I don't get the MA deal...

  1. Was at my kid's school today and asked the chick in the nurse's office if she is a "nurse." She said yes--I asked what degree she had (just wondering if she was an LPN or RN as I am thinking about what I want to do after grad).

    She told me she is an MA and that she can do anything an RN can do except IV's. She said the only other difference is that RN's get paid more--and she does the same exact work so she doesn't understand why that is. She also stated she has had just as much schooling as an ADN nurse, is just as qualified and has decided not to get her RN 'cuz it is a waste of time.

    I was kinda like, "Huh?" I didn't know MA's could go around calling themselves nurses. What is their scope of practice? I thought they just filed stuff and drew blood, but she says she can cath people, give meds, etc. She also said she works under an RN's liscense who she talks to once a week. That scared the poo out of me. I recognize their value but I don't like that they sometimes misrepresent themselves as nurses--as far as I know, they are not.

    Maybe I am just an ignorant student, but this conversation really surprised me! How do you guys respond to this kind of stuff?
    •  
  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   smk1
    If she affirmed that she was a nurse, she has just committed fraud and should be reported to the BON and to her bosses at work. She is an MA and should identify herself as such. As far as the rest (being just as qualified as an RN except for IV's) we all know that is laughable. She knows it too and just is living in deep DEEP denial. This goes along with being extremely unprofessional. When is it ever ok to start complaining about salary to a client? (which you are as a parent to a school nurse). I worked as a health assistant under the supervision of a nurse. The first thing we ever learned on that job was that you are NEVER to refer to yourself as a nurse. What she is doing is wrong, unethical and illegal. If she had just as much schooling as an R.N. and is just as qualified then why didn't she just go to R.N. school? She thinks she is doing the same job with the same training for less pay. That would make her pretty dumb now wouldn't it?
    Last edit by smk1 on Nov 8, '06
  4. by   DutchgirlRN
    This issue has been visited numerous times on allnurses. Should be easy enough to find in a search. It a hot topic. Basically it boils down to this:

    Using the term "nurse" is illegal unless you have a nursing license. This person can be prosecuted for impersonating a nurse. MA's do not have the same education nor capable of doing everything RN's and LPN's do except for IV's. They don't even come close. MA's are very capable within their job description. Many do not attempt to pass theirselves off as nurses. They are proud of being MA's and identify themselves properly. Sadly, all to many are nurse wannabee's and saying they are nurses is so unethical and illegal.

    I have argued with one particular MA who just does not give up so I discussed it with the doctor she works for. She still persisted in identifying herself as a nurse. I discussed it with the ethics committe at the hospital and wow guess what? She gets it now. We are not allowed to take orders from anyone other than a licensed person and if they continually tell you they are doctor so and so's nurse you have to ask LPN? RN? Then we have to ask to speak with the doctor.
    Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Nov 8, '06
  5. by   ann945n
    Quote from allthingsbright
    Was at my kid's school today and asked the chick in the nurse's office if she is a "nurse." She said yes--I asked what degree she had (just wondering if she was an LPN or RN as I am thinking about what I want to do after grad).

    She told me she is an MA and that she can do anything an RN can do except IV's. She said the only other difference is that RN's get paid more--and she does the same exact work so she doesn't understand why that is. She also stated she has had just as much schooling as an ADN nurse, is just as qualified and has decided not to get her RN 'cuz it is a waste of time.

    I was kinda like, "Huh?" I didn't know MA's could go around calling themselves nurses. What is their scope of practice? I thought they just filed stuff and drew blood, but she says she can cath people, give meds, etc. She also said she works under an RN's liscense who she talks to once a week. That scared the poo out of me. I recognize their value but I don't like that they sometimes misrepresent themselves as nurses--as far as I know, they are not.

    Maybe I am just an ignorant student, but this conversation really surprised me! How do you guys respond to this kind of stuff?
    I went into my doctors office to get some vaccinations i need and was told the nurse would be doing it. while talking with her making small talk (along she is playing nurse) and right as she is sticking me i ask her if she is a LPN or RN, oh no she was a MA. i was soooo mad! had i known i wouldnt have let her do it, but thats just me. You aint no Nurse if your a MA period.
  6. by   hikernurse
    Oh, they do this all the time. It makes me crazy! My doc's office MA's suddenly began stating their title when they talk to you--it kind of makes me wonder what came up that caused that change, LOL. The ones at the peds office are kind of shady, though. If you push it, they'll admit they're not nurses, but otherwise, they'd like you to believe...

    I guess the thing that bothers me the most, though, is that the implication is that they know as much as nurses and that's simply not true. When I have a question, sometimes an MA can answer just fine, but sometimes I really need to talk to a nurse.

    I didn't think MA's worked under nurses licenses, but I could be wrong.

    Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I'd rather see nurses in doc's offices.

    It seems like the biggest difference is that while they know and can do tasks, MA's don't really know WHY. That's where us nurses come in :-).

    This is not a slam on MA's by any means, I just feel protective of the nurse's role and don't like other people claiming to be something they're not. Several of my friends in my nursing school (I'm an LPN working on my RN) work as MA's and do a great job.
  7. by   BabyRN2Be
    I've come across this before and it's really upsetting when it happens. A medical assistant simply does not have the same amount of training that a nurse has and should not represent herself/himself as such. Much worse is the public may not know the difference, and asks the MA for advice on a certain condition. The MA may give the inaccurate, misleading advice.

    I respect MA's for the training that they have. However, it's illegal to pass yourself off as a nurse when you haven't gone through nursing school, clinicals, and taken the NCLEX-RN/PN.

    But I think I'm preaching to the choir here.
  8. by   trh0630
    MA's go to school for a year, and are trained primarily to work in private offices. They give injections, draw blood, can assist with any office surgical procedures, and perform any admin duties. No they ARE NOT nurses, definitely not close to RN's, but they are the doctors right hand in the office. Some specialists train MA's to do special procedures like straight cath and stitches because they are the only help they hire. That MA obviously has no idea how to compare an MA to a RN. She should do some serious research!
  9. by   ann945n
    Hmmm just another thought while reading some of the other replies is why so many MA feel the need to call themselves RN's. Are they not proud of the title they earned and their unquie role in health care which is seperate from the nurse? Just a thought, since we are all so protective of the RN title you think the would be of theirs and proudly state MA
  10. by   teal
    I encountered the same kind of attitude "I can do anything a nurse can", last week. I am a student and graduate in December!!! It was my first day as an extern and the NA said she was trying to become an AUA, and then she could do anything a nurse could do, except pass meds. I know this is incorrect, but I just smiled at the ignorant girl. As an extern, I have to follow this person around until I graduate. I thought it best to stay quiet my 1st day of work.
  11. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from allthingsbright
    I was kinda like, "Huh?" I didn't know MA's could go around calling themselves nurses.
    It is illegal for anyone other than an LPN/LVN or RN to refer to oneself as a 'nurse'. An individual must possess a nursing license in order to be referred to as a 'nurse'.

    I attended MA school and have a diploma in medical assisting and, although I have never worked as one, they have a valuable niche in the delivery of healthcare. Most doctors' offices would have difficulty remaining in operation without the important duties and skills that MAs readily bring to the table. MAs are valued members of the healthcare team; however, they are not nurses.

    I can perform skills that physicians also perform, such as obtaining vital signs, suture removal, interpreting lab results, patient education, catheterizing, surgical preps, etc. The list goes on and on. Even though some skills overlap, I do not possess the education or licensure to be called a physician and would not refer to myself as such. Even though MAs and nurses have some overlapping skills, it does not make a nurse out of an MA.
  12. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from ann945n
    Hmmm just another thought while reading some of the other replies is why so many MA feel the need to call themselves RN's. Are they not proud of the title they earned and their unquie role in health care which is seperate from the nurse? Just a thought, since we are all so protective of the RN title you think the would be of theirs and proudly state MA
    I'm sure many are proud but there are sooooo many who are obviously not. They are RN wannabee's although they would never admit it. It's pretty brassy at best. Can you imagine as an RN going around saying you are an MD?!! Wow that would go over like a 2 ton rock and rightfully so. When it comes to MA's calling themselves nurses it seems like nobody but the real nurses really care. Sad.
  13. by   allthingsbright
    Oh wow, you guys. I had no idea this was such a big deal! I also wasn't sure it was illegal--thanks for setting me straight. I guess I just didn't think of it as impersonation...

    As for working under an RN lisence--in our school system there is one RN over 5 MA's. The RN just fields phone calls, goes from school to school (probably to fill out paperwork since they obviously aren't needed for anything else), etc. This MA stated she "doesn't ever have to call the RN" because "she knows what she is doing." So she has a pretty big head--she really thinks she is a nurse! What happens when she DOESN'T know what she is doing? She seemed so big for her britches that it was kinda scary to think of her caring for my kid.

    Oh, she did state she has had "extra" training in CPR and first aid!!!! Boy, was that a relief...
  14. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from allthingsbright
    Oh, she did state she has had "extra" training in CPR and first aid!!!! Boy, was that a relief...
    Let's pray that she was paying attention...Mostly they call 911...but that's a good thing.

close