Medical assistants deserve more appreciation - this is how you relieve your MFA

The workload of medical assistants has always been very high. But since the beginning of the pandemic, even the very stress-resistant MFAs have been reaching their physical and mental limits - and in some cases beyond. Read now how you can relieve your employees.

7.5.2024
Practice staff
6
min reading time
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Without medical assistants, everyday work in the practice would be unthinkable. Especially in times of the pandemic, they are an important pillar without which the healthcare system in Germany would not function. Although MFAs are so important, many complain about a lack of appreciation. Not even the German government wants to pay this undoubtedly system-relevant staff a Corona bonus for their outstanding commitment.

Medical assistants work at the limit  

The daily work of an MFA has always been stressful. The phone rings almost continuously, while patients want to be served at the reception counter, while the doctor also has an important request that must be dealt with immediately. Medical assistants therefore have to perform many tasks synchronously and under enormous time pressure. Even before Corona, this was not an easy job.

But in view of the pandemic, the situation in German doctors' practices has become even more acute. After all, about 13 out of 14 Corona patients are treated in practices. MFAs therefore have to answer urgent questions from patients for quarantine regulations, for example, in addition to their regular duties, and these often change. They themselves are subject to ever-changing testing and vaccination rules. In addition, they have a high risk of becoming infected and must also enforce government hygiene rules, which not every patient understands.

Anzahl der Corona-Patienten, die in Arztpraxen behandelt werden.

The documentation chaos makes things even more difficult, as the formalities are also constantly changing. A good example is the billing for the corona test. The forms and codes for this are constantly being updated.  

Study shows high workload in practice management

The fact that the stress level for medical assistants is very high is also confirmed by a study conducted by Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. The scientists surveyed around 900 MFAs regarding their psychosocial working conditions. The result: the workload and stress to which MFAs are exposed in their everyday working lives is disproportionately high. Three out of four medical assistants state that the effort they put into their work is greater than the rewards it brings.

This (financial) underestimation of MFAs is proven: On average, they earn around 2,000 to 2,800 euros per month. With further training, they can reach 3,900 euros. However, given the workload, overtime and, in some cases, shift work, this is a low wage.

No corona bonus for medical assistants

Many MFAs therefore rightly feel that their important work is not sufficiently valued. But the final straw has now been the announcement by the German government that it will not pay a Corona bonus to medical assistants. Nurses in hospitals, on the other hand, will be rewarded for their efforts with a bonus.

This is a slap in the face for many medical assistants. At the end of 2021, numerous MFAs therefore submitted letters with personal accounts of their daily work to the Federal Ministry of Health in a protest campaign. They are supported in their request by many federations. For example, the president of the Federal Medical Association of Bremen is also on the side of the MFAs: 

Die medizinische Fachangestellte arbeiten an ihrem Limit.

MFAs address the federal government with letters of protest

The Association of Medical Professions has published some of these letters of protest anonymously on its website. Some of the experiences described are very personal and bear witness to how the workload - and the lack of appreciation for it - can take its toll on the psychological substance.

Too little salary with too many overtime hours

Many MFAs feel they are at a disadvantage compared to nurses and are paid too little. In addition, there is the enormous amount of overtime. One MFA writes about this in her protest letter:

"We MFA now work up to 14 hrs a day without breaks for a pittance!!!! Nurses and geriatric nurses earn almost 3 times what I do and are singled out more than MFA."

High risk of infection and bureaucracy without end

Especially the ever-changing requirements of the federal government regarding hygiene measures are very stressful for MFAs. Especially when the appropriate materials for this are not available in sufficient quantities, as one medical assistant writes:

"We are the ones who have the first contacts with most of the infected people. Every day new ordinances. Protective clothing came sparingly. Swabs, vaccinations everything must be organized. Bureaucracy without end."

MFAs at the psychological stress limit

And even long-time employees are turning to the Federal Ministry of Health for help. This is because the rush of patients is so high that MFAs can only cope with it under high emotional stress:

"Dear Government, Mr. Lauterbach, I have been an MFA for 24 years. I love my profession, have never regretted it. But this situation is really too much. We are 3 MFAs with 2 doctors, daily infection consultation with up to 40 patients [...]. Over 2000 Pat. in the quarter, Saturday vaccination campaign 500 Pat., 200 calls daily is nothing + email contact. Sometimes I cry already at 9.00 because I can't do it anymore."

Relieve your MFA

Clearly, things cannot go on like this. Medical assistants deserve more recognition - both socially and financially. In addition, the stress level must be reduced in the long term. After all, a practice cannot function without medical assistants. Due to the high workload, there is already an acute shortage of staff. At the same time, the profession is very unattractive for young people under these conditions, which will exacerbate the staff shortage in the future. This makes it all the more important for you as a doctor to make your MFA's everyday working life as pleasant as possible.

Therefore, take good care of the backbone of your practice. Treat your employees with appreciation and respect. Always show them how satisfied you are with their work. Also, try to reduce the workload of your MFAs wherever possible. There are many software solutions that specialize in making your MFAs' day-to-day work easier.

Nelly as an assistant for your assistance

For example, your medical assistant can save 90 minutes every day with Nelly's software solution. This is possible thanks to the innovative patient registration via QR code. Your patients don't need an external tablet and don't have to download an app. All they need is their smartphone. Your medical assistant doesn't have to print out the medical history form, scan it afterwards or shred it after a certain period of time.

Zeitersparnis für Ihre MFA durch Nelly.

Simplify the lives of your medical assistants

Make the stressful working day of your MFA a little easier. Make sure that your practice remains manageable even when there is a rush of patients. And above all: make your MFA happy so that she will also enjoy working in your practice in the future. We will advise you on your individual case free of charge and without obligation!

Contact Nelly now!

The personal designations used in this article always refer equally to all persons. For the sake of better readability, we have refrained from using double or opposite names.

Without medical assistants, everyday work in the practice would be unthinkable. Especially in times of the pandemic, they are an important pillar without which the healthcare system in Germany would not function. Although MFAs are so important, many complain about a lack of appreciation. Not even the German government wants to pay this undoubtedly system-relevant staff a Corona bonus for their outstanding commitment.

Medical assistants work at the limit  

The daily work of an MFA has always been stressful. The phone rings almost continuously, while patients want to be served at the reception counter, while the doctor also has an important request that must be dealt with immediately. Medical assistants therefore have to perform many tasks synchronously and under enormous time pressure. Even before Corona, this was not an easy job.

But in view of the pandemic, the situation in German doctors' practices has become even more acute. After all, about 13 out of 14 Corona patients are treated in practices. MFAs therefore have to answer urgent questions from patients for quarantine regulations, for example, in addition to their regular duties, and these often change. They themselves are subject to ever-changing testing and vaccination rules. In addition, they have a high risk of becoming infected and must also enforce government hygiene rules, which not every patient understands.

Anzahl der Corona-Patienten, die in Arztpraxen behandelt werden.

The documentation chaos makes things even more difficult, as the formalities are also constantly changing. A good example is the billing for the corona test. The forms and codes for this are constantly being updated.  

Study shows high workload in practice management

The fact that the stress level for medical assistants is very high is also confirmed by a study conducted by Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. The scientists surveyed around 900 MFAs regarding their psychosocial working conditions. The result: the workload and stress to which MFAs are exposed in their everyday working lives is disproportionately high. Three out of four medical assistants state that the effort they put into their work is greater than the rewards it brings.

This (financial) underestimation of MFAs is proven: On average, they earn around 2,000 to 2,800 euros per month. With further training, they can reach 3,900 euros. However, given the workload, overtime and, in some cases, shift work, this is a low wage.

No corona bonus for medical assistants

Many MFAs therefore rightly feel that their important work is not sufficiently valued. But the final straw has now been the announcement by the German government that it will not pay a Corona bonus to medical assistants. Nurses in hospitals, on the other hand, will be rewarded for their efforts with a bonus.

This is a slap in the face for many medical assistants. At the end of 2021, numerous MFAs therefore submitted letters with personal accounts of their daily work to the Federal Ministry of Health in a protest campaign. They are supported in their request by many federations. For example, the president of the Federal Medical Association of Bremen is also on the side of the MFAs: 

Die medizinische Fachangestellte arbeiten an ihrem Limit.

MFAs address the federal government with letters of protest

The Association of Medical Professions has published some of these letters of protest anonymously on its website. Some of the experiences described are very personal and bear witness to how the workload - and the lack of appreciation for it - can take its toll on the psychological substance.

Too little salary with too many overtime hours

Many MFAs feel they are at a disadvantage compared to nurses and are paid too little. In addition, there is the enormous amount of overtime. One MFA writes about this in her protest letter:

"We MFA now work up to 14 hrs a day without breaks for a pittance!!!! Nurses and geriatric nurses earn almost 3 times what I do and are singled out more than MFA."

High risk of infection and bureaucracy without end

Especially the ever-changing requirements of the federal government regarding hygiene measures are very stressful for MFAs. Especially when the appropriate materials for this are not available in sufficient quantities, as one medical assistant writes:

"We are the ones who have the first contacts with most of the infected people. Every day new ordinances. Protective clothing came sparingly. Swabs, vaccinations everything must be organized. Bureaucracy without end."

MFAs at the psychological stress limit

And even long-time employees are turning to the Federal Ministry of Health for help. This is because the rush of patients is so high that MFAs can only cope with it under high emotional stress:

"Dear Government, Mr. Lauterbach, I have been an MFA for 24 years. I love my profession, have never regretted it. But this situation is really too much. We are 3 MFAs with 2 doctors, daily infection consultation with up to 40 patients [...]. Over 2000 Pat. in the quarter, Saturday vaccination campaign 500 Pat., 200 calls daily is nothing + email contact. Sometimes I cry already at 9.00 because I can't do it anymore."

Relieve your MFA

Clearly, things cannot go on like this. Medical assistants deserve more recognition - both socially and financially. In addition, the stress level must be reduced in the long term. After all, a practice cannot function without medical assistants. Due to the high workload, there is already an acute shortage of staff. At the same time, the profession is very unattractive for young people under these conditions, which will exacerbate the staff shortage in the future. This makes it all the more important for you as a doctor to make your MFA's everyday working life as pleasant as possible.

Therefore, take good care of the backbone of your practice. Treat your employees with appreciation and respect. Always show them how satisfied you are with their work. Also, try to reduce the workload of your MFAs wherever possible. There are many software solutions that specialize in making your MFAs' day-to-day work easier.

Nelly as an assistant for your assistance

For example, your medical assistant can save 90 minutes every day with Nelly's software solution. This is possible thanks to the innovative patient registration via QR code. Your patients don't need an external tablet and don't have to download an app. All they need is their smartphone. Your medical assistant doesn't have to print out the medical history form, scan it afterwards or shred it after a certain period of time.

Zeitersparnis für Ihre MFA durch Nelly.

Simplify the lives of your medical assistants

Make the stressful working day of your MFA a little easier. Make sure that your practice remains manageable even when there is a rush of patients. And above all: make your MFA happy so that she will also enjoy working in your practice in the future. We will advise you on your individual case free of charge and without obligation!

Contact Nelly now!

The personal designations used in this article always refer equally to all persons. For the sake of better readability, we have refrained from using double or opposite names.

Melanie Schröder

Author

Melanie Schröder is founder of contentheldin.de and specializes in blog marketing for tech startups.

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