So you want to start a career in dentistry, but you aren’t sure where to start. You decided to enroll in a dental assistant school that will help you gain the training you need to become a dental assistant – which some would see as a good job to get your feet wet. This guide is made courtesy of past and present dental assistants to help future dental assistants avoid some common mistakes.
Finding a Job
Finding a job post-graduation for any field is difficult. One of the most common mistakes everybody makes, yes, even you rookie dental assistants out there is creating a professional resume. One good rule of thumb to follow is to make the resume one page. No employer has the time to read past one page. Single space the content on the page, and make sure that the “do not add space in between paragraphs” feature is checked in your word processing software. A resume is all about condensing information so that it is easy to read and follow.
Speak in a Professional Manner
Remember that you are working in a service industry full of professionals and clients who expect you to be professional. You don’t have to sound like a corporate drone, but be sure to watch your speaking tones and the language that you use while in the office. This applies to both patients and your team members. Be polite and sincere and never get an acidic tone with anybody. Remember that most clients have a negative perception when it comes to dental offices. They are afraid of the tools that are used, and they are afraid that they might receive some level of pain and discomfort. You are there to calm them and relax them, so speak in a manner that will help them feel that way.
The most successful dental assistants are really great multitaskers, and as a dental assistant you are expected to live up to this standard. It’s a medical profession so you can expect to be constantly in a state of high stress and productivity. You have to be able to keep yourself, your co-workers, and the sterilization area all organized. Make a list of things that need to be done, will be done, and can be done. These are all three different things and suggest different priority levels so keep it that way. Don’t be like the common dental assistant and think that you can get away by being lax. Step above and beyond and do the most that you can.
No one has time to get sick anymore. Getting sick means missing work, which means missing out on money that will help you pay for your bills, which means stressing out and getting even more sick than you already were. Medical Assistants are in the front row of all of this. They not only deal with sick patients on the daily, but they are also in a closed environment that keeps germs and viruses trapped inside. So as a medical assistant what do you do in order to combat these kinds of germs and viruses?
Well there is not one answer to this. The fact of the matter is that one cannot combat the microscopic threats that lurk in every nook and cranny, but one can take preemptive measures against them. Preparing your body means heightening its defenses against these kinds of bugs, and it also means taking measures in order to ensure you are not at risk of getting sick.
How Do You Prepare to Counteract These Bugs?
One of the first things you should do is buy tons of EmergenC vitamin C powders. Taking one or two of these a day will give your body enough vitamin C to not only get over typical types of illnesses, but it also raises your immune systems defenses so that you don’t get sick in the first place.
How Do You Take Counteractive Measures Against These Bugs?
One of the easiest things a medical assistant can do is to always use hand sanitizer. While this seems a little weird to some, and maybe even a bit neurotic to many, your hands are one of the most common places to have these viruses and bugs on it. You touch everything with your hands: sick patients when you greet them, the tools you use on them, and even door handles and such. It’s very common for people to touch their face with their hands places like their eyes and mouth, so this is exactly where they end up getting the bug from.
As a medical assistant you will sometimes have to deal with children. It is a known fact that most MA’s will end up working for medical offices that are physicians’ offices or the “doctors’ office” as it is commonly known by people outside of the healthcare industry. Because of this fact, medical assistants will have to handle small children from all sorts of ages, especially if they end up in a pediatrics facility. So what do you do if you’re a medical assistant who: has never handled children, does not know how to handle children, and will eventually have to handle a bunch of children? Here are a few tips.
The first big tip is to be as patient as possible. Children do not have the mental capacity that we do as adults. They cannot reason or see past the point of their own basic existence. This can make the job very difficult as they will almost always be afraid of strangers. Children will be naturally timid and offer a lot of resistance when it comes to whatever clinical procedure you have to perform on them, so be very patient and warm to them so that they will gain your trust.
The second tip is to be stern with them. Your job is to get your task done no matter what. Your goal is to help these children get better and the only way to do that is by completing whatever clinical task you are assigned to do. You have to be stern with them and not feel bad if they are crying and uncooperative. Sometimes no matter how kind and warm you are with them, children will always trash and try to run away out of fear, so be stern!
If you want to feel bad about your diet, all you have to do is scroll through Netflix and you can find at least one documentary that will confirm that your diet is wrong! Most of the time we hear that we are eating too much meat, too much gluten, and too much dairy. In my experience, it’s not so much about what we’re eating but how much we’re eating and where it comes from. When I was living in Spain and traveling throughout Europe, those skinny Europeans were eating all the same things that we do and didn’t have nearly the extent of health problems that we have because of our “American” diet (I use quotes because it’s hard to say what the “American” diet is anymore).
Food In Europe
In France, they ate more saturated fat and cholesterol laden foods than anywhere else I traveled. Wine, cheese, bread, and fatty choices of meat were all commonplace. Spain was similar but different. Alcohol was ungodly cheap…I’m talking $1.50 in U.S. currency for a bottle of drinkable red wine. It tasted better than Berringer’s or Copper Key any day. But in Spain they ate tons of seafood, cheese, and pork which we are often told we should avoid.
I’m not saying that free healthcare plays a role in all of this but it is worth a mention that in Europe they have access to free healthcare and are perhaps more diligent about visiting the doctor and nipping problems in the bud before they turn into medical conditions. Also, in Europe it is not in your best interest to allow yourself to get fat. Space is limited in cities and they take a more dim view of people who are overweight. Not to be mean, but in the United States we have a tendency to skirt around the problem. It’s not the extra sixty pounds you’re carrying that is causing your high blood pressure or your sleep apnea –we can give you a pill for that.
I wish everyone could have a doctor that actually cared about them enough to tell them the hard truth.
There are a lot of medical assistant schools in the united states that offer a program in medical assisting. While it’s great that there are many options to choose from – it boils down to finding the best fit for you. Which is to say, finding a program that offers the most hands-on experience and training that you require in order to successfully land a career, and become a certified and employed medical assistant, who is qualified enough to work full time and be offered benefits.
So why is it Important to Choose a Program with Internships?
It’s important to choose a program with internships because it is the only thing that counts as work experience. While you may receive some hands-on training through lab work in courses throughout your program – it does not count as actually being employed. The importance of internships is that they are exactly like having a real job under an employer. You work a typical shift and have the same duties as any regular medical assistant. Because of this students gain actual experience as a medical assistant, and they can add it on to their resume.
Why Does this Matter?
This matters because employers in this day and age are looking for candidates who have applicable experience. Managers do not have time to sit down and train every single new employee from the basics all the way to the more complex job duties. So the more applicable experience a post graduate has the better his or her chances of getting hired, or being picked over other candidates.
One last positive quality of the externship is that it builds confidence in post graduates. They become familiar with the job during their internship, and once they graduate they know what they are doing.
Medical assistants who enroll in a certification program, whether through a technical college or seminar, will receive a great deal of training that adds a great deal of diversity to their talents and qualifications. Because of these varying talents medical assistants can work a number of jobs within the health care profession.
As a matter of fact, a lot of colleges that offer a program in medical assisting will have relationships with local employers. These relationships usually create internship possibilities for students so that they may get hands-on experience in a real world work environment. This is why potential medical assistant students should always choose a school with internships listed as a required course core.
The tasks that medical assistants preform vary from:
Administrative duties: recording patient information, processing payments, keeping track of patient records and files, re-stocking supplies for the work area, scheduling and arranging appointments, making arrangements for patients to visit specialists, and many more.
Clinical duties: taking temperature and blood pressure, interviewing patients and writing down their symptoms for the doctor, and sanitizing patient rooms after checkup.
Some of the facilities that medical assistants might be qualified to work in include:
Physician’s office – MA’s are usually used in doctor’s offices for their administrative qualifications and sometimes their clinical skills.
Clinics – Much like in a physician’s office, MA’s are used for their administrative duties, however, they tend to do more clinical tasks than they would at any other facility.
This is just a small list of possible places an MA may find a career in. Always make sure to check with your college’s career placement office, or career development office for possible interviews or call for resumes, they are always building relationships with new employers and filling in the gaps of employment.