What is a Pediatric Medical Assistant?
Taking kids to doctors for a routine check-up is an uphill battle for most parents, and they have to deal with their tantrums and tears to look forward to physician’s appointments. As a pediatric medical assistant, you can redefine the experience of toddlers and make their visit smoother.
Pediatric medical assistants are trained healthcare providers who assist pediatricians in providing care to teens, infants, and children below the age of 18. This medical field is the best fit for those who love working with children, have a strong understanding of their emotional and intellectual development, and possess a calm demeanor.
Want to know in detail about different aspects of this career? Read on!
Job Duties: What Does a Pediatric Medical Assistant Do?
These medical professionals perform a wide range of duties and responsibilities. They work with pediatric urologists, cardiologists, and allergists in different settings and facilities. In addition to generalized tasks, pediatric medical assistant duties include some specialized tasks too. Take a look at the pediatric medical assistant job description.
- Collecting and preparing the blood, urine, and other samples for lab tests
- Collecting and recording the medical history of patients
- Recording blood pressure, weight, height, and other vital signs
- Explaining the treatment plan and providing instructions to children and their parents
Front Office/Administrative Duties
- Answering phone calls and scheduling appointments
- Providing a caring and conducive atmosphere for kids and their parents when they visit the clinic
- Collecting forms of new patients
- Maintaining and organizing the medical records of patients, observing confidentiality and safety as per the guidelines of the medical code of conduct
- Verifying the data and information provided by the parents in the insurance form
Back Office Duties
- Maintaining orderliness in the facility
- Asking patients about the reasons for their visits
- Preparing the examination room before the doctor arrives
- Sorting the patients’ files and presenting them to the doctor
- Cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing the medical equipment, examination rooms, and the entire facility
- Ensuring that medical instruments are in the working condition
- Helping patients’ families to locate examination rooms and consultation offices
- Assisting pediatricians in rapid strep tests, drawing blood, and circumcisions
- Administering medications and vaccinations in accordance with the pediatrician’s instructions
- Implementing Electronic Health Records in compliance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
- Migrating data from previous record system to the EHR
- Revising EHR generated forms
- Connecting with previous healthcare providers and requesting them to fax the immunization records of the patient who is new to your clinic
- Locating the records of old patients on their revisit
Education Requirements for Pediatric Medical Assistants
You must have to complete a formal training to become a Pediatric MA. You can take additional training and classes in infant CPR and child development. Some organizations, such as the National Center for Competency Testing, offer specialized courses in pediatrics to potential medical assistants.
How long is Schooling?
The duration of the education program entirely depends on the course you prefer to pursue and from which college. Many technical schools and community colleges offer diploma or certificate programs to aspirants, which can be completed in 9 months to a year. The duration of the associate’s degree program is 2 years.
The curriculum of training comprises a multitude of subjects and an externship or internship to foster all the required skills to perform both clerical and clinical tasks efficiently and effectively. You will study the following topics:
- Medical Coding and Billing
- Office Management
- Computer Basics
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology
Note: The aspirants who want to work as a pediatric medical assistant must take their internship or externship in a pediatrician’s clinic or office.
Gaining certification is not mandatory for these professionals. However, it will definitely be a valuable add-on to their medical assistant resume and increase their employability. You can go for 1-year certification or associate’s degree program in medical assisting. If you don’t want to complete a medical assisting education program, you can undergo on-the-job training.
As of now, no certification is available in pediatric medical assisting. However, you can consider pursuing certification in clinical medical assisting offered by the NHA (National Healthcare Association). The American Association of Medical Assistants also provides a certification focused on instilling both administrative and clinical skills.
Qualities/Skills Required for a Pediatric Medical Assistant
Pediatric medical assisting is not for everyone; aspirants having the right skills and ability to work well with children can consider choosing this field. Wondering what other skills and qualities are required for rendering efficient patient care services as a pediatric medical assistant? Learn here!
- Patience: Toddlers and infants are generally scared of doctors, and they resist treatment. Moreover, they are usually not able to explain how exactly they are feeling. So, pediatric medical assistants require immense patience to treat difficult and uncooperative children.
- Empathy: By being empathetic and compassionate, you can establish therapeutic relationships with patients, perceive their feelings and thoughts appropriately, serve them better, and boost confidence in patients about their quick recovery.
- Excellent Communication Skills: You must have the ability to communicate with kids in a relatable way. In addition, you must have the skills to explain things to children in such a way that they can understand it easily. As you have to interact with doctors, patients, and their families frequently, it becomes essential to have good communication and interpersonal skills.
- Attention to Detail and Critical Thinking Skills: Due to a lack of understanding of the appropriate vocabulary or frustration, children find it difficult to express their emotions. As a pediatric MA, you must have the skills to comprehend the non-verbal cues and irregularities in the behavior of patients to provide better care.
- A Calm Demeanor: The children’s ward is the noisiest place of the hospital. Any emergency adds to the chaos, making it stressful for pediatric medical assistants to work. With their kind and humorous behavior, these professionals can calm the nerves of kids and reduce their fear of seeing the doctor.
- Playfulness and Expertise in Distracting: No child loves to stay confined to bed and take mediations. You can ease them and make their stay at the hospital a positive experience by adding a fun element with your care. You can make age-appropriate jokes, ask about their hobbies, tell stories, or sing a song for them to divert their attention while they undergo scary or aching tests and procedures.
- Endurance: Dealing with sick infants is a trying time for not only parents but also for caregivers. The tears and cries of the kids may make you emotionally and mentally overwhelmed. Further, workload and long shifts can take a toll on your physical health. Therefore, pediatric medical assistants are supposed to have strong stamina and endurance to do their job successfully in such circumstances.
- Good Knowledge of the Kids’ Development: Pediatric medical assistants must have strong know-how of the emotional, intellectual, physical, and behavioral development of the children to identify the potential ailments that otherwise can’t be detected.
Pediatric Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook
According to various sources, the average annual and hourly pediatric medical assistant salary was between $14.99 and $15.00 per hour, and $29,688 and $30,287 per annum.
|Resource||Hourly Salary||Annual Salary||Date Updated|
|Indeed||$15.21||–||February 22, 2021|
|ZipRecruiter||$15.00||$29,688||September 19, 2020|
|Glassdoor||–||$31,508||August 01, 2019|
|PayScale||$15.38||$31,212||February 03, 2021|
|Salary.com||$15.00||$30,287||August 27, 2020|
Pediatric medical assistant jobs are likely to upsurge in the upcoming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2019 to 2029, employment for medical assistants is expected to increase by 19%, which is much faster than the average growth for other occupations.
Resourceful Links for Pediatric MAs
There is no specific professional organization at the national level dedicated to pediatric medical assistants. However, there are certain professional groups for these professionals.
The NHA aims at improving the quality of patient care by fulfilling the demands for certified healthcare providers by the medical industry. Along with certifications, they also offer continuing education (CE) and employment assistance.
The AAMA aims at providing education, networking opportunities, credential acknowledgment, and certification to the medical assistants.
Depending on the mandates of the state, pediatric medical assistants are allowed to perform specific clinical duties, such as recording vital signs, escorting patients to examination rooms, preparing patients for medical tests and procedures, providing education to patients, ordering and stocking supplies, performing hearing and vision screening, etc. Some states allow them to draw blood, prepare and analyze urine culture, collect and prepare lab specimen, and administer medicines.
While rendering their duties, these professionals have to crawl, crouch, kneel, stoop, walk, sit, stand, lift, and move weight up to 50 pounds. They are also at the risk of exposure to infectious diseases, radiations, harmful chemicals and toxins, fumes, etc.
Approved for 16 CEUs G/A/g, this certificate program provides an in-depth education in newborn care, well-child care, psychological aspects of pediatric care, and common injuries, conditions, and illness of children. For obtaining the certificate, you will have to clear the practice test for each course. For earning the CEU credit, it is mandatory to get 70% or higher in the final assessment exam. You must complete the program in 60 days. You can retake the exams twice. For members, the program costs $320, and for non-members, it costs $480.
Written by : Casey Gardner
Casey Gardner is both a healthcare support professional and an accomplished content creator. She has been working as a certified health care professional with marketable skills as a physician assistant, and a qualified medical assistant for last two decades. She has dedicated her nursing career to produce over hundreds of content pieces since 2001, and her work has been published both online as well as offline.