasks generally involve-
- Recording vital signs – Pediatric medical assistants need to be prepared to handle wiggling or scared toddlers and children while measuring their vital signs. Therefore they need to be able to work with children and make them at ease.
- Sample collection – Medical assistants are often required to collect samples for further diagnostics, such as urine, stool, and blood samples.
- Provide comfort – Children are often scared and nervous to enter a pediatrician’s clinic or office and may be fidgety. Medical assistants are required to help them feel more at ease and feel safe in the clinic.
- Assisting with Examinations – Pediatric medical assistants often need to provide an extra helping hand to physicians since children are usually unable to follow instructions.
Pediatric medical assistants can help physicians finish their patient assessment by helping distract or position the patient as required by the physician during their examination.
- Assisting with measurements – Pediatric medical assistants are required to record the toddler or infant’s measurements, such as their weight, size of the head, and height, as any abnormalities found in these have to be shared with the physician.
- Vaccinations – Even though some states still do not allow medical assistants to administer injections to their patients, pediatric medical assistants often assist physicians by giving children their prescribed vaccinations.
Administrative Duties of a Pediatric Medical Assistant
In addition to the above-mentioned clinical tasks, pediatric medical assistants are also required to fulfill administrative tasks for the smooth functioning of the healthcare setting. Generally, the administrative duties involve –
- Schedule appointments – Pediatric medical assistants are required to manage the schedule of their particular healthcare setting. This helps in the smooth functioning of the office and ultimately in providing optimum quality care to their patients. This usually includes scheduling appointments with the patient’s parents or guardians & ensuring things are running on time within the office or clinic.
- Tend to phone calls – Parents usually bombard a pediatrician’s office with phone calls, seeking help for their children’s care. Pediatric medical assistants are required to handle both scheduled & unscheduled phone calls, apart from setting appointment schedules.
- Take care of reminders – Parents of infants & toddlers are generally overwhelmed. Medical assistants are encouraged to take the extra mile and help remind parents about prescription refills, schedule future appointments, and following-up post a major injury or illness.
- Growth records – It is essential to monitor the growth spurts or changes among growing babies and children, as it helps in ultimately monitoring any health concerns. Pediatric medical assistants are required to track regular growth measurements over time.
- Billing and Payments – Medical assistants are usually responsible for handling any payments, assisting the parents with any billing or insurance claims, and sending payment reminders wherever necessary.
- Vaccine schedules – Pediatric medical assistants must also keep checking their patients’ medical histories for any pending vaccinations and inform the physicians and parents if any are missing.
Other tasks of a pediatric medical assistant involve any additional duties assigned or required by the physicians.
See more on- Medical Administrative Assistant
Where Do Pediatric Medical Assistants Work?
With the growing population, pediatric medical assistants are in high demand nationwide. These medical assistants generally work in a child-friendly environment and should be prepared to handle obstacles involving children’s care that might arise within their work settings.
Pediatric medical assistants should also be equipped to handle and involve children by incorporating bright colors, movies, music, and toys for children.
Pediatric medical assistants usually work in pediatrician offices and family practice clinics. Some medical assistants also work in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and even home health settings, where they can usually tend to children with special needs.
What are the Key Skills Required to Be a Pediatric Medical Assistant?
A typical pediatric medical assistant should know the typical medical assistant skills. They are also required to learn a few useful skills when dealing with children. Here are some additional skills that you might require –
Basics medicinal knowledge
All allied healthcare professionals must have basic knowledge of medical terminologies as well as awareness and alertness in emergencies.
CPR certification is generally a requirement when a medical assistant applies for jobs.
Pediatric medical assistants have to keep up with the busy schedules of the clinic and optimize scheduled appointments, in addition to handling any fussy children. In order to handle all of these tasks efficiently, pediatric medical assistants are required to have good organizational skills.
Having a cheerful personality
Pediatric medical assistants often have to distract the children while they are in a healthcare facility. This could involve playing with children and using your imagination to make them comfortable.
You need to have a way with kids, an essential skill that is explicitly required in a pediatric setting.
A doctor’s clinic is often a scary place for kids, and they often feel nervous and unsafe within such a setting. Pediatric medical assistants must have patience while dealing with kids and the ability to handle tantrums without losing their patience.
There is usually a lot of unpredictability involved in working within pediatric settings with children. Pediatric medical assistants are therefore required to be creative to solve any issues specific to the needs of each child.
Basic computer skills
One of the critical responsibilities of a pediatric medical assistant involves keeping electronic health records of each patient. Hence, some basic computer skills are needed to handle such tasks efficiently.
How Does One Become a Pediatric Medical Assistant?
You might be wondering about how to become a medical assistant now that you’re here. The steps toward becoming a pediatric medical assistant are similar to a general clinical medical assistant.
However, there are some minimum requirements and steps you will need to follow to become a medical assistant, such as –
1. Obtaining your high school diploma or a GED
The minimum requirement needed to set foot in the field of medical assistance is to obtain your high school diploma or a GED.
2. Choose the proper education or training program
Like others, you also need to complete a medical assistant program. You can compete in a regular online training program.
But if you are dead set on becoming a pediatric assistant, you can choose to complete a program designed specifically for Clinical Pediatric Medical Assistants. (Also read: Is Medical Assistant School Hard?)
Also see: Medical Assistant Educational Requirement
3. Obtain your certification
After you decide on your program or certification course of choice and sit for and clear your certification exams, you can obtain your certification and become a certified clinical medical assistant.
Read more on: Are Medical Assistant Licenses Required?
4. Apply for jobs and start your career!
After you have completed all the above-mentioned steps, you can start looking and applying for pediatric medical assistant jobs online or by visiting various pediatric offices and jumpstarting your career in pediatric medical assistance.
Also see: Medical Assistant Externship
Pediatric Medical Assistant: Salary & Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average national mean wage for pediatric or general medical assistants is approximately $37,000 annually. There is not much difference between a pediatric medical assistant’s and a general medical assistant’s salaries.
The BLS further states that the job outlook for pediatric medical assistants looks fairly positive for the upcoming years. This position has the best job outlook compared to other professions, with an estimated expected growth percentage of around 16% up to 2030.
Also see: How to get Medical Assistant jobs with no experience
See Other Types of Medical Assistants:
- OB-GYN Medical Assistant
- Ophthalmic Medical Assistant
- Cardiology Medical Assistant
- Podiatric Medical Assistant
- Dermatology Medical Assistant
- Military Medical Assistant
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