MA's being used as "nurses" - page 2

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   JeanthePHN
    Now these posts are old but here is my 2 cents....I foolishly went in nursing in 1980 because, at 20 years old, I did not have much career choices. Girls who grew up in the 60's and 70's did not become rocket scientists. The hospital school of nursing closed in 1976. The local voke-tech LPN school was closing--it never did though. All girls who wanted to be nurses had to go to the 4 yr college. There was no 2 year community college nursing degree at the community college then. I did not want to work as a hospital nurse. Even naive as I was, I knew that hospital work was a pink collar ghetto and I always hoped to work in an office. Today, 20 years later, this RN with a BSN is applying for jobs as a medical assistant because RN's are not being hired in doctor's offices/clinics here in Massachusetts. Nursing school did not support ambulatory out-patient nursing. Now a days, some nurising schools are putting community health students in schools for a taste of school nursing, but have you ever seen a college put a nursing student in a doctors office or clinic? As a public health nurse I did have students because I pushed for it at work, but generally across America nursing school ignores that field. So, why would someone spend 12 months in a medical assistant school instead of going toRN or LPN school? Medical assistant are replacing LPN/RN because they are cheaper but they are the only trained health care worker that specializes in out-patient/ambulatory care.The salaries, at least here in Mass are not that much different if you compared a office nurse to an office MA. I wish I could of had the chance to go to MA school. I would of been happier because I would have had a career that did not cost 4 years, a 15 plus year school loan to repay, and more job opportunities.

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  2. by   les67
    I must say, if you haven't had the pleasure of taking and passing a grueling and nerve-frazzling board exam then, my-coworkers, you are not a nurse.
  3. by   woundnurse
    Although this is a late reply I just wanted to clarify. Although I went to community 2 year school I had to go two years first to get my 1st AS degree in general studies then another two years for my AS in nursing. So in reality it took 4 years. I think this is how most of the programs work. ( Went additional 3 years after to get my BSN so its taken me 7 years for a BSN degree full time OUCH but no complaints)
  4. by   chili2641

    If a medical assistant has the same amount of education as a nurse then what is the problem?

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    Nursing assistant
  5. by   ShannonB25
    Since when does a medical assistant have the same amount of education as a nurse?? Someone please enlighten me.
    Shannon



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    "The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."-Johan Ruskin
  6. by   darla80
    Originally posted by ShannonB25:
    Since when does a medical assistant have the same amount of education as a nurse?? Someone please enlighten me.
    Shannon

  7. by   darla80
    Originally posted by darla80:
    YOU are so right... MAS are just that, medical assistants. They are to assist, they do not and should not practice as a nurse!!!!

    Although they do have a place in the office they DO NOT have the clinical training, assesment skills, disease base knowledge, patient education skills etc.

    I have wokred with MAS in other offices and had good experiences and bad. I had an MA pose as the "NURSE" and give out an order to a nursing home that coud have caused problems for the patient. But the nursing home thought they were recieving an order through "the nurse". I am concerned that this happens alot.

    Lets face it MAS cost less to hire and can function well doing basic skills..BP, ECG venipuncture etc. The problem is the MA who thinks she is a nurse and crosses that line repeatedly.

    We have just hired an MA in my office so I will once again face these issues. I am interested in others expereience adn if setting rules right from the start will be helpful???

    Interested in your input!!

    Thanks!!!
    Have a great day and share a hug wiht one of your special patients!!!!
  8. by   maikranz
    Originally posted by darla80:
    YOU are so right... MAS are just that, medical assistants. They are to assist, they do not and should not practice as a nurse!!!!

    Although they do have a place in the office they DO NOT have the clinical training, assesment skills, disease base knowledge, patient education skills etc.

    I have wokred with MAS in other offices and had good experiences and bad. I had an MA pose as the "NURSE" and give out an order to a nursing home that coud have caused problems for the patient. But the nursing home thought they were recieving an order through "the nurse". I am concerned that this happens alot.

    Lets face it MAS cost less to hire and can function well doing basic skills..BP, ECG venipuncture etc. The problem is the MA who thinks she is a nurse and crosses that line repeatedly.

    We have just hired an MA in my office so I will once again face these issues. I am interested in others expereience adn if setting rules right from the start will be helpful???

    Interested in your input!!

    Thanks!!!
    Have a great day and share a hug wiht one of your special patients!!!!

    Greetings!
    I would suggest that you check with your Board of Nursing regarding supervising / delegating to UAPs. If the policy in your practice area is to call the medical assistant "nurse" or have him/her answer the phone when "nurse" is paged or if the doc is telling them to call the nursing homes with orders, then you must address that issue with your employer. (Frankly, the person taking a phone order ought to verify license)
    If the MA is referring to him-/herself as "nurse", then I'd say a discussion was even more in order.
    FYI, since 1999, only medical assistants who graduated from an accredited program are eligible to take the certification exam and call themselves "CMA" if they pass.
    If you are hiring a medical assistant, be sure to check credentials if they say they graduated from a program, just as one would do for any new hire. They will have a certificate, diploma, or AAS degree from an accredited program.
    Good luck.

  9. by   Jeanbean
    To answer the question of what is the problem since an MA may have the same amount of education: the difference is what was studied. Being in MA school for 4 years doesn't make you a nurse, just as my 8 years of college (I have degrees in History and Nursing) do not make me a doctor, although I probably have the same amount of classroom hours! It's what you've studied, not how long.
  10. by   maikranz
    Originally posted by chili2641:

    If a medical assistant has the same amount of education as a nurse then what is the problem?
    Hello.
    I'm not sure where you got the impression that medical assistants have the same education as nurses--they most definitely do not.
    Typical programs last anywhere from 9-10 months (certificate) to 3 semesters (diploma) to 2 years (AAS).
    Hope this helps.
  11. by   chili2641
    I get such a kick out of you nurses. I have worked as a CNA for several years. I agree that a nurse requires special training. I do not know the type of training a MA receives. An Associates degree is considered minimum knowledge in most fields.To practice as an RN you only need an Associates degree and an LPN is a certificate program. This post mentioned that some MA's have Associate degrees,so they must know something about the medical field! I do realize that the nursing program is a demanding one, and a nurse is a nurse.I still wonder if your concerns are warranted.
  12. by   ratchit
    Chili,

    I've read several of your posts recently and have enjoyed the thought they provoke. But (and there always is one!), I think I see where some of your frustration with nurses arises. You seem to take offense when someone says you are not a nurse.

    I am an RN. I completed a nursing program, and passed boards.

    You are a CNA. You recently graduated from college (congrats!) with (I think) a BS in criminal justice.

    To say that I am more important or more valuable as a person because I am a nurse and you are not is wrong. To say that I am a nurse and you are not is just stating fact. To say that I am not knowledgable in the area of criminal justice is not insulting me- it is just fact.

    If I tried to fly the plane because hey, I'm educated too, just like the pilots, your concerns would be warranted. I have tons of college credit hours but they aren't in aviation. If someone with any amount of non-nursing training thinks they are safe to practice as a nurse because they are educated in something else, my concerns are warranted.

    Your contributions at work should be valued and no one should look down on you personally for being a CNA. But to say that someone with a degree in CJ and a CNA certificate is not a nurse is not an insult.
  13. by   chili2641
    Ratchit,
    I can assure you I have no desire to be a nurse. I went to school to get out of the nursing field. I started working as a CENA right out of high school and I knew with in a year that nursing was not for me. In college I studied justice and crime. I learned that low wages contributed to crime involvement. I looked around at several cena's and found them to be on welfare and raising their families in poverty. My passion is not for nursing but for social and economic justice! Education is the only way I know to help others advance in our society. I want the nurse aids who want to be nurses to realize they can be nurses. The question that I asked regarding MA's and Nurses was just that a question. I want to also say that I have a lot of respect for the nurses out there. They are doing a job I would never want to do. Some of the NA's not all are coming from the underclass and my mission in life is to educate and empower the underclass in the name of crime prevention. On a seperate note the education debate between members in the nursing field is interesting to me because I never saw a difference between nurses regardless of education. An MA must be quite different I am sorry if I stepped on any toes.

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    Nursing assistant

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