So very confused, please advise asap

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    Good morning everyone. I have spent the last couple of days, literally, on this site reading and reading and just when I thought I got an answer, someone says different. I was looking into going for LPN. When I found no night classes I had to rethink my choices and it came down to CMA and PCT. A friend told me to do PCT, she is a nurse in an ER and says mostly techs work around her and they draw blood, do ekgs, basic pt info and vitals etc. Someone else told me that Pct is the arse wipers of the hospital and the lowest on the "ladder" of nursing. School synopsis of course tell you all the other things you do. I have an appt today at a school, in talking with the guy he told me I should do CMA, that they are up there next to LPN and do all the same things etc. When I explained that I've been researching, he insisted that CMAs DO work in hospitals "taking over" LPN positions because they are more trained? This makes no sense to me. As far as I know, CMA are more geared in dr offices and paperwork, whereas Pct and Lpn are more geared toward actual patient care. But what is the truth on all of these careers and what they entail?. Please someone help me get this all down so I can finally get on the road to school. I appreciate everyone's advice and experiences so much. Thank you!

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  2. 12 Comments...

  3. 3
    job duties of a pct:

    job duties of a cma:

    job duties of an lpn:

    note: these job descriptions are not all-inclusive.

    i completed the cma program in 2000, the lpn program in 2005, and i will graduate from an rn program in early 2010. you are correct when you say that the cma position is more geared toward employment in clinics, doctors' offices, and medical groups.

    the admissions manager has a vested interest in getting you enrolled into programs where space is available, without regard to your future. if this is a for-profit trade school, he is probably receiving a commission for enrolling people into the cma program, which is why he is going to be a biased (and inaccurate) source of information. it is untrue that cmas are taking over at the hospitals, so he told you a blatant lie to try to get you to enroll into the cma program.
    pagandeva2000, PhoenixTech, and mc3 like this.
  4. 0
    Thank you so much for your input and timely response!
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    I see very few, if any, CMA's in the hospitals here (NC). I see them in doctor's offices. The hospitals here are also hiring less and less LPNS; the LPN positions are found more in LTC. I would look in the local papers, the employment office, and the Websites of local facilities and see which positions are being advertised. Pharmacy tech is another option you might want to consider if you see job listings for that area. CMA's are NOT taking over LPN positions in my area and I doubt they are in any other area. While a CMA does some of the same things an LPN does (injections, blood draws, vitals, etc) they do way more paperwork and office type work than most LPNs.
  6. 3
    There are two types of licensed nurses: Registered Nurse and Licensed Professional Nurse (aka Licensed Vocational Nurse).

    That is it. All other positions (CMA, CNA, PCT, et al) are unlicensed assistive personnel. Any unlicensed health care worker who tells you that they are taking over the duties of LPN's (or RN's for that matter) are either ignorant, trying to build up their own position in their own mind, or well....I guess ignorant covers it all.
    mlclove, questionsforall, and DogWmn like this.
  7. 0
    your post made me smile Roser13
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    I am a PCT and a RN student. My hospital has no CMA's and no LPN's. The only LPN's in my area work in long term care.

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    I have been a CMA for 20 years, I have never been able to get work in a hospital except for one job where I did surgery scheduling for the hospital, making barely $10/hr, I went back to school , got my Associates and Bachelors in Healthcare Admin. and am now working on my Masters in Health Admin, CMA's are a dime a dozen and I would never go into that field ever and a PCT is no more than a CMA for a hospital, LPN's are being completely phased out in my area, (Cols, Ohio) so you will not see LPN's in any hospital here, only BSN's, not even RN's (new grads) are able to get in at all. I would only consider becoming an RN, working somewhere in the field before attempting hospital jobs, but do not stop at RN only, BSN's and then MSN's will be the only ones who are able to get jobs and move up in the future, if not already
  10. 0
    Hi Lisa :spin:

    I took a CCMA course that included national certification for CET, CPT and CMLA. I received my cetifications by taking the National Healthcareer Assosication exams. I must do CE every two years to keep my certs active. I did my externship in a hospital's outpatient department. I got hired per diem and after 6 mos I took the PCT course offered by the hospital. After passing the course I was offered a position as an Unliscensed Technical Associate and that is my current position.

    I have no doubt that the national certs helped me to qualify for the Tech position because although they said they would consider Medical Assistants, they primarily wanted CNA's. That's because CNA's already have patient care skills so all they would need to learn is EKG, Phlebotomy and wound care. In actuality, PCT's are not CMA's for the hospital, we don't do any paperwork, enter orders, make charts or check insurance coverage. Unit clerks are the CMA's for the hospital. We are CNA's for the hospital, with upgraded skills. In my case although I already had EKG and Phlebotomy, I still had to retake them as part of the course and I actually learned my patient care on the floor during orientation.

    I was also told during my CCMA course that we were taking over the LPN role but I knew enough to know that they were blowing smoke up our collective butts to help motivate us and bring in more students. I never believed it for a minute and you shouldn't either. They are probably getting government assistance and grants like my school was getting.

    Good luck with your decision. :redpinkhe
  11. 0
    we employ no LPN's or CMA's at our hospital. our PCT' are not allowed to draw blood or do EKG's. thats what lab and respiratory therapy/cardio techs are for. every state and facility is different, as is every school you go to. at the nursing school i went to, no one was allowed in the nursing programs until they had a YEAR of CNA experience!! no exceptions. in IA, CMA's are only in Dr's offices. LPN's are "allowed to work in hospitals", but no one hires them bc the RN has to go back and sign EVERYTHING they do, and LPNs are also not allowed to really do anything to do with IV's. CNA's are essentially "wipers" , but they also do SOOOO much more; and keep the RN's from drowning every day!! i was a CNA for 5 yrs before getting my LPN and it helps sooo much

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