Many health care workers need stethoscopes for direct patient care.
However, if you are interested in becoming a medical assistant, you may not be sure if you will need to use a stethoscope or if you will need to purchase your own equipment.
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Does a Medical Assistant Need a Stethoscope?
A medical assistant will certainly use a stethoscope in his or her daily work. Although the medical assistant may not use a stethoscope as frequently as a physician would, it will still be necessary for completing several duties both during school as well as every day on the job.
How Important Is a Stethoscope to the Medical Assistant’s Daily Work?
Keep in mind that the medical assistant has far different job duties than a certified nursing assistant does.
While the certified nursing assistant mainly provides help with activities of daily living and communicates patient needs and concerns with the nursing staff —
— the medical assistant, also known as a clinical assistant, is frequently seen as the right-hand helper for physicians and other health care workers as they perform clinical care.
For most medical assistants, the stethoscope will be used numerous times every day in their roles.
In addition, it will be needed even while the individual is receiving schooling in the on-campus lab as well as during clinical hours.
What Do Medical Assistants Do?
Medical assistants perform some basic patient care tasks while also providing administrative help primarily in clinics.
As a medical assistant, you will find that your time is equally split between hands-on patient care and such tasks as scheduling appointments and dealing with patient records.
You will need to know how to perform EKGs and help with physician examinations, but a prime component of daily patient care for you will be taking vital signs.
When Might You Need a Stethoscope?
Your stethoscope will be indispensable when it comes to taking manual blood pressure readings.
You can also use it to determine heart rate and may need it on occasion to perform a quick check of a patient’s status to report back to a physician.
Will You Need Your Own Stethoscope?
You may think that you will be able to use any stethoscope that you find in your clinic or on your unit.
However, relying on someone else to loan you their stethoscope or hoping that your unit will have a large supply of stethoscopes to be used by all is most likely magical thinking on your part.
If you have ever spent much time around other health care workers, you will know as well as I do that shared medical equipment has a habit of disappearing.
Having your own stethoscope means that you will not be wasting valuable time searching for one.
It also means that it will be clean and ready for you to use. In addition, the earpieces will be ideally suited and sized for your own needs.
How Can Medical Assistants Purchase Stethoscopes?
If you are starting school or have managed to make it through medical assistant school without yet purchasing your own stethoscope, now is the time to do so.
While some stethoscopes can cost several hundred dollars, I have found quite good success with high-quality brands costing $150 or less, such as some of these Littman and MDF stethoscopes.
Comment below about your experiences in having your own stethoscope or in borrowing one from your unit for your daily work.