In your career as a medical assistant (MA), you will need to know how to use various tools to best serve patients. As you progress through the MA program from Chattanooga College, you’ll learn more about this medical assistant equipment and unlock what you need to succeed and become a Nationally Certified Medical Assistant. Some of these tools are relatively simple, and you will quickly get the hang of them. Others will probably require some practice before you can master them.
The 8 Most Common Pieces of Medical Assistant Equipment
All certified medical assistants have learned how to use basic medical assistant equipment properly. We’ve listed a few of these tools below:
This is one of the most recognizable tools in medicine and has even become a symbol of the profession. The stethoscope facilitates the examination by giving the user an auditory window into the patient. Much faster and cheaper than an X-Ray, students in the medical assistant field will learn how to correctly use this device to hear noises within the body near the areas of the heart, lungs, and intestines.
2. Blood Pressure Meter
One of the most common activities for medical assistants is measuring the patient’s vital signs. You will often accomplish this using a blood pressure meter (also known as a sphygmomanometer). There are digital blood pressure units, but the most common blood pressure meter is the traditional dial and inflatable cuff. Measuring blood pressure helps doctors and physicians diagnose health problems earlier.
3. Ear Thermometer
Ear thermometers, also known as tympanic thermometers, measure patients’ temperature using an infrared ray inside the ear canal. Medical assistants commonly use these for children because they are faster and more comfortable than other methods for measuring temperature. One crucial factor to consider is to clean the ear canal thoroughly before measuring, as earwax and ear infections can cause inaccuracies in the reading provided by ear thermometers.
There are several situations where a medical assistant will need to know how to use needles and syringes. These are the tools commonly used by medical professionals to put medication into the patient. As a student, you will learn how to handle these essential pieces of medical assistant equipment correctly and dispose of them safely. Originally, syringes were designed to be used, cleaned, and then re-used from patient to patient. Keeping these tools sterile was an important factor in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Today, medical professionals often use disposable syringes, which don’t require cleaning but are thrown away after one use. This makes safety and sterilization much simpler.
5. Blood Collection Needles
As part of measuring the patient’s vital signs, you will probably take specific measurements such as weight and height. You may also have to take blood samples for testing, depending on the case. As a medical assistant student, you will learn to find the right vein, insert the needle, and collect the correct amount of blood. Once taken, the sample can then be sent to a lab and tested for pathogens, foreign substances, hormone levels, or drugs.
Spirometers measure the patient’s lung capacity. Often, medical assistants assist the patient in using the device and record the device’s readings. Using this device, medical professionals can diagnose specific types of disease, verify symptoms, or check the capacity of the lungs before surgery. There are several different device versions, from fully electronic spirometers to more analog machines. There is also something called an incentive spirometer which is a derivative of the diagnostic device that helps to encourage the improvement of the patient’s lung function.
7. Electrocardiography Unit (EKG)
According to the CDC, the leading cause of death is heart disease. Medical assistants will learn how to set up a patient on an EKG and operate it to monitor and record electrical signals in the heart. As a student, you will learn to take a correct reading from the machine.
The good old-fashioned computer, a device that you might be using right now to read this, is one of the most integral tools used by medical assistants. You will use computers throughout your training as a student and into your career as a source of essential data, a scheduling calendar, and a host of other purposes.
Are You Ready to Launch Your Medical Assisting Career?
At Chattanooga College, you will learn how to use all of these tools and gain the other skills you need to jump into a rewarding and meaningful career field experiencing significant growth. Learn more about our program today!