medical assistant to be future nurse?

  1. 3
    I just started working as a medical assistant in an ambulatory setting. I want to work in health care because I like taking care of people. Sometimes I feel that I'll like being a nurse more because your taking care of actual sick people instead of taking vitals on some whathealthy people just looking to see the doctor. Any nurses that were medical assistants have any advice? Is my career as a medical assistant preparing me at all for a future nursing career?
    lindarn, luvche, and txspadequeenRN like this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 12 Comments...

  3. 7
    I was a medical assistant and it prepared me for becoming an LPN. I found school to be much easier, since I already new the basics. The big difference is that you learn all clinic as a medical assistant and as an LPN you will learn the skills and knowledge needed for the hospital setting at least this was my experience. My LPN made my transition to an RN very smooth. I am glad that I took the route that I did.
  4. 1

    I wasnt a medical Assistant but i was a dialysis tech so i know how you feel. I too wanted more so i went to school to become a LPN and i love it. I've been a nurse for almost 2yrs now im going for my RN and should be finish around this time next year. So just do some research and Go for it. Wish you the best Good Luck
    lindarn likes this.
  5. 2
    i will say no, but not to upset you or discourage you, but to help you realize the big differences.

    nursing requires critical thinking by using a body of knowledge learned.. questions asked in nursing school are unlike those asked in ma programs. you will have questions where every answer is a correct piece of the puzzle, but which is is more correct... these are not your typical multiple choice questions..

    learning to assess is an aspect of a nursing program. nurses 'assess', ma's do not. you may think you know what i mean, but until you go to nursing school you may not be cognizant of the depth for which we assess.

    nursing is about helping people reach their maximum level of health, so nurses do care for healthy people [too] in some settings. education regarding diabetes management can keep someone, who is [otherwise] generally healthy, from experiencing the most major complications from diabetes.

    healthy people need nursing care too, they need advocacy, just in a different way.
    bravone1 and lindarn like this.
  6. 1
    I'm a CMA applying for ADN program this fall. It wouldn't do me much good to get my LPN since the hospitals where I live only hire RN's. I have been a CMA for 3 years and was a CNA for a couple of years before that. I feel the same way that you do and I want to be more challenged. It kind of feels like your not helping people that much in a doc's office since none of them are usually critical cases(there are occasional people where I live that will go to the doc's office when they are having a MI instead of the hospital because they have had bad experinces or heard rumors!).

    I love the hours in the doc's office but it just isn't for me. I love to do the more hands on physical work and giving a shot once a week or doing injection training isn't really doing it for me anymore since I get bored easily.

    I think I may want to be an infusion nurse since we have an infusion room where I work. I help out there sometimes and it is faster paced so I love it! I guess any experince helps but it really would depend on what you are doing and there are some things that you just can't train for until you're doing it. Hope you find what works for you.
    lindarn likes this.
  7. 1
    I was also a CMA. However, I am not finished with the ADN program just yet--in my third semester. I will say that being a CMA working in a docs office came no where near preparing me for nursing school and the clinical setting. It did, however, help me with interacting with the patients and knowing how to communicate to the many different patients you will care for. Many of my fellow nursing students have mentioned that they are afraid to talk to a patient and don't know really what to say (this was 1st semester), but I had no problem what-so-ever as I had been talking to patients every day for a few years.

    Now this is just my experience. There are many different settings for CNA/CMA work. Many different types of doc office, hospital, clinics, some do administrative work, etc. In my workplace, being a CMA helped very little or prepared me for nursing school.

    You do know what you love to do and that's care for others. I would no doubt yourself on that! CMA program was super easy for me, made A's on everything. Nursing school is totally different. You can do it though! Good Luck!
    lindarn likes this.
  8. 1
    Yes, absolutely! I worked as a Patient Care Tech at a hospital during nursing school and I learned many things on the job (things you don't get a chance to see in clinicals). I went from struggling in nursing school to getting straight A's, thanks to being a PCT. My advice to you is to get a job in a hospital where you can get hands on training. Also it's a good idea to get your foot in the door at a hospital now so they hire you on as a nurse when you graduate. Trust me, it's extremely difficult to get a job as a new graduate nurse right now, so you should prepare yourself in advance. Good luck to you!
    lindarn likes this.
  9. 2
    I can tell you, that as a former Certified Medical Assistant, I feel I was well prepared when it came to the clinical and skills part of nurse training and nursing. I was very confident in handling physicians requests and autonomy in performing tasks that maybe other new nurses weren't. my *personal* experience was that I was less versed and very bad at (needed more practice in) things like the bed baths, hygiene, and other personal care tasks that my fellow nurses who were CNAs first.

    also, I had a medical assisting job where I assisted physicians in minor inpatient procedures that were pretty in depth.

    I think ANY job you can do that is in the medical field is a plus before nursing!

    (My CMA job included assisting with colposcopy, vasectomy, drawing blood, counseling patients on STD's and other diseases, and doing the pre and post op education for patients who were going to get vasectomies or tubal well as education for patients before they got colposcopies, biopsies, and LEEP/LEETZ procedures. I know many med assistants who didn't have positions near that in it also depends on where you work!)
    Good luck!
    NCstudentnurse715 and lindarn like this.
  10. 1
    Here is my story:

    9 years as an MA: I definitely feel that all the hands on experience I have gotten will help me during clinicals. I am not afraid to stick people with needles (um, actually kind of like it ), I'm not afraid of seeing strange people naked and I'm not afraid of "holier than thou" dr's. I can easily strike up a conversation with people and I know for a fact that I thoroughly enjoy coming into contact with a nice variety of patients each day (well, most days).

    Spending 3 additional years as a medical biller/coder: I also know I love picking apart each seperate piece of a "puzzle", aka, op report, looking closely at each piece, then placing it all back together and looking at the whole to arrive at the correct code...critical thinking-ish style, maybe?...From my understanding, this may serve me well in nursing school...that has yet to be seen, of course.

    2 months recently as an aide in an ALF facility (because everyone told me I just simply MUST work as an aide!): I'm sorry, but how in the h*ll dishing out mac and cheese and folding laundry is going to make me a better nurse is beyond me!! Yeah, ok, I showered the folks and reported any changes in physical and/or mental condition (which ended up always being ignored by the nurse anyway), I got them all snuggled up in their beds, but it was the most mind numbingly, boring job of my life! Working as aide in a hospital setting I imagine is a whole other ball of wax though.

    Again, this is just my story and JMHO and I'm sticking to it
    lindarn likes this.
  11. 0
    I was a healthcare assistant before becoming a nurse and found it benefited me. It helped me because I already knew the basics and how to build rapport with the patients so I could focus more on the higher learning. In fact, some of the best nurses I have worked alongside began their careers in similar supporting roles. I think it's a pity more hospitals don't offer programmes and financial support to healthcare assistants, techs, etc to allow them progress towards roles in nursing and other clinical therapies.

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors