Clinic nurse

  1. My fellow nurses out there, I need your opinion on my situation.

    After working in the hospital setting for 4 years, I decided to venture out to experience the clinical setting. So now i work at a doctor's office. However, even on the first day of the job I was perplexed by the fact that the MA's were doing the same duties as the RNs or LVNs. So i asked my preceptor, and she's an LVN, "So the MA's here do the same tasks as the nurses?" And she said "Well yes, they are trained to do the same thing because if I (and she used herself as an example) was not able to come to the clinic then the MA can run the clinic." I was just confused because I'm used to the specific duties/tasks that a RN can do and the differentiation of tasks done in a hospital setting. Then as days progress in this new job, the MA's also calls the pts with lab results and giving pts advice in their care/treatment,and how to administer medications. For nurses that work in a doctor's office, is this common or is this doctor's office doing something illegal? Please can someone enlighten me.
    Last edit by digitalgirl20 on Feb 11, '11
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    Joined: Feb '11; Posts: 5; Likes: 3


  3. by   tralalaRN
    Sure doesn't sound like it is legal at all. Refer to your state's nurse practice act for clarification.
  4. by   KellT1203
    I worked as a medical assistant off and on for 7 years before I went to nursing school. My last job was in pediatrics. The MAs were responsible for rooming patients, obtaining vitals, doing things like strep and flu tests, immunizations, hearing and vision screening. Nothing too major. I was certified too. We did give advice for things like cough, cold, children with stuffed up noses. We had a triage book that we followed when giving advice. You do need to check with your state laws on what medical assitants can and can't do as it probably varies from state to state just like our nursing scope of practice.
  5. by   ocean waves
    Hello. Congratulations on your new job in a doctor's office. It has been my experience that medical assistants sometimes work in a more "expanded role" in clinics than in hospitals. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I enjoyed working with medical assistants in a clinic for five years. The reality is that there are fewer professional nurses in clinics than in hospitals. Sometimes it becomes a necessity to safely delegate less complex care tasks to trained medical assistants in order to complete care of patients before the clinic closes each day. I respect your concerns about legal issues regarding the role of medical assistants. I agree with the writer who suggested that you check on guidelines for medical assistants in your state. Have you called your state board of nursing to ask questions? Best wishes to you.
  6. by   classicdame
    better clarify with the BON to be sure you do not delegate inappropriately.
  7. by   RxOnly
    I worked at a large medical group for 2 years w/different docs. There were MA's in all different departments... they were OK'd by our facility to give simple advice like handling cough/cold/low grade fever/etc. They could give lab results over the phone, but if it was regarding a complicated test, the doctor would usually call without even asking the MA or nurse to. Medical Assistants were OK'd to give vaccinations, but there were limitations on other injections (no IM antibiotics or painkillers)... they'd go to me or if there was no licensed or registered nurse around, the doc would need to do it. The facility always stressed to MA's that even if there was something to be done that was part of the Medical Assistant's scope, they needed to seek help if they weren't comfortable with it (same thing a nurse should do!)... the BIG thing at our facility, as with any, was that an MA was not to present themselves as a nurse- that meant not saying "Yes, I am Dr. Smith's nurse" when asked and not to flat-out say "I'm Jane and I'll be your nurse today" get my drift! I loved some of the MA's that I worked with and honestly thought they should have been headed to nursing school!
    I know others suggested to check with your state- in the meantime I would also check policy for that particular facility you're working in. Good luck and congrats on your new job!

    P.S. The facility mentioned I worked in is located in Massachusetts- not sure how things vary between states for Medical Assistants.
  8. by   lillymom
    I am a CMA and our scope of practice is quite broad. We practice directly under the MD's liscense so it is more of a question what the MD will allow the MA's to do as far as NC is concerned. I do injection training and education, injections, routine refills, and can give some advise and lab results but as far as the practice goes I can do anything that the rest of the LPN's in the practice do(we have no RN's). It really deoends on what state you live in since it varies greatly.

    As far as saying I am a nurse I never do that but the docs and the LPN's call me one all the time! I guess it's easier to say than medical assistant and less explaining to do as a lot of the general public have no clue what we are.
  9. by   luvthegsp
    As far as saying I am a nurse I never do that but the docs and the LPN's call me one all the time! I guess it's easier to say than medical assistant and less explaining to do as a lot of the general public have no clue what we are.
    But the problem with you "assuming" the title of nurse is that it is a crime!!
  10. by   lillymom
    I don't assume I'm a nurse. and as I clearly stated I am a CMA, but the MD's and LPN's call me a nurse. I do not correct the MD because they know I'm a CMA and so do the nurses, and CMA is on my name tag. I DO tell the pt. that I'm not a nurse because I do not want to call myself one and I am proud of my title as it stands. Nothing criminal about them calling me one since I can't control what they say.
  11. by   shortscrubbs108
    I work with a CMA in our clinic, she is great, she does a lot of the same tasks I do, for example calling patients with results, basic triage, injections etc...her doc calls her his "nurse" and it doesn't bother me because she also doesn't present herself as such. She always asks a nurse if there's something she's not sure about. You just have to be aware of, and be okay with, the fact that in the clinic setting MAs are usually a big part of that, and they can be great. In my case when I started as a new grad I had tons of questions for her since she has been there longer and knows the office process, dealing with insurance companies and clinic procedures/policies.
  12. by   digitalgirl20
    Thanks everyone with your replies. Really appreciate it. I will surely take each one of your advice and contact the BON in my state or try to find out more about the tasks delegated to the MA's.
  13. by   jessica.lanelle
    The way I understand it, in the state that I live in, the MA works under the doctor's license, so she can do whatever she has been trained to do, and the doctor feels comfortable with her doing.
    I was a nurse that worked in a clinic with MAs, and it always bothered me and I thought it was very disrespectful that they called them nurses, when they were not. They were all really good at their jobs, but it just never sat well with me (or any of the other nurses). That's a big part of the reason I am not there anymore
  14. by   elprup
    I just started in a small clinic as a new RN and asked this same question! I'm in CA. I have seen so many things that do not seem legal to me. Message me anytime, it seems we are going through similar adventures.