MA saying she's "the same as an RN" - page 5

At my job, we are offered classes each month for our CEU's as LNA's. We were at one the other day for some psych training, and we were asked what we wanted to be doing in 5 years. Myself and... Read More

  1. by   gauge14iv
    They don't function under a license, but they do follow doctors instructions or whoevers instructions (possibly yours) as set out by your clinic policy.

    An MA working in a docs office is not under your license, she is however under your supervision if you are telling her what to do or delegating tasks to her. In MOST STATES (I dont claim to to know the nurse practice acts in all states!) as long as you follow your board of nursing and states regulations for delegation of tasks to unlicensed personnel, you have have little to worry about. She can't jeapordize your license unless you innapropriately delegate a task to her - that leaves the power in your hands - not hers.

    If she performs a task that is a nursing task only without you telling her to do it, then your license should not be at risk - again - thats MY state, check with yours for clarification.
  2. by   mstigerlily
    The only place I see Medical Assistants is at the Doctor's Office and most of them are competent and friendly but there have been a few...!!! They have their place in the doctor's office but I am always happy to see an actual nurse in a doctor's office but they are farther and farther to find. Usually if there is an actual nurse working there, they are triaging patients or returning calls by phone to answer questions.
  3. by   CA CoCoRN
    Quote from danu3
    i looked into a local reputable ma program before i decided to go and get an rn instead.

    first of all, it is true that ma takes about 2 years like an adn. but that is sort of where the similarity stops. here are some differences:

    * ma has a lot more training than a rn in office administrative tasks (actually rn really have none). look at details at their courses.

    * ma has a lot less science requirements. for example, ma takes a two quarter physiology/anatomy course (in a quarter system) instead of the harder version of physiology/anatomy which last 3 quaters (the books are different and the ma version is a lot thiner).

    * rn have have a lot more spiritual-psycho-social training beside the biological side while ma has none of these requirements.

    * the prereqs for ma is basically good communication skills and a high school degree. for adn, you have 1 year of physio/anatomy, micro, nutrition, psych, life-span psych, .... for bsn, you have the wonderful extra requirements of chem and organic-chem and other courses.

    * instructors for ma are either rns or people with administration stuff to teach the office part.

    * clinical for ma are a lot less, i mean a lot less and part of the "clinical" involve office administration.

    * patient contacts are different. rns can potentially have a lot more physical patient contacts and doing a lot more yuking stuff (dealing with all kinds of human fluid imaginable and not imaginable).

    * assesment skills, i would go with a rn anytime.

    * there are other differences, these are the one that pop into my head from attending the ma information meeting and took one intro class.

    * pay for ma is a lot less than rn and for good reason when you look at the details in terms of training (don't look at the length of time as that is not an accurate view).

    * a nurse is way more flexible than a ma beside having the ability to work in a hospital. a nurse can work on a cruise ship, can work in a law office (nursing attorney), can work with computer systems (nursing informatics), can even be a cop (certain type of forensic nursing), can work in camp, in school, with drugs companies, with libraries, with researchers, with insurance companies... nurses are there at the beginning of birth to the end of life and everthing in between. nurses are like bateria, they are everywhere! the difference between nurses and bateria is that we don't have a shortage of bateria.

    * in a disaster situations, one does not really need mas, one needs mds, nurses, social workers, chaplains, police, fire, and so on. basically people who are highly trained.


    basically, mas have a their roles in the health care system scheme of things. as usual, skills overlaps. ma, rn/lvn, other health professions, and md all takes blood pressure, we don't all start claiming we are mds because we happened to have some skills that overlap with mds.

    in terms of career wise, an adn is far better that a ma in terms of pay, in terms of potential career advancement(can do a bridge to a bsn, than later graduate studies, and even ph.d) while ma has none of these potential.

    as for which one is easier to get in, where i live, they are both hard to get in as they are both impacted. i do know the classes i need to take is a lot easier than what is require in a adn/bsn program and thus it would have the advantage of a lot less stress and lower blood pressure. i know, as i looked in it for myself and i decided to risk the high blood pressure instead... it is a tradeoff.

    -dan
    dan made quite salient points, some of which i highlighted. just because the "length" of time that one may attend school may be in the same range in no way determines comparity of skill and education.

    also, many skills are being farmed out to lower skilled and technical providers while the interpretation of that data remains with the licensed persons.
    let's remember, with the initial inventions of the thermometers, sphygmomanometers, etc only physicians were allowed to use them. however, with further training and education, others were then allowed to use those instruments. that doesn't make that person a physician.

    just because you can sew, you're not a surgeon. and it goes on down the line.

    case in point: i work very closely with my personal ob/gyn at work. she told me that she had to fire one of her mas. she stated that the woman (ma) had given a pt a prescription form to take to the hospital since the woman was c/o bleeding and pain (a common practice is for pts to come in with rx stating their complaints, if they're sent from the office). she stated that the ma had signed her (the md's) name to the rx. at this point, i didn't see the problem, because the md hadn't yet identified the person's licensure. turns out that the ma and the md had been screwed by their own laxness and misnomers. i told my friend, the md, this to her face: she frequently refers to her mas as "her nurses", however none of them are. the ma who was fired took her "promotion" too far and committed fraud by signing the rx pad.

    remember, verbal orders and use of rx pads are only the domain of licensed nurses. that is nurses by definition of the boards of nursing in the united states. those recognized nurses do not include medical assistants, medication aides or anyone else except licensed vocational/practical and registered (professional) nurses.

    i am a stickler for this at all times. mas can think that they are "the same" if they wanna. they will only screw themselves in the end. i can be called "dr. cocorn" at work (as some co-workers and a couple of doctor friends have given me as a nickname) and continue to do my job, with many skills and assessments and judgement calls being the same as a physician, but until i take and pass the usmlex, i am and will remain an r.n. that's life and fact. no matter how many more years in school i rack up...no matter if i become a doctorate of nursing science....i will remain an r.n. at the end of the day.

    if an ma can't get that difference....well that just illuminates the difference in reasoning and critical thinking.
    Last edit by CA CoCoRN on Dec 18, '05
  4. by   RNSuzq1
    Quote from HeartsOpenWide
    We have to know a lot of stuff that nurses might not (partly because they do not need it) such a all the current medications, since we have to call in RXs and refills, so of course we have to know all the abbr.
    Hearts - I'm in my last semester of Nursing School to become an RN and you better believe we have to know "All Medications" - forwards, backwards, sideways and upside-down!!!!!! Not only do we take Pharmacology, Drug Therapy and Drug Calculations Courses, but we put this knowledge to use each week during Clinicals. While preparing my weekly Care Plans for my patients, I have to look up no less than 30 medications (different ones each week), know everything about those meds (drug classifications, actions, side effects, routes, - if it's an IV drug I have to be prepared to calculate the dosage, drip rate, etc.), I have to know if it's a Med that requires me to take the patients blood pressure before giving it, know what Labs I need to check before giving certain meds, etc. and verbalize all of this the next morning to my Instructor before I'm allowed to give them to my patients.

    If we aren't prepared to verbalize all of this to the Instructors - it's an immediate "U" - Unsatisfactory for the day.. Maybe sounds rough, but the consequences of giving a Med without knowing everything about it could harm your patient. Medication errors can cause patients deaths and for this reason - it is the "biggest" reason that students are dismissed from Nursing School. So - for anyone that thinks "Nurses" don't need to know about Medications "Think Again" - it's one of the most important aspects of the job...

    One more thing about this "Thread" that bugs me. RN's used to wear all white so patients could distinguish them from other staff - not so these days. At the hospital I work at, even the housekeepers wear scrubs - so if the name tags we wear around our neck are turned around, you don't know who is who. I work as a CNA II on the weekends and let my patients know I'm the Nurses Asst. not the Nurse. A few weeks ago I was in a patients room when a housekeeper entered to clean (in her scrubs) - the patient thought the housekeeper was the "Nurse" and started asking her questions about her upcoming surgery. I'm not saying that the housekeeping staff is going to start doling out medical advise.. , but when everyone is dressed the same and the patients don't know who is who - there is definitely chance for problems to arise... Sue......
  5. by   CA CoCoRN
    You bring up a good point about the Nurses (and Doctors) vs. the "others in scrubs". It bugs me as well.

    However, because we had an incident on our unit in which the pt's husband thought he was notifying a nurse, but it was really a unit secretary...and the untoward event that followed...we are now color coded.

    The RNs and ONLY the RNs are in a certain color. Our scrubs are hospital provided, so there is no question. LVNs (who function as our scrubs) are another color. Unit Sec. and techs have another color. The students who come on our unit are in an entirely different color too!

    Our housekeepers have to change into certain clothing when they come from other parts of the hospital since they'll be cleaning our O.Rs. Once or twice we've had them change into our color. I have harped on them gently (though once I had to get firm) and inform them that they can not and should not wear our scrubs. Once anyone understands why, they are accomodating.

    It's necessary though: our pt population is not native English speaking, so sometimes it's the only way they can identify the Real Nurses.
  6. by   mstigerlily
    Oh, which hospital is this?? I am also in So Cal and I would love this. Everyone EVERYONE wears scrubs - housekeepers, kitchen staff, CNAs, LVNs, RNs unit secretaries. Students wear uniforms and the lab techs and drs tend to wear lab coats but sometimes scrubs or street clothes.

    Patients are constantly saying "Where is that other nurse?" about the CNA or "Oh the nurse just came in, I have to get off the phone" when the housekeeper or dietary walks in.

    Quote from CA CoCoRN
    You bring up a good point about the Nurses (and Doctors) vs. the "others in scrubs". It bugs me as well.

    However, because we had an incident on our unit in which the pt's husband thought he was notifying a nurse, but it was really a unit secretary...and the untoward event that followed...we are now color coded.

    The RNs and ONLY the RNs are in a certain color. Our scrubs are hospital provided, so there is no question. LVNs (who function as our scrubs) are another color. Unit Sec. and techs have another color. The students who come on our unit are in an entirely different color too!

    Our housekeepers have to change into certain clothing when they come from other parts of the hospital since they'll be cleaning our O.Rs. Once or twice we've had them change into our color. I have harped on them gently (though once I had to get firm) and inform them that they can not and should not wear our scrubs. Once anyone understands why, they are accomodating.

    It's necessary though: our pt population is not native English speaking, so sometimes it's the only way they can identify the Real Nurses.
  7. by   RNSuzq1
    Hi CoCoRN,

    The hospital I'm at did the same thing until recently. The RN's on each floor had a certain color, all CNA's on every floor had to wear royal blue pants, etc. For some reason, they just changed the "dress code" and now anything goes for the employees. My school doesn't take any chances with someone not knowing who we are - we're dressed in WHITE from head to toe, name badge on our tops stating we are "Student" Nurses, our lab coats have huge insignias that read "STUDENT". They've done everything but have us wear large flashing neon signs saying "BEWARE - Student Nurse in Training - don't ask her any questions", :chuckle....
  8. by   CA CoCoRN
    I'm at St Francis.

    When in Nursing School, we too wore white head to toe with my college insignias attached to the shoulder of our scrub tops and jackets.

    It's the same way when in Medical School, interns and med students have short jackets. It's somewhat of an identifier.
    Heck, even as a "nurse tech" (my old employer's term for a student who's not actually CNA but working as one), we could wear whatever color top, but the bottoms were always white.


    I really don't get the trend of having those who AREN'T involved in pt care in scrubs. Now, even in allied health schools the students are also in scrubs. Why??

    I have a habit of telling my patients that I'm their REGISTERED NURSE and that only we are in the color we wear, I and those like me are the ONLY ones they should ask re: procedures, plan of care, etc. I'm not "the nurse", I'm an R.N.
  9. by   RedSox33RN
    I agree that everyone in scrubs starts to look the same, at least with the nurses and aides in our dept. The food service staff all wear blue aprons over their regular clothes, and housekeeping wear the same color scrubs (though staff know this, patients probably do not).

    At one hospital I did clinical at, all the LNA's wore the same print for scrub tops/jacket. Nurses could wear whatever they wanted. Our school scrubs make it pretty easy to identify us. Bright blue scrubs (we look like smurfs!) and not only our hospital badge says "Student", but our scrubs are embroidered with our college name, and we have to wear a college ID pin with our name.

    I'm not one that wants to go back to white uniforms, but I agree that hospitals should put some effort into making people more identifiable (like lab coats for lab personnel, etc). I think most don't want to spend the money on uniforms - I know mine doesn't. I try to make sure my badge is always visible when I'm working (it turns around all the time), and I always say that I'm a nurses aide. I don't even use the term LNA, since many people don't know what that is.

    I just remembered something that was really helpful, from when I was hospitalized last winter for a few days. There was a small dry erase board in the room by each bed, and on it was my RN's name and my LNA's name. When shift changed, the new RN and LNA would each change their name on the board when they came in to see me. I think something like that would be helpful for confused pt's, family, whomever.
  10. by   nurse4theplanet
    The identifying factor is definitely an issue, but even so, one SHOULD (not saying it always happens but should) be taught not to falsely represent themselves as something they are not.
    Last edit by nurse4theplanet on Dec 19, '05
  11. by   daisy9980
    I am proud to say I am an SPN.
    Student Practical Nurse Tracy
  12. by   nurse4theplanet
    Quote from daisy9980
    I am proud to say I am an SPN.
    Student Practical Nurse Tracy
    Yes! Be proud of what you are. If you are an MA, then you went through training and studied and have a valuable scope of practice that many MDs find desireable. No need to try and make yourself appear more important by referring to yourself by another more advanced title. I am one proud nursing student myself....at this point, I certainly do not want to be mistaken for an RN!!!!! I need some more time and experience
  13. by   RedSox33RN
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    Yes! Be proud of what you are. If you are an MA, then you went through training and studied and have a valuable scope of practice that many MDs find desireable. No need to try and make yourself appear more important by referring to yourself by another more advanced title. I am one proud nursing student myself....at this point, I certainly do not want to be mistaken for an RN!!!!! I need some more time and experience
    EXACTLY!! On all points! LOL

    It makes me wonder how many lawsuits have stemmed from a non-nurse medical person misrepresenting themselves as a nurse. Probably quite a few! Same with a non-MD misrepresenting themselves as a doctor.

close