Medical assistants do not have the same training as nurses or doctors, but they still play a vital role in a healthcare facility. Medical assistants are trained to not only help with front office tasks like scheduling, answering office correspondence, ordering supplies, and handling some billing functions, but they also are trained to help with some clinical tasks as well.
With medical assistants performing so many roles around the office, it can be confusing trying to determine what is and is not within a medical assistant’s scope of practice. In particular, you may be curious if medical assistants can give medications. Under the supervision of a doctor, you may be surprised at all the tasks medical assistants are capable of performing.
Before we dive into whether Medical Assistants can give medications, if you’re interested in becoming a Medical Assistant, you should consider enrolling in Florida Career College’s Medical Assisting Program! FCC’s Medical Assistant Technician Program is short-term, allowing you to earn a Medical Assistant Technician Diploma in as few as 10 Months!
Can Medical Assistants Give Patients Medications?
Yes, medical assistants can give patients medications as long as they have been approved by a physician and the medical assistant is working under the supervision of a physician or nurse practitioner. Also, Medical Assistants are permitted to administer oral, rectal, inhaled, topical, or even injected medications. That said, the medical assistant must have the consent of the patient or the patient’s guardian and is only permitted to give one dose of the medication at a time.
Florida law states that any service provider that is giving medication must have completed a training course. Careful procedures must be in place for labeling medications, documenting administration, and storing and disposing of medications.
Can Medical Assistant Prescribe Medication?
No, medical assistants do not have the authority to prescribe medications.
Diagnosing conditionings and prescribing medications are reserved for physicians, physician assistants (PA), and nurse practitioners (NP). These trained professionals are the ones to diagnose issues and create a treatment plan for the patient.
The medical assistant may help by assisting with the exam, taking notes as requested by the doctor, and updating records. Medical assistants may also send a doctor’s prescription orders to the pharmacy or call the pharmacy to refill medications as long as there are no changes to the treatment plan. Medical assistants may also give patients directions for carrying out their treatment at home and when to follow up with the doctor.
Can Medical Assistants Inject Medications?
Yes, medical assistants who have been trained through an accredited program may give injections or vaccines. Medical assistants can give injections to patients of any age and also have the training to collect blood samples for testing. This scope of practice does vary from one state to another. In Florida, medical assistants may give vaccines, but some states do have stricter guidelines.
It is important to note that giving injections safely requires proper training. This skill is covered in depth during a medical assistant training program, which prepares MAs for an entry-level positions. Most employers like to know that the medical assistant they are hiring has this skill and has practiced, as this frees up their time to work on other tasks and spend more time answering patient concerns.
Medical assistants are not qualified to handle all types of injections. Medical assistants may not perform aesthetic injections like Botox or fillers. Medical assistants are also not phlebotomists and are not allowed to set up medications that come through an IV, nor are they permitted to collect blood for blood donations.
Want to know more? You can read all the requirements for medical assistant technicians to give injections here.
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Who is Authorized to Provide Patients With Medications?
The rules for who can provide patients with medications differ from one state to the next. For example, in Florida, a home health aide cannot provide patients with medication. In Texas, these individuals can help with medications in environments where a patient’s condition is stable.
A licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant can always provide patients with medications. They also have the authority to prescribe medications.
Medical assistants and nurses may administer medications, but they do not have the authority to diagnose patients or prescribe new medications.
Some medications may require an advanced level of training. If a medical assistant is unsure if a medication is appropriate for them to distribute, they should always rely on the supervising physician’s training and authority and only distribute medications as they are instructed to do so.
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What Can’t Medical Assistants Do?
Medical assistants are useful all over the office, but there are several things they are not allowed to do. These include:
- Diagnosing patients
- Prescribing medications
- Developing a treatment plan
- Giving medications through an IV
- Perform any exam or physical therapy (though they may be in the room to assist the physician)
The role of a medical assistant is to ensure the physician has what they need to be able to do their work and to ensure the patient’s needs are being met in the best way possible.
Consider Becoming a Medical Assistant at Florida Career College
An accredited training program will teach you all the basic knowledge you will need to distribute medications safely to patients as a medical assistant. The Medical Assistant Technician training program at Florida Career Colleges teaches students about common medications and how they affect the body. Our hands-on courses also give students the opportunity to practice giving vaccines and administering medications.
If you have been dreaming of a career in the medical field, becoming a medical assistant is a great way to get started. The position is necessary for any healthcare setting to help the office run efficiently, and because medical assistants perform both clerical and clinical tasks, it gives a great overview of how an entire office works together to provide the best care to patients.
The Medical Assistant Technician program at Florida Career College can prepare you for an entry-level position as a medical assistant in as few as ten months. Over the course of ten months, our experienced instructors will teach students all about the human body and how modern medicine is helping keep patients healthy.
Our in-person labs give students a chance to practice skills like giving injections, drawing blood, administering medication and taking patient vitals. The course also ends with an externship in the community where students can put their knowledge to the test and practice their skills on actual patients.
With flexible class schedules, supportive staff, and ongoing enrollment, there’s no reason to wait any longer to create the career of your dreams. Financial assistance is available to those who qualify.
If working in the medical field has always been on your mind, you should consider enrolling in Florida Career College’s Medical Assistant Program!