What DON’T Medical Assistants Do?

Medical assistants have a set range of responsibilities, but there are certain tasks they are not allowed to carry out. If they exceed their bounds and participate in an unauthorized activity — for instance, dispensing medical advice — they could not only cause harm to a patient, but also make the employer liable for damages.

Laws change from state to state, but in general, medical assistants do not:

  • Interpret data, make assessments or diagnose symptoms.
  • Prescribe medications or refill prescription requests.
  • Dispense medication samples.
  • Perform triage.
  • Operate laser equipment.
  • Inject medications, unless permitted by state law.
  • Administer or discontinue IVs, unless permitted by state law.
  • Administer an anesthetic agent, except topical numbing agents.
  • Perform tests that involve the penetration of human tissues, except skin tests and drawing blood.

Some of these activities may be permissible in conjunction with a qualified medical professional. Check your state’s laws and verify your responsibilities with your employer before you begin work as a medical assistant.

To see a list of the tasks medical assistants DO carry out, see our general medical assistant job description.