Medical assistants who work in urology perform both standard tasks such as giving medications and tasks specific to urology, such as bladder ultrasounds. These unlicensed personnel must work under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse. The scope of practice for medical assistants varies by state. Although many medical assistants obtain formal training at community colleges and in technical or vocational schools, they can also be trained on the job. Those who complete formal training may receive a certificate or an associate degree. Medical assistant training takes up to two years.
Skills and Characteristics
Medical assistants in urology need certain skills and characteristics. Detail orientation and precision are important to ensure accuracy, especially in completing medical records. Medical assistants must interact with patients and families and should be able to provide emotional support and establish rapport. Although all medical assistants should be able to perform technical skills such as taking a patient’s blood pressure, medical assistants who work in urology also have specialized tasks. For example, a medical assistant must know how to collect a variety of different urine specimens and perform typical office-based lab tests. A medical assistant in urology must also know about urological procedures, and kidney and bladder functions to educate patients and families.
Procedures and Specialized Tasks
Urologists conduct a number of minor procedures in the office, with which the medical assistant must assist. During a cystoscopy, the doctor uses a flexible telescope to look at the inside of the bladder. The medical assistant positions and drapes the patient before the procedure, hands instruments and supplies to the doctor, and cleans the room after the procedure. If a urologist treats pediatric patients, the medical assistant may assist with procedures such as a circumcision.
Medical assistants in urology offices may also do ultrasounds, which use sound waves to create images of the kidney or bladder. Some states allow more complex tasks. Medical assistants in Washington state may perform urinary catheterization after proper training and certification, according to the Washington State Medical Association.
2016 Salary Information for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $31,540 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, medical assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $26,860, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $37,760, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 634,400 people were employed in the U.S. as medical assistants.