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August 13, 2021

Healthcare Heroes: UW Health celebrates medical assistants

Madison, Wis. — Today, UW Health honors medical assistants and the indispensable work they do to care for patients and support their colleagues in health care.

Medical assistants, or MAs, work alongside clinicians and health care team members offering a diverse array of care to patients in the clinic setting.

“We are really at the roots of the health care system,” said Kelsey Steele, medical assistant, UW Health. “We are often the first person a patient interacts with, and we’re proud of the work we do to support not only our patients but physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses.”

MAs are often responsible for important preparation work like taking a patient’s vitals, noting patients’ allergies, needs and concerns, and assisting with clinic procedures and exams. Medical assistants are also instrumental in supporting patients by explaining things like medication regimens, special diets, and pre- and post-procedural care.

“I absolutely love taking care of the patients. That’s the best part of the job,” said, Anna Thompson, medical assistant, UW Health. “In my case, I see patients throughout their pregnancy and after they give birth and it’s fantastic to develop those relationships over time.”

MAs also work closely with laboratory services, preparing laboratory specimens for testing and performing select laboratory tests, ensuring patients understand the lab tests they are receiving and increasing the capacity of medical labs to provide more diagnoses to patients faster.

MAs complete accredited medical assistant programs and receive certification to care for patients in primary care, specialty care and urgent care. Some turn the profession into a lifelong career, others sometimes start as medical assistants and eventually shift to other professions in health care such as nursing.

“We would be lost without medical assistants, they are so vital to the remarkable care we provide to our patients,” said Shabvon Johnson, RN, director of ambulatory operations, UW Health. “The support and compassion they provide to our patients inspires all of us in health care and I’m proud of the work they do every day.”

While the pandemic has inspired many people to enter the health care industry to help those in need, the nation is still experiencing a shortage of medical assistants. UW Health currently has several available positions for medical assistants and is eager to fill openings throughout Wisconsin .

Listen to some of our medical assistants explain the vital role they play in patient care