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Patient Protection: 5 Safety Rules That Medical Assistants Must Follow

Posted: April 11, 2017

Patient Protection

Did you know that in the United States alone, more than 250,000 people die every year from medical errors? If you become a medical assistant, your most important job will be to guard against these deadly mistakes. But it’s not the only one. Provide clean, healthy, effective care to all of your patients by paying close attention to these safety rules:

1. Don’t Offer Medical Advice

As a medical assistant, you must never lose sight of what advice you are and are not qualified to give. You will spend lots of time with patients, often without doctors or nurses nearby, and may be tempted to answer their questions on your own. Don’t! You might give them the wrong advice. You can offer comfort and help explain what a doctor or nurse has said to the patient, but do not provide medical recommendations. Instead, direct them to the attending physician. If you have any doubt about your qualifications to answer a patient’s question, find someone who will know the right answer.

2. Sterilize With Care

One of your duties will be to hand physicians and nurses the equipment that they need to treat patients. But used or poorly prepared equipment can spread serious diseases from previous patients. That’s why it is essential that you follow proper cleaning procedures. Obey all of the instructions to the letter when sterilizing equipment, and make sure to dispose of any devices that are broken or can only be used once. Even minor contamination can create serious risks for patients.

3. Dispose of Waste

Get rid of contaminated or dangerous items left over when a procedure ends. To do this, you must:

  • Place used needles and other sharp objects pointy end first into specialized sharps containers.
  • Get rid of waste disposal containers when they are three-fourths of the way full.
  • Keep used containers and medical waste away from patients at all times.
  • Follow your facility and community’s official guidelines for waste disposal, at all times.

4. Take Accurate Info

Accurate medical history is vital to a patient’s safety. Whenever you fill out an official form or enter something in a database, make sure to write legibly and include all of the relevant details. If you have any doubts about what you entered, consult a physician to ensure that you did not leave anything out. Failing to adequately report patients’ symptoms, medical histories, and test results may lead the hospital to prescribe the wrong treatment or overlook a serious illness. Reliable records are crucial to your patients’ safety.

5. Follow All Procedures

Depending on local laws and the attending physician’s discretion, you may have to administer medications. You must follow all of the protocols your physician gives you to the letter. Measure the medication exactly and give the correct dosage at the appropriate intervals. Even a small mistake could make the treatment ineffective or dangerous to the patient.

If you have ever considered a career as a Medical Assistant, we can help. Career Quest Learning Centers has a Medical Assistant Diploma Program that you can complete in as little as 35 weeks. For more information, give us a call in Mt. Pleasant at 877-345-8505, in Jackson at 877-365-8144, or in Lansing at 877-481-4930.