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Medical Screeners

The Job

The medical screener is typically the first person a patient sees at a health care facility. They collect patient information such as the patient’s height and weight, the names of the medications they are taking, and why the person is visiting the facility. Some screeners also record vital signs such as pulse rate and blood pressure and perform finger sticks (if they work for a blood bank or plasma donation facility). If possible, they answer any questions the patient has about their appointment (including expected wait time) or directs them to other staff who are better qualified to respond to the question. At some facilities, medical screeners also communicate with patients via the telephone or e-mail or through online video communication technology.

Demand for medical screeners increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of the need to safely screen visitors to medical facilities. During outbreaks of infectious diseases, medical screeners don protective masks and other equipment and conduct temperature checks using non-contact thermometers. They also ask visitors if they have experienced any flu-like symptoms lately or have been in contact with people who have had these symptoms or who had been diagnosed with an infectious disease. If the person’s temperature is higher than an acceptable norm or if the visitor answers any of the aforementioned questions positively, the screener follows an established protocol to direct him or her to a nurse or other health care professional for testing or for further consultation.

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