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Essential Functions of a
Medical Assisting Student 

Essential functions are those considered to be necessary or fundamental for performing the occupation of Medical Assisting. In postsecondary education, the student's job is to learn and participate in an academic environment and the clinical office environment as well. The student, with or without reasonable accommodation, must be able to:

Physical Demands

1. Move independently within a building and between buildings.

2. Travel to and from home to school and home to clinical site.

3. Reach and grasp overhead, in front of the body, to the sides, and down.

4. Work in confined spaces such as assisting patients to bathrooms or working in an office with several people.

5. Walk or stand all day with short sitting intervals.

6. Lift 20-50 lbs occasionally, lift 10-25 lbs. frequently, and assist lifting, positioning, or transferring patients up to 200 lbs. from car to wheelchair, or from wheelchair to exam table and back.

7. Show sufficient balance to assist patients.

8. Demonstrate fine motor coordination/dexterity to be able to grasp, handle, hold, cut, push, pull, and feel.

9. Demonstrate fine motor coordination to be able to use keys on keyboard with reasonable speed, hand instruments to doctor, draw up medication in a syringe, perform vital signs, and other clinical tasks.

10. Demonstrate the ability to compress hands efficiently for long periods, bending on hands and knees, use abdominal and lower back muscles to support yourself continually over time without fatigue as in CPR.

11. Work in environments with chemical or unpleasant odors without adverse effects.

12. Work in environments where you might see blood, deep cuts, severe burns, open wounds, and amputated body parts and death.

Cognitive/Perceptual Abilities

1. Feel differences in temperature, texture, wetness, and dryness.

2. Distinguish colors, perceive details, and see clearly up close and at a distance.

3. Read and interpret measurements.

4. Hear voices, understand speech of another person, decipher writing, and respond to instructions.

5. Interview patients, document information clearly, and give directions verbally and clearly.

6. Use and understand medical terms.

7. Demonstrate ability to modify behavior after feedback from instructor or clinical preceptor.

8. Demonstrate critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills in order to complete tasks accurately and within assigned time frames.

9. Show self-direction.

10. Respond independently and quickly to emergencies.

11. Demonstrate competency in clinical judgment and safety precautions.

12. Work in stressful and changing situations.

13. Comprehend medical records, documents, evaluations, manuals, journals, instructions in use and maintenance of equipment, and instructions for diagnostic tests including valid results and accurate timing.

14. Calculate dosages, as well as add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions and whole numbers, and be able to give change.

15. Demonstrate infection control principles and biohazard disposal.

16. Comprehend risk management.

17. Demonstrate advanced computer skills and maintenance.

18. Arrange items sequentially.

 Communication Skills

1. Communicate in a large group or one-one-one.

2. Produce written communication that is legible, clear, and grammatically correct.

3. Demonstrate sufficient observational skills to collect data on patient and assure patient safety.

4. Communicate with and tolerate differences of another culture.

5. Recognize and respond to verbal and nonverbal communication.

6. Demonstrate excellent telephone techniques.

7. Provide information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Personal Traits

1. Develop constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintain them over time.

2. Develop specific goals and priorities to organize and accomplish work.

3. Demonstrate professionalism.

4. Show the ability to work alone or within a team.

5. Demonstrate integrity and sincerity.

6. Show an attitude of caring and sensitivity.

7. Demonstrate neatness and good hygiene.

8. Demonstrate a positive attitude when receiving constructive criticism.