what the heck are medical assistant schools doing !

  1. I'm an RN, in the ER. I know of 4 people who, in my opinion have been rooked into MA (medical assistant ) schools. Each on of these people have been told that , MA , can do everything an RN can do. Not sure about you but I don't think the Cardiac Thorasic Dr's want an MA to care for a crashing patient at 2:00 am. My best freind completed an ma course, her med list MOM, TD, Botox(go figure why this is even on a med list for an ma)etc. As compaired to an RN list of inatrops, ca blockers etc..
    Any one have any ideas of how to stop the practice of ma schools comparing ma 's to Rn's?
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  2. 180 Comments

  3. by   HARRN2b
    Actually they are doing it everywhere. I do not get it either. My cousin just finished college for MA and makes about 10.00 per hour. I want to puke when my own father calls her a nurse.
  4. by   TazziRN
    Well, technically they aren't lying. In an office or clinic they can do almost everything an RN can do.

    I agree, though, it is misleading. I know several MA's who work in the hospital but none of them are utilizing their training...they all work as CNA's.
  5. by   Multicollinearity
    To me the larger issue is the problem of these for-profit vocational schools that mislead the naive who want to do better in life. Their misrepresentation applies to many other certificate programs, not just nursing and/or MA.

    For example, in my city there is a for-profit school advertising their medical coding certificate program on the radio. They advertise "make $50,000 per year as a medical office coder!"

    Less than 1% of medical coders in my city earn 50k. More like 30k per year.

    So I guess I see it as an industry-wide problem of misleading the naive who want to do better. I went with a relative to one of these private vocational certification programs for an info session once, and the high pressure commission 'career counselor' made me want to:


  6. by   angel337
    i was a MA for one year before i went to nursing school and i agree these schools prey on people that don't know any better. you make crappy wages and have the responsibilities of a real nurse... without the license. most clinics are staffed with MA's because it is too expensive to have nurses. i would not recommend these schools for anyone.
  7. by   vamedic4
    This is disgusting to me, that people actually think a medical assistant and a nurse do the "same thing". Long ago I went thru an MA program, at my high school- very informative but very basic...and though I graduated, I never worked as an MA, preferring instead to work as an EMT (better pay, more exciting environment).
    This is a dangerous trend, but it seems people are falling for the advertising...it ought to be illegal, this type of misrepresentation. Sure, anyone can operate an autoclave. But when it comes to procedural "prowess" or assessment of patients, it's got to be the job of a nurse. And her skills and knowledge are head and shoulders above any MA I've ever seen.

    Dangerous.

    vamedic4
  8. by   cad4296
    You are exactly right! I wasted $10,000 on a medical assistant course (FYI less than what I could pay to get a nursing degree in some schools around me!) You go in for an "information session" which is basically a high pressure sales pitch that sounds really awesome to the young and naive (read: ME at 19 years old!) They tell you that you will make all this money, that you can do everything nurses can do, that ALL your credits will transfer, etc. LIES!!! Your credits don't transfer, you make $8-$10 a hour, and yes you do alot in the doctors office but you are doing things you have no idea about! Very dangerous! I did my externship in an urgent care clinic and this doctor had me starting IVs and doing sutures (stuff I was NOT trained to do, but he "taught" me) along with all the blood draws and shots and such. And all through school you are told you can do everything nurses can do and we were even told we are allowed to do more than LVNs! Even worse, some of the instructors are RN's! (Some are MA's too but alot are RNs or doctors) They should know better. The anatomy you learn is just skimming the surface. These schools should be shut down and put out of business! You can get the same certification at a community college for much cheaper and credits that transfer, not to mention they tell you the truth about it! By the way, I never worked a day as an MA outside of my externship because I make more as a customer service rep at my current job.
  9. by   RNsRWe
    I like the current advertising on tv for those certification and diploma mills.....the spokesmodel who says she wanted to provide a comfortable life for her and her child but didn't want to spend "years" getting a degree. So she went to XX School and now has a "rewarding, well paying career as a healthcare professional in only a few months!!!". Umm.....yeah. Well, she IS wearing a white uniform, so....
  10. by   BSNtobe2009
    One of the for-profit vocational schools in this area are at least advertising with a caption underneath that says, "credits may not transfer".

    The many designations is very confusing to the public and I was around hospitals my entire life and I still come across new titles, especially since I have been on this board.

    I came across something the other day called a Certified First Assistant, or something like that...basically an RN with training in actual surgery that assists a doctor with more than handing over instruments.

    I mean, I can't believe a program like that is even out there...I heard a surgeon once say, "Doing an appendectomy (sp) is not a difficult surgery and I can take just about anyone with no medical training and teach them how to do one in a couple of hours...however, it would take me 10 years to teach them what to do if something goes wrong."

    As appealing as something like that sounds...there is no way I would want that kind of liability with that little training...there is a reason why surgeons go to school "forever".
  11. by   nurse 2001
    I just spoke to someone about medical assistant bascially its a waste of money . About $14,000 or even more. A md can train someone to do vitals,height,weight,etc.The person who I spoke with stated she wanted to be a nurse.She called a program and asked about nursing and they talked her into becoming a ma.She spent $14,000 and know she can't find work as a ma.She can't make her loan payments making$9 hr as a cna.
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    the spokesmodel who says she wanted to provide a comfortable life for her and her child but didn't want to spend "years" getting a degree. So she went to XX School and now has a "rewarding, well paying career as a healthcare professional in only a few months!!!". Umm.....yeah. Well, she IS wearing a white uniform, so....
    We must have seen the same commercial. I saw a commerical very similar to that the last weekend i went to DC, and it talked about the "rewarding career in just a few months instead of years", and the income being worth it. DC isn't a cheap place to live, and i know better than to think an MA there would make enough to live comfortably independent.
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Never was this statement more appropriate than it is now:

    Caveat Emptor!


    (let the buyer beware)
  14. by   Natkat
    I've seen this in my area. There are commercials that show a young woman shopping while the sales clerk looks on in envy, wondering how she can afford such expensive things. The shopper tells the clerk that now that she works as a medical assistant she can afford to buy more things. Jeez. They play on a person's greed to sell their programs.

    I know someone who finished MA school back in May and cannot find a job. I know another person who went through a surgical assistant program and can't find a job. I almost got talked into a program for ultrasound technology. It would have cost (no kidding) $34,000 for an 18-month program! Going to a university for four years would have been cheaper. Are you kidding me?

    I have also seen these things advertised for medical transcription jobs. As I was LEAVING the MT world I was always approached by newbies asking me where they can find the 50k a year jobs they were promised by these schools. I told them that in my 15 years as an MT, the most I ever made was 32K a year. If they ever find those 50K jobs let me know, because I never found one. What's even worse is that as these schools are ramping up their programs, all the transcription jobs are going overseas to India and The Philippines. Most hospitals closed their transcription departments years ago. In-house transcription is unheard of now.

    It breaks my heart that people spend good money, not to mention a couple of precious years, going through these schools to wind up with nothing at the end.
    Last edit by Natkat on Oct 3, '06

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