Skip to main content

*School of Health Sciences*

Library and Learning Services information hub for all things School of Health Sciences.

Medical Assistant

Welcome to the Medical Assistant guide!

If you have questions or comments about this guide, please contact Emily Gilbert, Librarian for the School of Health Sciences, or Anna Phan, Learning Services Coordinator for the School of Health Sciences.

Though Medical Assistants do not work extensively with medical codes, some basic coding knowledge is required. The following eBooks are a good reference for looking up medical codes.

 The databases below will provide you access to full-text articles from professional magazines and journals.

          

 

For a full and comprehensive walkthrough of Visible Body as a whole (all modules), check out this webinar from Ovid.

Flashcards are a fabulous way to test your knowledge and identify where you may need additional practice.  For tips on how to create and effectively use flashcards, watch the quick 10-minute video below.  For resources to create your own flashcards, click here or check out the links below the video.

   

Consult the Study Skills page in the Student Success Guide for tips on how to study on the go, how to find helpful study toolsand how to be a successful Rasmussen student (as told by other students!). You may also want to consider forming a study group with your online classmates.  Click here to find out how!

 

 

 

 

If you want additional help brushing up on Health Sciences or general education topics such as math, consider signing up for FREE tutorials from Khan Academy. 

Loading

Medical Assistant Career Information

Trouble viewing the preview above? Click below the download the file.

MA Interview Question Preparation

Tell me about yourself. This is one of the most commonly asked interview questions. Be sure that you are speaking to your “professional self” when responding to this question. Rely on your resume as an outline to respond to this question. DO NOT talk about your personal life (i.e. I am a mom…. I am (age)…. etc.)

Why did you choose a career in this field? Discuss your interest in the Medical Assisting field, how school has helped to solidify your decision about working as a Medical Assistant and any personal or professional examples that help to support your passion for Medical Assisting.


What experience do you have in this field? Speak to your MA labs and courses, any healthcare experience that you have, and any transferable skills, volunteer experience or internship/externship experiences that are relatable as well.
What do you know about our organization/company? Know the company’s current issues, their mission statement and the major players in the industry. DO YOUR RESEARCH. This is your opportunity to use compliments (within reason) and news-worthy information to outshine the rest of the competition. I can’t state enough to DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Why do you want to work for our organization? Similar to the last question, you need to know information about the organization, the position and your skills and qualifications. Be prepared to align your professional mission to their mission and speak to how you will make a positive impact.

Please describe your strengths and a weakness. Nobody wants to admit to having a weakness. I always suggest starting out with a weakness that does not directly impact the job that you are interviewing for and let them know what you have been doing to improve upon that weakness. FOR EXAMPLE: Perhaps you have a fear of public speaking or speaking in front of large crowds; this will not directly impact your job or your patients. You might be able to state that you have been working on overcoming this fear through the group presentations within your schooling, but still feel that this skill could use additional work. Then go on to speak about a couple of your strengths that directly correlate to Medical Assisting.

Can you give an example of your problem-solving ability? Give a specific example of where you used critical thinking and problem solving to find an innovative way to work out an issue with positive results.

Tell me about your ability to multitask. An employer wants to know that you know how to manage your work day when things comes up that distracts you; an employer wants to know that you can prioritize, time manage and complete your primary tasks – caring for your patients. Have a really good example to share when crafting a response.

Why did you leave your last position? This is not the time to divulge all the dirt on your old boss, coworkers, or your poor work conditions. Even if your last job was the worst job you ever had, nobody needs to know this. If you have nothing positive to say, just keep it short and respectful and say you left to pursue other opportunities. You can talk about what you learned, how you grew with your previous employer, and what has prepared you to take the next step in your career.

What would your co-workers say about you? This may be a difficult question, but given some time to think about it, you will probably remember something amazing someone said about you. Use that information here. It is kind of like having your co-worker there speaking on your behalf. Be confident about your abilities and successes.

Give an example of a time you had to deal with an angry co-worker, customer or patient that was upset. How did you handle the situation? Be sure to give an example about a time when you diffused the situation on your own without having to take it to your supervisor.

Have you ever been in a situation where you struggled with another employee? Always remain positive when describing previous co-workers or supervisors. Think about a time that you had a disagreement with a co-worker and describe how you negotiated, talked through things and came to a mutually satisfactory resolution. This questions is designed to show your ability to react in a professional and direct manner. Be sure to explain your role, the situation and what you learned.

You noticed your preceptor has not washed their hands prior to patient care/ didn’t glove for an injection. How would you handle this situation? A good response to this question will show your ability to think quickly and in a clever way without compromising respect for the provider or draw attention of this to the patient.

Can you give me an example of a time that you went “above and beyond” your normal responsibilities? This example should be something specific which translates to quality needed to succeed in the position. You can speak to extra time that you took to do something well to support someone else, or how your attention to detail on something made a positive impact on the team overall in some way.

What experience and comfort level do you have with electronic health records? You should be able to recall skills and information from your courses in regard to EHRs and you can mention any computer experience from prior jobs, school, volunteer work and how quickly you learn and adapt to new software technology.

What is your comfort level in working with a healthcare team and provider? If you are preparing to interview for externship, use any professional examples that you have if you have them. If you do not have any experience in healthcare, then think about teams that you have worked on and use examples from that focusing on support and well as team effort with a positive outcome. Also include anything that you discussed and learned about in your MA program. If you are interviewing post-externship, be sure to focus on your experiences with the team at the externship site.

What does HIPAA mean to you? HIPAA is a huge concern for medical providers and they expect their employees to take HIPAA very seriously. Confidentiality violations can result in extremely expensive fines. Be prepared to talk about specific confidentiality procedures when taking down patient information, walking away from your computer, and speaking on the phone to patients or other medical providers.

Give an example of an obstacle or major problem that you had to overcome. Go over an event or some change in direction professionally that you might have been initially uncomfortable with but that turned into a positive experience.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In today’s competitive job market, interviewers are looking for any “red flag” to use as an excuse not to hire someone. So you could be unfairly eliminated from contention if you answer this question in a way that even hints this is not the one and only job of your dreams. Hiring managers don’t generally enjoy recruiting, hiring, and training new people. It can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Your interviewer does not want to invest time and effort in someone who is already planning to leave for something better as soon as it comes along (whether that’s a job that’s a better fit, grad school, or your own business). Keep your response general and truthful, but broad enough that it doesn’t raise doubts about your commitment to the MA field and the healthcare organization. (EXAMPLE: “My goal right now is to find a position within a healthcare organization where I can grow and take on new challenges over time. Ultimately, I’d like to assume more management responsibilities; but most importantly, I want to work for an organization where I can build a career.”)

What kind of salary do you require? Be prepared to address this type of question if it is asked. Do your research on what the salary range might be for the type of position that you are interviewing for and the city that you will be working in. Be sure to mention the salary RANGE, and mention that your salary is negotiable based on the full compensation package.


Do you have any questions for me? Have a few (or perhaps more than a few) questions prepared to ask the employer. The employer will assume that you are really not all that attracted to the position or the company if you have absolutely no questions. Intelligent questions establish you as a prepared and respectful individual, and that you are truly interested in the position that you are interviewing for, and the company that you are interviewing with. Some examples of question to consider asking at the end of the interview are:

  • How many patients do you assist on a daily basis?
  • What opportunities are there for professional development or advancement?
  • How would you describe a typical day in the office?
  • What are the first priorities for this position?
  • What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role? OR Are there any skills needed for this position that we have not discussed? (This gives you to opportunity to speak more about why you would be a good fit, and emphasize more of your qualifications.)
  • What are the biggest challenges facing the company / department right now?
  • In what way is performance measured and reviewed?
  • What is your timeframe for filling the position? OR what are the next steps in the interview process?
  • How might I contact you to follow up?

DO NOT ASK:

  • What does this company do? – you should already know this from your research
  • What are the benefits? – Salary and benefits can be discussed once the position is offered
  • Did I get the job?
  • Why did the last person in my position leave?
  • Is there any way to consider an alternate schedule?

Optimal Resume Instructions

Career Services recommends the use of this platform, as described below, to be able to provide you with resume, cover letter, thank you letter or mock interview feedback.
Upon completing a submission to the Review Center, you will receive feedback via email within 72 hours.

Instructions for Registration

  1. Go to https://rasmussen.optimalresume.com/
  2. “Create New Account”
  3. Follow the directions to validate your account using your student email address.
  4. Check your student email for the code
  5. Enter the code in the appropriate box on the website and click submit
  6. Create your “User Profile” (input your information as you want it on your resume)
  7. Then complete the “Education” portion; click save & continue button at bottom of page
  8. Indicate which campus you are enrolled in; click save & continue
  9. Once your account is started…

You will now be viewing the document center. This is where you can create a new resume, cover letter, utilize interviewing videos to practice answering questions; and all can be sent to your Career Services Advisor for feedback. IF YOU HAVE TECHNICIAL ISSUES, PLEASE CONTACT PERSONAL SUPPORT AT 1-866-349-4357

Resume Creation

  1. Click Create New Resume
  2. Name your resume and click on START RESUME
  3. Click CONTINUE under the “Browse Samples” option
  4. Select the Rasmussen School of Health Sciences
  5. Review samples from your career field. Once you find a sample that you would like to use to create your resume, click USE THIS SAMPLE (green button at the top of your selected document)
  6. Be sure to edit each section to assure that the information professionally represents YOU
  7. Submit your resume to the Review Center (3rd button on blue tool bar above your document). Select the Review Group (your campus) and the Reviewer (your Career Services Advisor)


7 Helpful Tips

  1. Include a strong professional statement at the top of your document and highlight any unique skills and traits that the employer is looking for (i.e. Bilingual; years of experience that can translate to the position; unique skill that helps you to standout) DO NOT USE AN OBJECTIVE STATEMENT. Objective statements speak to what you want. You need to speak to what the employer wants.
  2. Utilizing the O Net tool can help to provide ideas on what skills and qualifications to highlight based on your specific field of study.
  3. Use field-related skills in your Skills/Qualifications section. Stay away from statements such as “Hard Worker, Team Player, etc.” These are easy to say but hard to prove to an employer. Emphasized those healthcare skills that are specific to your profession.
  4. Utilizing the action verb tool can really help you to develop strong accomplishment statement under each position that you have held.
  5. Section Instructions – this will help you to identify what should be written in each area if you are stuck on what to include.
  6. Avoid including “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom of your resume. This is assumed information and takes up valuable space on your document. References are to be put on a separate page and only given to the employer when requested.
  7. Use spell check – always!

QUICK TIPS TO HELP YOU WRITE AN ATTENTION-GRABBING MA COVER LETTER

  • Address each letter to a specific person. Make phone calls or research online to find out who the cover letter should be addressed to. If you absolutely cannot find a name, Dear Hiring Manager will work.
  • Avoid gimmicky openings. It usually isn’t a good thing to begin a cover letter with the kind of jazzy openings corporations use in direct mail pieces. While such openings might attract attention, they often come off as forced, insincere or unintentionally shallow. You’re better off simply stating in the first paragraph why you are writing and why it is in the reader’s best interest to pay attention.
  • Write the way you speak. Important as it is to honor the rules of Standard English, it’s just as important in the cover letters to avoid stiff, bureaucratic jargon. Write to inform, not to impress. (Hint: If you’re tempted to use a word in a letter that you wouldn’t use in person, replace it with a word that’s more conversational.)
  • Incorporate information that reflects your knowledge of the healthcare facility and the position that you are applying to.
  • Check and recheck every letter you send for typos, bad grammar and spelling mistakes; usage and grammar mistakes in letters frequently turn off potential employers, regardless of your qualifications. These errors lead people to conclude that if you aren’t careful enough to avoid mistakes in your search, you’re likely to be careless when performing the job. Find someone, such as your Career Services Advisor, who’s good at proofreading, and ask that person to review everything you write. Use the tools within the technology you are typing with to initially check the document, then let an individual or two review it.
     

Trouble viewing the preview above? Click below the download the file.

Trouble viewing the preview above? Click below the download the file.

Loading

Database Search Tips

  

  • Library databases are collections of resources, including full-text articles, books, and encyclopedias, that are searchable.
  • Searching library databases is different than searching Google. Best results are achieved when using Keywords linked with Boolean Operators
  • Applying Limiters such as full-text, publication date, resource type, language, geographic location, and subject help to refine search results.
  • Utilizing Phrases or Fields, in addition to an awareness of Stop Words, can focus your search and retrieve more useful results.
  • Have questions? Connect with a Librarian through the Library Live Chat for assistance.

Boolean Operators connect keywords or concepts logically to retrieve relevant articles, books, and other resources.  There are three Boolean Operators:

  • AND
  • OR
  • NOT

Using AND 

  • Narrows search results
  • Connects two or more keywords/concepts
  • All keywords/concepts connected with "and" must be in an article or resource to appear in the search results list

Example: The result list will include resources that include both keywords -- "distracted driving" and "texting" -- in the same article or resource, represented in the shaded area where the circles intersect (area shaded in purple).

Using OR

  • Broadens search results ("OR means more!")
  • Connects two or more synonyms or related keywords/concepts
  • Resources appearing in the results list will include any of the terms connected with the OR connector

Example:  The result list will include resources that include the keyword "texting" OR the keyword "cell phone" (entire area shaded in blue); either is acceptable.

Using NOT

  • Excludes keywords or concepts from the search
  • Narrows results by removing resources that contain the keyword or term connect with the NOT connector
  • Use sparingly

Example: The result list will include all resources that includes the term "car" (green area) but will exclude any resource that includes the term "motorcycle" (purple area) even though the term car may be present in the resource.

A library database searches for keywords throughout the entire resource record including the full-text of the resource, subject headings, tags, bibliographic information, etc.

Keywords:

  • Natural language words or short phrases that describe a concept or idea
  • Can retrieve too few or irrelevant results due to full-text searching (What words would an author use to write about this topic?)
  • Provide flexibility in a search
  • Must consider synonyms or related terms to improve search results
  • TIP: Build a Keyword List

Example:  The keyword list above was developed to find resources that discuss how texting while driving results in accidents.  Notice that there are synonyms (texting and "text messaging"), related terms ("cell phones" and texting), and spelling variations ("cell phone" and cellphone).  Using keywords when searching full-text requires consideration of various words that express an idea or concept.

Subject Headings

  • Predetermined "controlled vocabulary" database editors apply to resources to describe topical coverage of content
  • Can retrieve more precise search results because every article assigned that subject heading will be retrieved.
  • Provide less flexibility in a search
  • Can be combined with a keyword search to focus search results.
  • TIP: Consult database subject heading list or subject headings assigned to relevant resources

Example 1: In EBSCO's Academic Search Complete, clicking on the "Subject Terms" tab provides access to the entire subject heading list used in the database.  It also allows a search for specific subject terms.

 

Example 2:  A subject term can be incorporated into a keyword search by clicking on the down arrow next to "Select a Field" and selecting "Subject Terms" from the dropdown list.  Also, notice how subject headings are listed below the title of the resource providing another strategy for discovering subject headings used in the database.

When a search term is more than one word, enclose the phrase in quotation marks to retrieve more precise and accurate results.  Using quotation marks around a term will search it as a "chunk," searching for those particular words together in that order within the text of a resource. 

Examples:

"cell phone"

"distracted driving"

"car accident"

TIP: In some databases, neglecting to enclose phrases in quotation marks will insert the AND Boolean connector between each word resulting in unintended search results.

 

Truncation provides an option to search for a root of a keyword in order to retrieve resources that include variations of that word.  This feature can be used to broaden search results, although some results may not be relevant.  To truncate a keyword, type an asterisk (*) following the root of the word.

For example:

 

Library databases provide a variety of tools to limit and refine search results.  Limiters provide the ability to limit search results to resources having specified characteristics including:

  • Full text
  • Resource type
  • Publication date
  • Language
  • Geographic location
  • Subject

In both the EBSCO and ProQuest databases, the limiting tools are located in the left panel of the results page.

                                                 EBSCO                                                     ProQuest

         

The short video below provides a demonstration of how to use limiters to refine a list of search results.

Each resource in a library database is stored in a record.  In addition to the full-text of the resources, searchable Fields are attached that typically include:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Journal title
  • Date of Publication
  • Abstract
  • Subject Headings
  • Publisher

Incorporating Fields into your search can assist in focusing and refining search results by limiting the results to those resources that include specific information in a particular field.

In both EBSCO and ProQuest databases, selecting the Advanced Search option will allow Fields to be included in a search.

For example, in the Advanced Search option in EBSCO's Academic Search Complete database, clicking on the down arrow next to "Select a Field" provides a list of fields that can be searched within that database.  Select the field and enter the information in the text box to the left to use this feature.

Stop words are short, commonly used words--articles, prepositions, and pronouns-- that are automatically dropped from a search.  Typical stop words include:

  • a
  • an
  • and
  • the
  • also
  • but
  • for
  • in
  • is
  • of
  • so
  • which
  • when
  • was

In library databases, a stop word will not be searched even if it is included in a phrase enclosed in quotation marks.  In some instances, a word will be substituted for the stop word to allow for the other words in the phrase to be searched in proximity to one another within the text of the resource.

For example, if you searched company of America, your result list will include these variatons:

  • company in America
  • company of America
  • company for America

This short video demonstrates how to create a search string -- keywords connected with Boolean operators -- to use in a library database search to retrieve relevant resources for any research assignment.

Loading