Question from a Medical Assistant

  1. 0
    I am currently in a pre-nursing program and will hopefully start the nursing program next August. Here is my question: As of this month, I have 19 years experience as a Medical Assistant. My Nursing professors tell me that that experience won't amount to anything while in the nursing program nor while I am a nurse. Is this true? I find it sad and very hard to believe that the experience that I've have will not contribute to my success. I know there are a lot more things to learn and nursing is different than a MA's job. Can someone give me their opinion?

    Thank you!
  2. 5 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    I think your experience will help you be more comfortable dealing with patients. That might decrease your anxiety and help you to do a better job. It also might help you with getting checked off on some of the basic skills, such as taking vital signs, drawing lab work, etc. That could help you get off to a good start.

    However, I think what the instructors were probably thinking (and I only guess their thoughts) is that most nursing students master those beginner-level skills. That's not where people struggle and flunk out of the program. The more difficult parts are usually the more advanced skills and more indeth knowledge. That stuff will be as new to you as it will be to the other students.

    The instructors were probably trying to warn you not become over-confident and to rely too heavily on your past education and experience to get you through their program. They may have seen other students make the mistake of believing "they already knew" the key stuff and not work as hard, or not be willing change some of their ways -- and as a result, do badly in their program.

    Your background CAN help you, but only if you approach your new profession with the right attitude.
    MA_Davis and ErinRN2B like this.
  4. 0
    I can't completely agree with the previous post. I've been a Medical Assistant for 6 years and am in my first semester of a nursing program. I do think that being a Medical Assistant gives you in advantage in vital signs, phlebotomy, EKG's/ECG's, and also the comfortability of being around patients.

    However, when it comes to critical thinking (Which is how we are taught and tested in the program as well as for licensing) - That is something we all learn when we get into the nursing program. It's a completely new way of thinking. Also, most Medical Assistant programs teach you "how" not the "why" of things. Which is probably what they were talking about when they meant you wouldn't have an advantage. When I was working as an MA I knew why and how to do BP, labs, so on - But, it wasn't in-depth knowledge, it was more on a basic-mid level. A&P courses for MA's are very basic, and labs for them aren't required either. I didn't know how drugs could interact with other drugs or how everything in the body exactly intricately worked with another - Until I began taking the college level pre-reqs and co-reqs. Maybe that's what they meant?

    Either way, with everything you have to work for it. All of us get nervous, worry about clinicals, exams, and stress out the same, and we have MA's, CNA's, Psych-grads, and others with experience in our group. Never get comfortable! And never feel like you're sure about something. Everyone is taught from the ground up. All our preconceived notions and former way of doing things go out the window once we're accepted into the program. Everything is by the book once you're in the program. You will have to do everything from then on the way it's taught. And in that aspect, no one has an advantage.

    I tried to give you info. based on my own experience as an MA, and then getting into the program. Everyone's experience is different. I hope this has somehow helped. Good luck and don't give up!!!
  5. 0
    eesh. I meant "I completely agree" lol
  6. 0
    Thanks for your replies. I made up my mind to go in to the program "blindly." Meaning to pretend that I don't know a thing. I understand the "how" vs. the "why" of things as I am learning that in my pre-req's.

    I have learned quite a bit from the last 19 years. Some of those lessons I will take with me but will look forward to what I'm going to learn as I make this dream come true.

    Thanks, again!
  7. 0
    medical assisting and nursing are very different. you have a very different understanding of the body/mind/health connection, medications, illnesses etc.

    the education is not the same at all, and your experiences will be very different.

    you can make your dream come true!


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