MA's being used as "nurses" - page 6

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   GLORIAmunchkin72
    Sounds like a good plan to me. It's always nice to have a choice.:spin:
    Quote from fyrelight74
    I'm in a community college program to get my A.S. in Medical Assisting. I already have a bachelor's in another field. This degree is to get my foot in the medical door, so to speak. Why would I go to Medical Assisting school instead of LPN school, when its about the same time frame? Easy answer for me.... I want to work only in doctor's offices.. no hospitals, no long night shifts, no nursing homes..... and I realize I will get paid MUCH less for that fact, but I'm okay with that.

    Being a medical assistant is just one step for me towards becoming a PA (physician assistant)... I want to skip the whole nursing area and just go straight to PA. I have a few more additional classes to take and about 3000-4000 hours of medical experience to get in before I can apply to PA school. Being a back office MA qualifies as that experience.

    So, for me, THOSE are the reasons I chose to become an MA instead of a nurse. In the meantime, I'm taking medical terminology, A&P, etc... right along with some future EMTs, paramedics, other MAs, nurses, etc.
  2. by   robynv
    Thats so funny! I too, like the idea of just working in a Dr. office, and also want to end up as a PA. The more I read I don't think I really want to work in LTC. Although I had thoughts of becoming an LPN. Nope I'm almost done with my MA and I love it. So I think I'll leave the nurse stuff to the nurses and try to learn as much as I can!
  3. by   iheartnursing_cali
    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.....
    Wow, I don't really agree with your choice of words... referring M.A.'s as "Certified Doctor FLUNKY" that's really wrong, considering I am a M.A. myself and proud of it. I became a M.A. to actually start working and getting more experience and knowledge in the medical field while at the same time going to school to become a Registered Nurse (which I will be applying to this fall). My dream is to become a Registered Nurse, I look up to them, and I'm sure many others do too. But why would we have to put other medical professions down. We all work in the same medical enviornment so we all should get along. And I would just have to say, I think M.A.'s and CNA's are big helps to Nurses and Doctors. I know many Doctor's who are very appreciative of them, so why can't Nurses be. I'm not saying that all nurses are putting M.A.'s and/or CNA'S down, but most of the posts I have read on this thread sounds like it. I just also wanted to point out... Administrative M.A.'s are great at doing their job, of course they do not have the same educational background as a Nurse, but wouldn't you rather have a M.A. in the front desk who knows some medical background working in a clinic, rather than a regular Receptionist for example, who hasn't had any medical knowledge whats-so-ever.

    My point is: We are all in the medical field for the same reason.. and that's caring for our patients, whether we are nurses, m.a.'s, or cna's, etc.
  4. by   LorraineCNA
    "But MA's are not allowed in hospitals because they do not have the same training."

    I'm in Pennsylvania. At least here, the reason MA's don't work in hospitals is due to the fact that they have to be under the direct supervision of a doc (as unlicensed personnel), not so much that they're not trained enough to work in a hospital. MA's are hired in many hospitals for "tech" positions such as phlebotomist, EKG tech even ER techs to name a few. They're just not hired under the MA title for the reason stated above.

    I work in a very busy family practice. The MA's don't do any "back office" work (draw blood, injections, etc.) unless the doc is on-site.

    Lorraine
    CMA, CNA
  5. by   canoehead
    Quote from jamistlc
    Gretings all,

    I am a LPN and have worked as the Clinical Nurse Supervisor at a Family Practice Physician's office, very high volume 100 pt's a day, one Doc! The MA's are not ID'ed as a such and assumed to be a Nurse by clients.
    ------------------

    Just the volume this doc went through would make me question his ethics and the treatment his patients were getting. You are well out of there.
  6. by   GLORIAmunchkin72
    Lorraine, are you happy at your job, I mean do you like being an MA or are you thinking of eventually becoming a nurse?:spin:
    Quote from LorraineCNA
    "But MA's are not allowed in hospitals because they do not have the same training."

    I'm in Pennsylvania. At least here, the reason MA's don't work in hospitals is due to the fact that they have to be under the direct supervision of a doc (as unlicensed personnel), not so much that they're not trained enough to work in a hospital. MA's are hired in many hospitals for "tech" positions such as phlebotomist, EKG tech even ER techs to name a few. They're just not hired under the MA title for the reason stated above.

    I work in a very busy family practice. The MA's don't do any "back office" work (draw blood, injections, etc.) unless the doc is on-site.

    Lorraine
    CMA, CNA
  7. by   LPN2RNdude
    i used to work as an LPN in an internal medicine clinic. we were staffed with about 8 LPN's and 4 MA's for 6 doctors and 1 NP. It was a very busy clinic to say the least, but i really enjoyed it. The MA's there were also called "nurses" even by the more sophisticated docs. they did do the same thing as us LPN's did, but didnt really understand the rationale behind things like how meds work, disease processes and such, but heck, some of the LPN's didnt really understand it either. i worked as an MA for 4 years before going to LPN school, and i did get some good experience, but when i went to nursing school i saw that i didnt really know as much as a "nurse" knows. i did manage to gradaute at the top of my class (maybe being a navy corpsman helped out more). now im in RN school with 8 months left to go. its a breeze, i think a combination of my MA and LPN experience is helping out, but i still dont think MA's are nurses. it used to burn me up to hear patients ask for a nurse on the phone and hear an MA say "i am one, how can i help you?" when i was an MA i NEVER called myself a nurse. just my two cents.
  8. by   smk1
    Quote from fyrelight74
    I'm in a community college program to get my A.S. in Medical Assisting. I already have a bachelor's in another field. This degree is to get my foot in the medical door, so to speak. Why would I go to Medical Assisting school instead of LPN school, when its about the same time frame? Easy answer for me.... I want to work only in doctor's offices.. no hospitals, no long night shifts, no nursing homes..... and I realize I will get paid MUCH less for that fact, but I'm okay with that.

    Being a medical assistant is just one step for me towards becoming a PA (physician assistant)... I want to skip the whole nursing area and just go straight to PA. I have a few more additional classes to take and about 3000-4000 hours of medical experience to get in before I can apply to PA school. Being a back office MA qualifies as that experience.

    So, for me, THOSE are the reasons I chose to become an MA instead of a nurse. In the meantime, I'm taking medical terminology, A&P, etc... right along with some future EMTs, paramedics, other MAs, nurses, etc.
    If the bold print is true then, this is a GREAT benefit to you because you will not have to spend at least a full year on the sciences later on. I personally have never seen MA students taking the A&P sequence or chem/ micro/nutrition classes that the RN/PA or Paramedic students must take though. Where we are there is a "basic concepts" tech course that they take for 1 term. Not college level and there is no chem/micro etc.. required. The A&P classes for the Nursing/dental etc students is a full year and mid 200 level with prereqs attached before you can get into it. This is what a lot of folks take exception to when told by MA's they took the same prereqs. Just isn't true in the same way that most Nursing students don't take the same level of Pharm/Chem/gross Anatomy that Med students take. MA's have their own profession to be proud ofm but they are not nurses and shouldn't be referred to as such.
  9. by   hlfpnt
    My MA instructor told our class to "Never say 'I'm just a MA'. Always do your best and be proud of your profession." I always did my best and was never afraid to admit I was a MA. No, I do not believe MA's should be referred to as nurses and always despised it when someone referred to me as such. No, they do not have the same training and should not be allowed to practice as such. Some Drs. take too much risk because they are unwilling to pay nurses wages. However, MA's have their place as support staff and as with any profession good ones are hard to find. I very much enjoyed my job as a MA and did not overstep my boundaries, but after 8 years found I wanted more. So I took myself back to school. I think being a MA first was good in the aspect that I will never forget where I started. I will not treat support staff the way some (not many) have treated me. I am just as proud to say I'm a Registered Medical Assistant as I will be in 5 mos. to say I'm a Registered Nurse. Just my thoughts...
    Last edit by hlfpnt on Mar 13, '06
  10. by   LorraineCNA
    Actually, there are only a handful of states that have specific scopes of practice for MA's. It's actually pretty broad and for the most part up to the physicians discretion. This is from the Pennsylvania Code:

    (a) A medical doctor may delegate to a health care practitioner or technician the performance of a medical service if the following conditions are met:

    (1) The delegation is consistent with the standards of acceptable medical practice embraced by the medical doctor community in this Commonwealth. Standards of acceptable medical practice may be discerned from current peer reviewed medical literature and texts, teaching facility practices and instruction, the practice of expert practitioners in the field and the commonly accepted practice of practitioners in the field.

    (2) The delegation is not prohibited by the statutes or regulations relating to other health care practitioners.

    (3) The medical doctor has knowledge that the delegatee has education, training, experience and continued competency to safely perform the medical service being delegated.

    (4) The medical doctor has determined that the delegation to a health care practitioner or technician does not create an undue risk to the particular patient being treated.

    (5) The nature of the service and the delegation of the service has been explained to the patient and the patient does not object to the performance by the health care practitioner or technician. Unless otherwise required by law, the explanation may be oral and may be given by the physician or the physician's designee.

    (6) The medical doctor assumes the responsibility for the delegated medical service, including the performance of the service, and is available to the delegatee as appropriate to the difficulty of the procedure, the skill of the delegatee and risk level to the particular patient.

    (b) A medical doctor may not delegate the performance of a medical service if performance of the medical service or if recognition of the complications or risks associated with the delegated medical service requires knowledge and skill not ordinarily possessed by nonphysicians.

    (c) A medical doctor may not delegate a medical service which the medical doctor is not trained, qualified and competent to perform.

    (d) A medical doctor is responsible for the medical services delegated to the health care practitioner or technician.

    (e) A medical doctor may approve a standing protocol delegating medical acts to another health care practitioner who encounters a medical emergency that requires medical services for stabilization until the medical doctor or emergency medical services personnel are available to attend to the patient.

    (f) This section does not prohibit a health care practitioner who is licensed or certified by a Commonwealth agency from practicing within the scope of that license or certificate or as otherwise authorized by law. For example, this section is not intended to restrict the practice of certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, certified registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or other individuals practicing under the authority of specific statutes or regulations.

    Pretty much if the doc thinks you're capable of the technical task and there's no law prohibiting it (I.E. If state law deems you must be a RN to start an IV, it doesn't matter what the doc thinks)...and MA's DO work under the physicians license, not the nurses.

    Lorraine
    CMA, CNA
  11. by   LorraineCNA
    Sorry, it took me so long to respond. I LOVE my job. I work with a great RN, super doc and 5 other MA's. We work very well as a team. We all work all positions, (front office, back office, check-in, check-out, phones, etc.) At back office, we room patients, do injections (B12, allergy, TB, routine stuff), draw blood, do EKG's, routine lab tests. Front office can be almost anything...lol. I work in a very busy family practice but we have very few peds pts. There is no "this is my job today" attitude, everyone just does whatever needs done for the most part. The pay sucks...lol, but I'd rather like going to work every day than make more money. I really wanted nursing school but the nearest one is 45 minutes away (clinicals even farther) for LPN or college and the local RN school (not college) had a two year waiting list. I didn't want to be too old to work when I got done and didn't like the idea of an 1 1/2 hour trip to clinicals or school when it's winter here in PA. I'd have to leave here at 5:30 a.m. to make school when it's bad and I still have kids at home.

    Lorraine
    CMA, CNA
  12. by   GLORIAmunchkin72
    I'm really glad for you. Money isn't everything but I still don't understand why it pays so little considering you have a lot of responsibilities (and liabilities).
    Quote from LorraineCNA
    Sorry, it took me so long to respond. I LOVE my job. I work with a great RN, super doc and 5 other MA's. We work very well as a team. We all work all positions, (front office, back office, check-in, check-out, phones, etc.) At back office, we room patients, do injections (B12, allergy, TB, routine stuff), draw blood, do EKG's, routine lab tests. Front office can be almost anything...lol. I work in a very busy family practice but we have very few peds pts. There is no "this is my job today" attitude, everyone just does whatever needs done for the most part. The pay sucks...lol, but I'd rather like going to work every day than make more money. I really wanted nursing school but the nearest one is 45 minutes away (clinicals even farther) for LPN or college and the local RN school (not college) had a two year waiting list. I didn't want to be too old to work when I got done and didn't like the idea of an 1 1/2 hour trip to clinicals or school when it's winter here in PA. I'd have to leave here at 5:30 a.m. to make school when it's bad and I still have kids at home.

    Lorraine
    CMA, CNA
  13. by   LorraineCNA
    Quote from GLORIAmunchkin72
    I'm really glad for you. Money isn't everything but I still don't understand why it pays so little considering you have a lot of responsibilities (and liabilities).
    Me either, Walmart pays almost as much, how sad is that? One of the gals at work has a daughter who just started at Walmart a few months ago. She started out at almost $8.00 an hour and has already gotten I think a .50 raise. I started at 8.75 an hour (recent grad) and if you count my externship, I'll have been there a year in a few weeks without a raise. Hopefully, I'll get one in July when reviews are done. I don't know if the girls are work are exaggerating or not but they keep saying something about .10 an hour raises.:uhoh21:

    I made almost 3 dollars an hour more at the nursing home performing personal care tasks. Not that I think CNA's are overpaid, I think MA's are UNDERPAID. I could get a job in an office as a receptionist making more money. As it is, I perform all the tasks of a receptionist, billing personel AND perform invasive procedures on patients and make less money!

    I'm just outside of Pgh., PA. I work for one of the MAJOR hospital networks here too. I do know that across the state, near Philadelphia, MA's make considerably more (cost of living perhaps?) and make excellent money in FLA. That's part of the reason I wish medical assisting would go the licensure route, too many variables in pay, scope of practice, etc. I know there would still be a cost of living difference in pay, but I don't think it would be as inconsistent as it is now.

    Lorraine
    CMA, CNA

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MA's being used as "nurses"