Difference between LPNs and MAs?

  1. I have posted before about wanting to work in a clinic or ambulatory setting. In my area however LPN's are only hired for LTC, SNF's, AL, rehab and the like. MA's seem to be the norm. They do not employ any nurses in urgent cares (I checked a 25 mile radius of me) and Dr offices have MA's and maybe 1 RN. I have been applying for MA jobs hoping someone will say oh hey maybe we could hire a LPN instead? I was wondering what the difference is between LPN and MA training? I am aware as nurses we are taught critical thinking adn things MA's may not be. I guess what I am asking is what do they have I don't??

    I have seen numerous job posts for MA's that require GXMO license (or certification?). Do MA's receive this in school? can I get it as well? I have done additional training in blood draws as we did not learn that in school. I am IV certified. I'm not sure what else I can do to make myself more appealing to employers. I have a yrs nursing experience in LTC. I know my market will be better once I finish my RN but I need a job to pay for said RN school haha and would love the experience now as a LPN. What have you done to get hired in this type of setting? any tips?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edit by NurseHopefulInOH on Jun 28, '11 : Reason: forgot something!
  2. Visit NurseHopefulInOH profile page

    About NurseHopefulInOH, LPN

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 161; Likes: 89
    LPN; from US
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in LTC, OB/GYN, Primary Care


  3. by   spooky64
    Hi, there! I'm Chris! Where are you in Ohio? I'm from the Cincinnati area. I understand your frustration about finding an office job as a nurse. I'm an RN. I worked in urgent care for 4 years and LOVED it. I started as registration while in LPN school. I cross-trained to MA duties within several months. Once I got my LPN license I was already in full swing (coding, registration, back office duties). I had my GXMO. It's a general x-ray license. I imagine it would only come in handy in the urgent care or orthopedics setting. When I got my GXMO, it required a 2-day class and a test. I think things have changed with the advent of digital x-rays. I left the urgent care to find a more flexible job to complete my RN education. I now work in a urology office, but miss urgent care desperately. I know our company hires LPNs. As far as LPNs vs. MAs: MAs do not have the clinical experience and critical thinking skills you've been taught. They're appealing to offices, though, because they aren't paid as much. I have worked with some awesome MAs, but they aren't trained as nurses. Frustratingly, many offices (mine included) refer to all of us as nurses. I've been called an MA on multiple occasions as well by both MAs and doctors . I'll be happy to answer any questions I can. Best of luck in your search.

  4. by   Busia
    I am on my second interview today for a MA position, and I am a new LPN. We were not taught blood draws in LPN school here, but MA's are taught that. This position said they would train me for that. The only major differences I can see besides that is that the position is a lot more office work than I think an LPN would normally do- I would actually be working as a receptionist 1.5 days a week and the rest of the week as a MA. And the pay is significantly lower, but I'm not having much luck finding an LPN position.
    BTW- this job posting was specifically for a MA, but no certification required. I applied anyway because it's in a department that interests me in hopes they would consider an LPN, which they are! I did apply for some MA positions elsewhere that wanted certification and a MA graduate- I did not get any calls on those at all. So I think that's the difference, whether or not they want someone that actually went to school to be an MA and got certified or not. If not, I think places are willing to consider an LPN.
    Good luck to you!
  5. by   tewdles
    Bottom line...
    MAs are taught how to complete tasks and assist MDs in the office/clinic setting. They are taught how to man the front desk, file the charts, and draw the labs, etc. They cannot function as an LPN, they are not nurses.

    LPNs are taught the nursing process and how to become part of the nursing team. They are taught how to assess and teach as well as how to complete some nursing tasks. They can function in an MA role with some support.
  6. by   NurseHopefulInOH
    I'm from Cinci too. Not the city but north of cinci. The Urgent Cares I have been to have 0 nurses and employ only MA's. I have been offered MA positions in DR's offices but they pay about $10/hr and I just can't do that no matter how much I want the experience and out of LTC. These Dr's do not employ nurses either. Thats awesome you got to work in Urgent Care and a Dr's office. Maybe I need to look further into downtown lol.