Views on Medical Assistants

  1. Hi...

    Im close to receiving my degree as a Medical Assitant and once I pass my state board exam I will be a C-MA. I was just wondering how many people started off this way? If its a good route to follow.. My teacher told us that after we finish our classes all we have to do is take one class on Catheterization's and IV's then we can petition the LVN board and become a certified LVN.. It seems thats the only diffrence between a MA and a LVN.. a LVN can start a IV and do catheter and the MA's can't. Does this sound right? Just wondering
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   MollyJ
    Hi jessy,
    don't know much about how MA's are educated and so I cannot at all speak to differenced between LPN & MA ed (and I am an RN).

    Most nursing programs are structured around a foundation of knowing anatomy and something about the sciences (often including chemistry and microbiology and more, taught at the college level). Nurses then learn general care procedures of hospitalized patients and then learn about normal and acute and chronic care in the domains of medical surgical, ob-gyn, psych and pediatric nursing. Rather than learning skills per se, they are learned in the context of caring for a person experiencing a bio-psycho-social problem or alteration in health. Nurses create and implement a plan of care for individuals based on a framework of assess, plan, intervene and evaluate.

    My perception, and I would certainly invite you to broaden my knowledge base, is that MA's learn about certain care procedures and may have a limited and not usually college based knowledge base in anatomy, physiology, pathophys, micro, psychology, sociology, nutrition.

    The procedure of isolating a superficial vein, cleaning an arm and inserting a needle is relatively easy. The understanding of rationales for when and why you do and do not perform certain procedures or inject certain substances is not so easily taught. In a case management job I performed, we taught parents to care for their vent dependent children and they did it expertly, but their knowledge was not highly generalizeable and they were not qualified to care for all children on ventilators (as professional peds nurses are).

    Mobility is very individual based on the state board of nursing that licenses LPN's in your state and, alas, it would not surprise me if their is easy upward mobility between the LPN and the MA. I will keep my thoughts on that to myself; they have nothing to do with you as an individual since I don't really know you at all.

    Again, your own state board of nursing can address the mobility between MA and LPN and you can link to your state board of nursing from this web site's home page.

    Good luck in your future.
  4. by   janleb
    I am going into my second yr. I am finding nursing to be more than preforming skills. To know why I am doing something, what could happen and what to do then is a task that is not easily learned. Toward the end of clinicals this yr I had a pt that was COPD, and was dyspneic. I was thinking afterward if I would have had this pt at the beginning not knowing what I know now. I would have ran down the hall screaming help. Sorry a little off track but it was like a lightbulb went off in my head.
  5. by   CEN35
    good question? i have been a nurse in the er for 5 years now. truthfully? i really don't know what the training is with an ma, or the difference betwen what you learn as an ma vs an lpn/lvn? no answer here
  6. by   itzmejessy
    Well the course itself is 8 - 10 months. And there broken down into modules.

    1) Patient Care and Communication
    2) Clinical Assisting and Pharmacology
    3) Medical Insurance, Billing, bookeeping and health Sciences
    4)Cardiopulmonary and Electrocardiography
    5) Laboratory Procedures (EKG's,Venis,Urinalysis,Strep tests,injections,etc.)
    6) Endocrinology and Repoduction
    7) Thereputic Care
    8) A One month Externship

    We do focus heavily on lab procedures. (Urinalysis,Reading EKG's doing injections, drawing blood etc etc) But for the most part its pretty a condensed school. Normally its a 14 month program at the JC and I will have finished it in 8 months total.

    MA's are basiclly one step up from CNA's. The good thing about it is I was already offered a job working in the Intensive Care unit as a phlebotomist of our local Hospital (I have been externing there.. and I got my phlebotomist licence within my MA program.) The pay is good they are starting me off at 19.00 a hour for swing shift and if I want to work night shift its 21.00 a hour.. 10 hour shift minimum overtime mandatory. And I refused to work pediatrics.. Although I might just have to.

    Ya, I see what you mean about a well rounded education.. were basiclly taught the how to's and we leave out the Liberal arts...

    I want to go further then my MA.. I mean I love drawing blood and I can do it all day long.. but Im sure there is more out there.. which is why Im looking for a good RN program.

    Last edit by itzmejessy on Jul 4, '01
  7. by   502Nurse
    19.00 or 21.00 an hour Where I live RN's don't start
    off at that much!!!!! Where do you live?
  8. by   itzmejessy
    I live in California.

    My friend Just graduated from St. Marry's and got a BSN and there starting her off at 65K a year. So they pay out here is good for nursing.

    And, Im on the low end of the totum pole.


    Then again.. the cost of living out here is unreasonable. A one bedroom apartment in suburbia will run you about 1,250 a month. And about 2,000 in the City (San Francisco) So, its all relative. Let me not mention the cost of electricity, gas (2.26 a galon) etc etc.
  9. by   BrandyBSN
    Where do you live?? RN's with several years experience dont make that much here, I think i may need to relocate!
  10. by   itzmejessy
    Like I said I live in CA.. the SF Bay Area.. Hey Brandy.. where did you go to school? I was thinking about going to school in the midwest and I wanted to know what you suggested?? Or if anybody out there has a good school to suggest to me please do so.
  11. by   BrandyBSN
    Hey Jessy,

    I am currently attending Truman State University in Kirksville MO. It is a 4 year BSN, including LA&S. According to USA: World News and Report, we are the Top university in the Midwest. We also rank first in nursing for the midwest. It is an awesome program, but we have a high drop out rate. we accept 50 freshman every year, and usually graduate a class of 23-25. If you have any other questions, please email me!
  12. by   xrayedRN
    I can tell you a little about this topic coming from my own experience. I became a medical assistant a few years ago, then an x-ray tech, and now I'm about to graduate from the RN program at Mount St Mary's in Los Angeles. Honestly, the education that you get as an M.A. is extremely basic; you do not get enough experience assessing patients, understanding labs and reading EKGs (to name a few skills). It has nothing to do with the students, the problem is the M.A. schools and teachers that try to make it sound that you are qualified to become an LVN just by learning a couple of extra skills. I'm telling you this because over the last 7 years, I have worked with and have trained over 70 M.A.s. Please, do not misunderstand me, some of them are great at what they do and extremely knowledgeable, but sadly, this alone will not help you get far in the medical field. Use this as a stepping stone and continue your education. Become an R.N. and you will be the real caretaker and advocate for all of your patients. As a future fellow nurse, let me leave you with words from a famous oncologist in Los Angeles: "When I had my M.I., I didn't care whether the RN was ADN, BSN, MSN, or anything else. All I wanted was a caring, knowledgeable person next to me, regardless of the initials after her name."

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