MA's being used as "nurses" - page 4

Hello all! I work in a private practice office in which I am the only RN. There are several MA's and one LPN. My concern is that the MA's are referred to as "nurses". The patients often do not... Read More

  1. by   kewlnurse
    Is it spelling or is it typing?!? Personally, i can spell, and can type acuratly about 25 wpm, however wheni post i type at about 75 wpm and don't go back and check


  2. by   jamistlc
    Gretings all,

    I am a LPN and have worked as the Clinical Nurse Supervisor at a Family Practice Physician's office, very high volume 100 pt's a day, one Doc! The MA's are not ID'ed as a such and assumed to be a Nurse by clients. I differentiated myself by wearing a long lab coat with my full name and title. The MA called in prescriptions, wrote impressions for the Doc, and did testing after I trained them on various equipment. I felt like I was just barely practicing within my realm and the MA was doing much of the same duties minus the physician letters to MCO's and insurance or community agencies. I got out because I felt I was endangering my licensure. Even though I was told these actions I and the MA's were doing (not listed because I know they were beyond the scope of practice) was part of the office protocol and standing orders, and as such the Doc would cover us, yea right my license or his, hum who's go's?

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  3. by   Jeanbean
    Part of the reason I left the office I was in was that I was also training MA's to do things out of their scope and was told that they were doing it under the MD's license, not mine. I didn't want to risk being involved in a lawsuit, couldn't stand by to see patient safety being compromised, and got tired of overhearing MA's on phone triage who didn't know what they were talking about. I worked in a urology office with an MA who once said "renal- is that the kidney?"- unfortunately she was not kidding. She was also the team leader, believe it or not.

    Wow I had no idea when I started this post 1 1/2 years ago it would still be going. I'm not even in nursing anymore- I'm a full-time mom to a 6-month-old and loving it!!
  4. by   fiestynurse
    First of all, MAs do practice under the doctor's license, although the nurse can assist in their supervision and training, it is the doctor's that are held legally liable if the MA screws-up.
    Secondly, most states have a legal scope of practice for Medical Assistants. Here in California, the California Code of Regulations clearly spells out what a Medical Assistant can and cannot do. I make sure that every MA and MD in my organization has a copy of this. I also have the MD sign something that informs him/her that they are ultimately responsible for what this MA does.
    There have been deaths attributed to the illegal use of Medical Assistants in the office and this has been under stict scrutiny by the state of California. Let has been a lot of physician education regarding what a Medical Assistant can do.
    Thirdly, it is illegal in the state of California to call a Medical Assistant a nurse. They are not nurses!! The public should not be led to believe that they are talking to a educated, licensed nurse, when they are not.Huge legal liability here!!
    People are reprimanded in my organization if they are caught doing this.
  5. by   redridnghud
    M.A.'s are not M.A. is the "doctors" creation in answer to the professionalism that R.N.'s have achieved. The M.A. should be correctly termed...C.D.F.-Certified Doctor Flunky.....
  6. by   robynv

    Um.. I take offense at that last comment. "The M.A. should be correctly termed...C.D.F.-Certified Doctor Flunky..... I want to be a nurse, but since the waiting list is so long I thought I'll be an MA instead for a while. My husband is in the USAF and we would have moved by the time I got into the program. I can do this in one year. No, I'm not a nurse. But I still bothered to get an education and have some basic medical knowledge. There was a post talking about MA's not knowing what an aprical pulse is. Well we learned that the first week. As I read this thread ( I got directed here by a search engine looking for info about schools in a new location in a few years.) I'm just feeling like you all think MA's are useless and stupid. I really don't think that I am either of those things. I'm just trying to get my foot in the door.
    My school here is well known for sending out very well prepared graduates. I will be taking both the RMA and Phlebotomy exams. I expect to pass both with flying colors. I think MA's deserve more respect than comtempt.
  7. by   Nurse Ratched
    I'm sure you're a fine MA.

    The thread is several years old, so we'll do our best not to get all flamey over it. Meantime, welcome to allnurses - and please thank your husband for his military service (and to you also, for supporting him until you are in a place to continue on in your education.)
  8. by   DutchgirlRN
    I e-mailed several of these CMA schools, about a year ago, who actually refer to their graduates as nurses, I cited the law regarding using the title "nurse". I never heard back from any of them. I assume they know advertising using the word nurse is not ethical but don't care as long as they draw in students=money. I have no problem with an MA if they identify themselves as such. My PCP has several MA's and they are wonderful at their jobs and do correctly identify themselves.
  9. by   LorraineCNA
    I am a CNA and also a CMA. I work in an extremely busy family practice, front office and back. I do EKG's, phlebotomy, injections, hemoccults, urinalysis, etc.

    I'm in PA and I really did want to go to nursing school. Unfortunately, LPN's are rarely hired by hospitals here now and most LPN's are in the LTC arena, which I knew I didn't want to do. At my age, I didn't want to go the RN route. The only local school had a 2 year wait list. The other nearest was an hour away on a good day with good weather. I still had kids home and couldn't see getting up at 4:30 a.m. to make it to a 7 a.m. clinical an hour and a half away in the middle of winter here.

    We have 5 MA's and an RN for one doctor. We wear badges that clearly state our titles. We do not "impersonate" nurses. If I'm EVER unsure of anything I ask. And yes, if someone calls me a nurse, I correct them. I have the utmost respect for the RN that I work with. She is always willing to answer questions. On many occasions I have gone to her with questions...for pt's glucose reading was extremely high but our doc had reviewed and ok'd it as normal. I asked her why and she had explained to me the extenuating circumstances of the reading. She never regards me as stupid, unqualified or uneducated. If fact, I think she values the fact that I want to understand these aspects. She doesn't demand respect, she commands it.

    That being said, I love my job. It does bother me however that a lot of nurses think we MA's were just pulled in off the street with no formal training. I've worked with nurses I've had the utmost respect for and nurses who didn't know their butt from a hole in the ground, it had nothing to do with their "title".

    Just my 2 cents.

  10. by   crisscross
    I think it's time to give MA's the respect they deserve. No, they are not "nurses" and they do not have a license but they are trained and educated and not "pulled off the street".

    For the most part, it's not the MA's fault that she is referred to as a nurse. The public sees anyone in the office in scrubs as a nurse just as they see our PA or NP as their "Dr". Our phlebotomists are called nurses by the pts because they don't know any better.

    It's funny, I don't see the doctors getting all bent out of shape when the PA is referred to as "Dr Susan" by the pt. He's not stomping around ranting and raving about his education and license. Our medical records guy is often mistaken for the doctor and our Doc isn't throwing a hissy fit about it. He just laughs, like the professional he is. He's not so insecure as to think that this guy is actually going around impersonating a doctor!

    Unlicensed assistive medical personnel are here to help, not usurp your position. They are not stupid, lazy morons. Well, not any more than anybody else.
  11. by   robynv
    Thank you so much!

    After reading how MA's were thought of on here it made me sick. Thanks to everyone who stuck up for MA's. We go to school and work hard too. I know it's not the same education and not for nearly as long, but we still work hard for what we do. I want to work in a DR. office and just want to supplement my husbands income and to have something of my own. This makes sense to me now. My foot is in the door and I'll have a job.
  12. by   DutchgirlRN
    Nobody thinks MA's are useless. I have made it very clear that there are very good MA's and they have a responsible and much needed job. The problem is that many MA's go around calling themselves a "nurse", or "I'm Dr.So & So's nurse". How many times have I called a doctor to get an order and someone calls back and says they are the doctors nurse. I take the order, ask for their name and title and 9 x out 10 I get medical assistant. It is against the law for nurses to take orders from anyone other than an LPN, RN, NP, or a Dr. MA's are great! Those that impersonate nurses are misleading the public and doing so unlawfully. I have no issues with the job MA's do. Please read carefully!
  13. by   lgnurse20
    We are referred to as "nursing staff". I am the RN and there is an MA. I have actually been yelled at for delagating to the MA. She answers questions and sometimes does things that are so far out of her scope. I went on vacation and the office manager (non-clinical) actually had the MA administer BCG and it is chemo...makes me sick!!!!!!