MA's being used as "nurses"

  1. 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 know that their "nurse" really isn't one. We all have the same job descriptions and duties, and I was told shortly after starting work (by a non-nurse office manager) that they consider MA's, LPN's and RN's to be the same (it is interesting, though, that I am paid an RN wage). We all are responsible for phone triage one day a week. The team leader for the "nursing staff" is also an MA!! Has anyone else run into this type of situation??
    CNA1991 and lindarn like this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 156 Comments...

  3. 0
    I work in an office that just started hiring MA's. They are required to wear colored tops and white pants. The RN's and LPN's wear all white. They are also reqruired to answer the phone Dr. so and so's assistant. The MA's are actually not even supposed to answer the phone, but I will use all the help I can get.
  4. 3
    I have seen many clinics that now hire the MA instead of a nurse. I have also seen facilities that do not put the anything but the individuals name on their name tag so that patients will not know the difference between the MA and the nurse. Kinda scary huh! The only difference is that the MA cannot give or take phone orders from the physician. So basically facilities are hiring people with no medical experience and showing them how to do something once or twice and then turning them loose to see patients. Hopefully with all the new exposure from the media this problem will minimize and you will see more nurses in the clinic area. (I have also instructed all my family and friends to ask who is taking care of them and to be careful with those whom are not nurses.)
    CNA1991, lindarn, and Jessy_RN like this.
  5. 1
    I have seen this practice as well. The MA's did all the functions that the RN did except they couldn't give injections or phone triage. However, they were the ones that ran EKG's and drew blood. It seems to me they are taking on alot of responsibility for what $8-$9.00 an hour. Go figure.
    lindarn likes this.
  6. 0
    Thanks for the responses- I'm glad I'm not the only person dealing with this- I'm also glad that MA's are somewhat limited in their duties. They are not limited at my office at all- they do phone triage, cath pts, change sp tubes, instill intravesical chemotherapy, etc. I have brought my concerns to the docs several times, and now am looking for another job because I cannot watch patient safety being compromised anymore.
  7. 4
    Boy-oh-boy! Have I been there. I was hired into a family practice office. The only nurse with a staff of 3 other MAs who were allowed to do EVERYTHING. I was hired for my education and nursing knowledge, but there was a lot of resistance to change. I was the clinical coordinator and as such had to help everyone understand that they were valuable members of the team, but with different skills and knowledge levels. Slowly, over 4 years the doctors began to truly understand the difference in knowledge and skill levels between MA, LPN and RN. All job descriptions were carefully crafted and continuing education through required in-services and skills training/testing was a must. It was a lot of work for a growing practice. By the time I left (I was rather burnt out on the administrative stuff), the office now boasted only 3 MAs, 1 lab tech, 1 x-ray tech, 5 LPNs and 1 RN. Stand up for your education and skills. Nurses are valuable members of the medical team and a constant liason between doctors their patients, other staff members and the world at large! Good Luck!

    PS. Check your state rules/regulations for duties the MA, LPNs and RNs can perform. Also, check that as an RN, you will not be held responsible for the LPNs or MAs that work there.

    I love nursing!
    Nurserton, lindarn, Jessy_RN, and 1 other like this.
  8. 1
    I am a L.P.N. and work in a Physician's office. I also work with a M.A. She does everything that I do, even passes as a nurse when orders are called in at the hospital.
    I really like working for the Doctor that I work for. I found out, she was making more than me, really raised a fuss with the Doctor. Now it is better but not much. I have been an L.P.N. alot longer than she has been a M.A. Some offices are so unfair!
    lindarn likes this.
  9. 1
    Well, here goes...
    If you have concerns and issues regarding medical assistants and what they are able or unable to do, I urge you all to contact both your individual state AAMA organization and / or the national organization:
    Not all medical assistants are without fromal healthcare knowledge / experience. Many are graduates of accredited programs that are 12 months in length and are awarded a diploma to other programs that are two years in length and are awarded an Associates Degree (AAS). The right to use "CMA" is earned after the person takes and successfully passes a certification exam, which as of the 1/1/99 test, requires formal education. Until then, a person with experience (many years) in an office setting could take the test.
    I hope this helps some.
    lindarn likes this.
  10. 2
    Why would someone spend 12-24 months in a program to become a medical assistant? You can be an LPN in 11-12 months and an RN in 24 months. If I was going to spend 24 months going to school I would go to the RN program so that I could make twice the money while basically still doing the same work.
    lindarn and meluhn like this.
  11. 0
    Actually, no, the work is not "basically the same". I'd like to think that my nursing school education gave me more than mechanical skills. When I graduated from nursing school, in prehistoric times, one still had to pass boards first to be an RN and an LPN.
    Regardless, medical assistants who graduate from a diploma or AAS-degree program are taught how to perform both front office tasks (transcription, insurance, payments, etc.) and some clinical tasks (vitals, assisting with exams, ekg's, and the proper technique to give IM, SQ, and intradermals, and phlebotomy). I doubt that nurses, both LPN and RN, transcribed or learned how to file insurance as part of his/her training in school. As for learning to be an LPN, at least in my part of the country, thare are few, if any PN programs.
    Kinda like trying to find a diploma school, but that's another BB
    Hope this helps and continue to be a good role model for yourself, your workplace and for your co-workers.

    [This message has been edited by maikranz (edited March 08, 2000).]

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors