The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that almost 4 million babies are born each year in the U.S. Medical assistants will be needed to assist the 76 million children from neonate to adolescent who are living in the U.S. today. This means there is a great need for medical assistants in the pediatric field.
What Is Pediatric Medical Assisting?
Pediatrics is a medical specialty that involves the care of babies and children up to the age of 18. A successful pediatric medical assistant will generally like children and be able to talk with them on their level. The medical assistant will work with the pediatrician to monitor children’s development.
The developmental stages that a child will go through include physical development, intellectual and cognitive development, psycho-emotional development, and social development.
- Physical Development – the actual changes in the body
- Intellectual and Cognitive Development – the thinking skills that are developed
- Psycho-Emotional Development – the changes in feelings
- Social Development – the way a child relates to others
How can the medical assistant help the pediatrician during the examination? Much of the anxiety a child feels before an examination or procedure can be alleviated by simply explaining what will happen and minding the child’s feelings.
The medical assistant will want to speak to the child while sitting at his or her level, giving positive reinforcement and respect when the child cooperates. Some adolescents can feel awkward when examined, and the medical assistant will want to be aware of their feelings.
Children and babies should be seen on a regular basis by the physician, especially to administer vaccinations and, while healthy, to set a baseline for future visits.
Immunizations are given to children to protect them from infectious diseases. Antibodies are created by babies and children when they are vaccinated with a weakened strain of the virus.
Some diseases that an immunization can defend against include hepatitis B, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. Medical assistants will be responsible for scheduling appointments and follow-ups based on the immunization schedule. They will be responsible also for proper storage of the vaccines to make sure they are effective when used.
According to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, the pediatrician’s office is responsible for keeping information about immunizations in the child’s permanent record. This information includes the vaccine type, manufacturer and lot number, the date of administration, the administration site/route, the vaccine’s expiration date, and who administered the vaccine.
Pediatric Screening and Diagnostic Tests
The medical assistant’s role during a pediatric exam includes taking vital signs and body measurements, especially with babies, infants and younger children. These vitals are taken at each office visit by the medical assistant.
The pediatrician will also examine the vision and hearing of the child to identify abnormalities that will need corrective measures. These screenings and diagnostic tests will help identify problems during the child’s growth and development stages.
Pediatric Diseases and Disorders
Many common disorders for children include upper respiratory infections, colds, and viral flu. The medical assistant must be familiar with signs and symptoms of childhood diseases. These childhood diseases may include chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, scarlet fever, and tetanus.
Want to learn more about pediatrics and the medical assistant’s role? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field?
The Medical Assistant program at Hunter Business School prepares competent, entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains required for professional practice.
The Medical Assistant program provides hands-on experience in a medical facility where you can foster professional relationships with real patients. Medical Assistant students spend 160 hours in an externship in a real-world medical work environment where they are supervised and taught in order to gain valuable on-the-job training.
Contact us today to find out more about how to become a medical assistant on Long Island.