October 20 is Medical Assistants Day, a great time to explore this important, fast-growing career. Medical assistants provide clinical and administrative support for physicians and other medical professionals by running the front office, drawing blood, administering vaccinations, taking patients’ vital signs and more.
History of National Medical Assistants Day
Medical Assistants Day recognizes the contributions and important work of our nation’s over 190,000 medical assistants according to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). It’s hard to believe that there was a time when all the work that medical assistants do, both administratively and clinically, was not considered a credentialed profession. But in 2016, the AAMA celebrated 60 years of achievements in the groundbreaking field of medical assisting.
Using our “way back machine,” we find that in 1955, the Kansas Medical Assistants gathered to create a national organization to get official recognition as a fully-credentialed medical profession. The group settled on the name, American Association of Medical Assistants, with 78 representatives from 15 states chipping in $5 to start their memberships to help with educational support. But the biggest push for the fledgling organization came with the work of Maxine Williams.
Williams co-founded the AAMA and became its first president in 1956. She’s appreciated today as the powerhouse behind the organization. Williams believed that the entire health care industry would be greatly enhanced by the work of certified medical assistants. To help with this effort, in 1959 Williams donated $200 out of her own pocket to assist needy students who wanted to enter the field. That seed money has turned into the Maxine Williams Scholarship Fund, an annual scholarship that helps worthy students to this day.Medical Assistants Day is actually part of an entire week devoted to not only informing the public about the critical work that medical assistants do daily, but the day is also used to recruit interested people who want to know more about one of America’s fastest-growing medical professions. There are panel discussions on taking the exams, certification, internships and more. To get more information, log onto the AAMA website.
National Medical Assistants Day timeline
The American Association of Medical Assistants was established as the only association exclusively devoted to medical assistants.
AAMA was recognized as an official accrediting agency for medical assisting programs in public and private institutions by the The U.S. Office of Education.
Medical Assistants Week is promoted as a week-long event to make the public aware of all the work that certified medical assistants do — with October 23 designated annually as Medical Assistants Day.
More than 450 educational institutions nationwide provided more than 470 accredited medical assisting programs.
National Medical Assistants Day FAQs
When is Medical Assistants Day?
Medical Assistants Day is an annual event on October 23. It’s also part of Medical Assistants Week, which is devoted to helping the public understand what happens in the medical assisting profession.
Is the medical assistant exam difficult?
This test is a required certification for all aspects of medical assisting. The exam is challenging but if you study hard, you can pass it.
Can you take the medical assistant exam without attending school?
It’s possible to become a medical assistant with only a GED or high school diploma but most employers prefer their assistants to be fully credentialed through an accredited institution.
National Medical Assistants Day Activities
Thank a medical assistant
A simple “thank you” will go a long way to showing appreciation to the medical assistants you encounter. But if you’re moved to do something more, leave a card or even a small gift to thank your medical assistant for all the extra work they do to make your visit better.
Spread the word
Use #MedicalAssistantsRecognitionDay to post your appreciation on social media. Tag a medical assistant for extra love!
Let the doctor know
Make sure you inform the doctor of those medical assistants who go out of their way to help you. Many medical professionals write letters of recognition or provide bonuses for their medical assistants.
4 Interesting Roles For The Aspiring Medical Assistant
If you’re good with needles and the sight of blood, earn your phlebotomy certification and assist the phlebotomy team in drawing blood
Allergy & Sinus Assistant
Join an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Specialist and get certified to administer allergy shots.
If you’re good with kids, join a pediatrician’s office and provide comfort and care to the little ones during vaccinations and routine check-ups.
Front Office Administrator
If hands-on patient care isn’t for you, and paperwork is more your style, provide the vital, front office support that every medical office needs to function smoothly.
Why We Love National Medical Assistants Day
They provide support
Whether they’re behind the scenes or manning the front desk, medical assistants make offices run smoothly. Often overlooked, we spotlight them today and celebrate their important work.
We get to learn more about this profession
Medical assistants do so much: welcoming patients, handling patient insurance and billing, arranging hospital admissions, scheduling appointments, collecting specimens, taking electrocardiograms, performing basic lab tests and so much more.
They work hard to keep us healthy
When you visit the doctor, with whom do you spend most of your time? Whether it's the front desk staff, the individual collecting your bio information, or someone performing blood draws, medical assistants perform a variety of vital roles that are often taken for granted.
National Medical Assistants Day dates