MA's being used as "nurses" - page 10

Hello all! I work in a private practice office in which I am the only RN. There are several MA's and one LPN. My concern is that the MA's are referred to as "nurses". The patients often do not... Read More

  1. by   OkieICU_RN
    I know the beginning of this thread is really old, but I thought I would throw my 2 cents in like everyone else.

    I am an ICU RN and have worked as such since I finished nursing school a couple of years ago. Before that, I was a Medical Assistant for about 12 years. I started out by going to school as a phlebotomist and worked my way into a wonderful doctors heart and he trained me to do other Medical Assistant duties. I never went to a formal Medical Assistant school.

    He educated me well, along with some other doctors along the way. I also was very well read on anything medical, attended numerous continuing education courses and conferences. I listened intently to what drug reps said when they gave their spiel on the latest and greatest drugs and then talked with the docs to gain more knowledge. I was technically gifted.....I was the one people called when they couldn't cath a baby for a UA, or when someone couldn't do a venipuncture on a 2 month old.

    I admit, initally when people started calling me a nurse I didn't correct them. It wasn't until several years later when I read an article calling into question Medical Assistants referring to themselves as nurses. I did not want to be accused of misrepresenting myself so I changed my tune and everyone else's I came into contact with.

    I took the certification test and became a Certified Medical Assistant with the American Association of Medical Assistants. There were at least 2 times in my career as a CMA that I supervised other MA's, LPN's and RN's. It wasn't that I was telling these people how to practice but I was basically setting policies for the office after the doctors signed off on them.

    MA's do NOT work under a nurse's license. They work under the physician's license (at least in the states that I have worked).

    In my years of working as an MA, I have seen my fair share of MA idiots who didn't know jack crap. But let me say, as an ICU RN I have seen my fair share of idiot nurses too.

    Stop throwing each other under the bus!! MA's have their roles and RN's have theirs. I really don't believe that there is anything an RN can do that an MA can't do in an office setting, or at least in a Family Practice or Pediatrics office. Maybe in an Oncologists office where RN's give chemo, or an Infectious Disease office where RN's put in PICCs, but I really can't think of many other places.

    Someone mentioned that MA's are calling in orders to the hospital and passing themselves off as nurses...........As an RN, I never take an order over the phone from an MA, or RN for that matter. My hospital requires that the physician give the order to me, the RN taking care of the patient.

    Just one more little note. I was well respected as an MA, for my experience, knowledge and resutls and I was well paid.....very well paid. In fact, after graduating nursing school, I actually took a pay cut to go to work in the ICU, granted it was only $0.65/hr less, but it was less (yes, I work in Oklahoma one of the lowest RN paying states in the nation). :angryfire
  2. by   GLORIAmunchkin72
    Thanks for such a fair and balanced statement, OKIE. I didn't know, however, that MAs get well-paid (anywhere).
  3. by   PNCC2001
    “An M.A. is not a nurse”. That’s true, but an MA does perform nursing procedures; as well as procedures from many other professions; and is taught “critical thinking.”. An MA receives training from the following professions:

    Nursing
    Laboratory Technician
    Surgical Technician
    EKG Technician
    Respiratory Technician
    Dietetic Technician
    Medicoparalegal
    Psychology
    Pharmacy

    I have never heard any of the other professions as hostile about MA’s saying that they perform the same duties as the other professions. Granted, in order to pursue any of the above professions requires additional schooling; BUT, an MA would have an advantage in pursuing any of the above areas, just by having been trained in the basic skills of each of the professions. Besides, MA’s may also have other degrees besides Medical Assisting, which have given them additional knowledge and experience above the basic skills of each of the above professions. Certification vs. Licensure is a political thing. If they would make Medical Assisting a Licensed profession, maybe it would bring more credibility and accountability. As it stands, there isn’t even mandatory Certification; and programs do not have to be accredited. However, because Medical Assistants work under the physician’s license, they are really not limited by a “scope of practice” in most states. Medical Assistants, however, are required to take an exam, just like nurses, to prove their knowledge; in order to get their Certification. Continuing education contact hours are also required.

    It is unfortunate that some of our society is so elitist and some so insecure. We each have our own path in life. Not all Medical Assistants can or want to be LPN’s/RN’s or LPN’s want to/can be RN’s. Those who do want to should, but should stop judging everyone else. Nurses are specifically trained to work in hospitals and Medical Assistants are specifically trained to work in Ambulatory Care, for the most part. However, Illinois is hiring Medical Assistants to work in hospitals. Medical Assistants really have no reason to call themselves nurses. They should be proud of being trained professionals, who have a significant impact on patient care. Those who are Certified, should be even more proud. In regard to pay, part of it has to do with our lousy economy, and the area of the country you are in. In my area Medical Assistants are paid $ 12.00-$ 14.00/hr.; not bad money; but yet more than LPN’s in some areas; that resentment is understandable. That has to do with economy, not with the contribution of each of the professionals or their education. If someone doesn’t want to work in a hospital, there is little reason for them to pursue nursing. Just my two cents. Try to have a good day everyone and be proud of who and what you are.
  4. by   smk1
    Quote from PNCC2001
    "An M.A. is not a nurse". That's true, but an MA does perform nursing procedures; as well as procedures from many other professions; and is taught "critical thinking.". An MA receives training from the following professions:

    Nursing
    Laboratory Technician
    Surgical Technician
    EKG Technician
    Respiratory Technician
    Dietetic Technician
    Medicoparalegal
    Psychology
    Pharmacy

    I have never heard any of the other professions as hostile about MA's saying that they perform the same duties as the other professions. Granted, in order to pursue any of the above professions requires additional schooling; BUT, an MA would have an advantage in pursuing any of the above areas, just by having been trained in the basic skills of each of the professions. Besides, MA's may also have other degrees besides Medical Assisting, which have given them additional knowledge and experience above the basic skills of each of the above professions. Certification vs. Licensure is a political thing. If they would make Medical Assisting a Licensed profession, maybe it would bring more credibility and accountability. As it stands, there isn't even mandatory Certification; and programs do not have to be accredited. However, because Medical Assistants work under the physician's license, they are really not limited by a "scope of practice" in most states. Medical Assistants, however, are required to take an exam, just like nurses, to prove their knowledge; in order to get their Certification. Continuing education contact hours are also required.

    It is unfortunate that some of our society is so elitist and some so insecure. We each have our own path in life. Not all Medical Assistants can or want to be LPN's/RN's or LPN's want to/can be RN's. Those who do want to should, but should stop judging everyone else. Nurses are specifically trained to work in hospitals and Medical Assistants are specifically trained to work in Ambulatory Care, for the most part. However, Illinois is hiring Medical Assistants to work in hospitals. Medical Assistants really have no reason to call themselves nurses. They should be proud of being trained professionals, who have a significant impact on patient care. Those who are Certified, should be even more proud. In regard to pay, part of it has to do with our lousy economy, and the area of the country you are in. In my area Medical Assistants are paid $ 12.00-$ 14.00/hr.; not bad money; but yet more than LPN's in some areas; that resentment is understandable. That has to do with economy, not with the contribution of each of the professionals or their education. If someone doesn't want to work in a hospital, there is little reason for them to pursue nursing. Just my two cents. Try to have a good day everyone and be proud of who and what you are.

    Nurses are not specifically trained to work in a hospital. A nurse is trained to work in research, hospitals, clinics, ltc, surgical centers, schools, community health, occupational health settings, they can open their own offices and teach classes etc...
  5. by   sharona97
    I have to disagree with this statement as I am a licensed nurse and did clinicals for hospital training in all areas and clinicals in LTC's. I have worked as a CRA in research as well. True, once you have your licensure it allows you to choose which area of healthcare you would want to participate in, including teaching.

    IMO, how could one teach nursing without having the training to teach the different arena's available to licensed individuals?
  6. by   angelikdemonik
    Quote from redridnghud
    M.A.'s are not Nurses...an M.A. is the "doctors" creation in answer to the professionalism that R.N.'s have achieved. The M.A. should be correctly termed...C.D.F.-Certified Doctor Flunky.....
    Excuse me? Certified Doctor Flunky? Please, step off of your pedestal, ma'am. Does it make you feel better about yourself to demean others like that? I mean, really...How is degrading others professional in any way?

    I have worked hard to attain my Associate's Degree in Arts, and to obtain my certification in Medical Assisting. I am hardly a "flunky".

    I am not a Nurse. I don't want to be labeled as a Nurse. I am proud of what I am. I think it is incredibly disrepectful for someone to just assume that I am a "Nurse" because I have a pair of scrubs on and I just so happen to be a woman.
  7. by   blueberrybon
    I've been an LPN for a year now. I went to my family doctor for a flu shot. An MA pranced in with a big youthful smile. She seemed okay until she shoved the needle into my bone! I jumped, of course, as this was the first shot in my adult life that sent a "ZING" through my entire upper arm. But that isn't what made me surprized, I have no doubt that the first so many shots I gave probably weren't the smoothest either.

    No, the thing that surprised me is the fact that she was mystified and confused and said in a questioning voice "But... there wasn't any flash-back". Now I don't know why she thinks there would be "flash-back" or what that had to do with the pain. Did she think "flash-back" is when you draw back the plunger to make sure you're not in a vein. Last time I checked, "flash-back" only happens during IV insertion/blood collection. Even still, what does that have to do with making me jump out of my pants?

    I didn't say anything because she obviously was new to the MA scene, and I don't believe in embarrasing people. But it was obvious to me that MA's don't get quite the training that LPNs do.

    She's probably wonderful at IMs by now, and I know I've had some moments that I certainly wished I could erase from my memory banks.

    Blue
    Last edit by blueberrybon on Jan 13, '08
  8. by   sharona97
    Quote from blueberrybon
    I've been an LPN for a year now. I went to my family doctor for a flu shot. An MA pranced in with a big youthful smile. She seemed okay until she shoved the needle into my bone! I jumped, of course, as this was the first shot in my adult life that sent a "ZING" through my entire upper arm.

    She was mystified and confused and said in a questioning voice "But... there wasn't any flash-back". Now I don't know why she thinks there would be "flash-back" or what that had to do with the pain. Did she think "flash-back" is when you draw back the plunger to make sure you're not in a vein. Last time I checked, "flash-back" only happens during IV insertion/blook collection. Even still, what does that have to do with making me jump out of my pants?

    I didn't say anything because she obviously was new to the MA scene, and I don't believe in embarrasing people. But it was obvious to me that MA's don't get quite the training that LPNs do.

    She's probably wonderful at IMs by now, and I know I've had some moments that I certainly wished I could erase from my memory banks.

    Blue
    Ouch, I bet that hurt! I just wanted to share with you I was a CMA before an LPN, and being out of MA school since 1981 I have no idea what or how they ar taught. I had to train in a MA who never learned to take a BP witha reg cuff.!!!!! All electronics were instructed to her. So I sat down with her and went through the KaroffKuff sounds and what they meant. So is it the teaching or the abscence of attention with the student? I don't know. My point is that I was not like that at as a CMA. and proud of it. I was driven to learn and started out as a medical receptionist. Maybe look closely at the needle put on before it goes in your arm, I say that BECAUSE I DO. It's a wacky situation and a scary one. I probably would have tught her something johnny on the spot that aspitation has nothing to do with the length of the needle in this problem. I agree with you on your rationale concerning where the concern belongs.

    I hope you have a better -learned MA (C?) in the future or make a complaint to her manager to show she has the opportunity to learn from experienced nurses.

    How's the arm" Any Cellulitis?

    Take Care,:redpinkhe

    Sharona
  9. by   polish nurse
    been there. Patients need to realize the minimal education the med techs have-not to speak of how insulting this is to RN's.
  10. by   sharona97
    Quote from polish nurse
    been there. Patients need to realize the minimal education the med techs have-not to speak of how insulting this is to RN's.
    Polish Nurse,

    unfortunetly, we can have an opinion of what someone says is ignorance. But do we have control over their thoughts or mouths?

    IMO no, only our own.
    Last edit by sharona97 on Jan 13, '08 : Reason: me
  11. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from polish nurse
    been there. patients need to realize the minimal education the med techs have-not to speak of how insulting this is to rn's.
    hi polish nurse,

    welcome! to all nurses. when responding to a post use the "quote" button at the bottom right of the post you are responding to. as you can see i have "quoted" your post. if you don't use this function, we the readers, have no idea to which post you are responding to.



    stick with us here at allnurses, we really are a friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable (and lively) group! cheers!
    Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Jan 13, '08
  12. by   blueberrybon
    Quote from sharona97
    Ouch, I bet that hurt! I just wanted to share with you I was a CMA before an LPN, and being out of MA school since 1981 I have no idea what or how they ar taught. I had to train in a MA who never learned to take a BP witha reg cuff.!!!!! All electronics were instructed to her. So I sat down with her and went through the KaroffKuff sounds and what they meant. So is it the teaching or the abscence of attention with the student? I don't know. My point is that I was not like that at as a CMA. and proud of it. I was driven to learn and started out as a medical receptionist. Maybe look closely at the needle put on before it goes in your arm, I say that BECAUSE I DO. It's a wacky situation and a scary one. I probably would have tught her something johnny on the spot that aspitation has nothing to do with the length of the needle in this problem. I agree with you on your rationale concerning where the concern belongs.

    I hope you have a better -learned MA (C?) in the future or make a complaint to her manager to show she has the opportunity to learn from experienced nurses.

    How's the arm" Any Cellulitis?

    Take Care,:redpinkhe

    Sharona
    No lasting ill effects, thanks for the concern

    Blue
  13. by   rgroyer1RNBSN
    Well I ticked 2 MA's of today, one called er to give me report on a patient they were sending us from there office, she asked for me the charge nurse, then she proceded to identify herself as the nurse and the charge nurse of the clinic if you get my drift, and I ask her if she was an RN or LPN and she said neither, she said shes the MA and proceeds to give me report on an ederly man there sending us by ems, that has a GI bleed and that shes started a line #24 gauge in the left A/C of NS wide open, well I just about started to laugh, why would you but a 24 in a bleeder, well I told her that IV would probabley be pulled by the medics or myself, so we could replace it with larger ones like a 16 and 18, and she goes oh those are huge you dont want to do that, well he&^ yes I want to do just that hes bleeding internally and we put large bores in bleedersand at least an 18 was necessary for giving blood and I am not putting blood through a 24. Then she proceeded to dis us nurses, she called RN's registered nitwits and LPN's lisenced practical nitwits, and I told her Id rather be either one of those any day then a certified or registered medical a$$.

    Then I had one to interview she ot mad because I would only use her as a tech in er, and shes been trained for alot and expects to be able to function like my LPN's, well if your an MA and want to play nurse the hospital isnt the place find a clinic.

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