Medical Assistants in the office - page 4

This is probably going to open a can of worms.............but how do you all feel about replacing nurses in the office setting with Medical Assistants? How (if at all) do you feel it affects patient... Read More

  1. by   Big Bab's
    I am in total agreement that MA's, CNA's, RN's, LPN's...etc. are all importanat jobs, but they all need to function within their scope of practice....and if they "want more" then get the schooling and licensure to do so!!....It seems to me that this could become a huge liability issue when you have people misrepresenting themselves to patients ie. "Nurse Polly" who in fact isn't a nurse.....and other such examples....we have 2 MA's in our office and they do "call-backs", vitals and answer general questions....but they have been told by the docs to never say they are nurses and if a patient assumes they are, then they are to correct them.....Our docs just see it as too much of a liability to open the HUGE can of worms this can turn into.......We also have a PA, and he HATES being called Dr. for the same reasons, its misleading.......Our MA's are a VERY important part of our TEAM, but they are required to stay within the scope of practice that our Docs have set for them, just as I am by the BON......that's how it should be, but that's just my opinion!!!
  2. by   RN8Last
    Medical assistants know basic nursing care ( nursing 101), but they are not trained to think critically. I believe they don't really get into diseases and they pathophysiology. So I still believe that Rns should be in Physician's Offices. It'll be safer. I agree, the word Nurses should only pertain to "Rns and LPNs."
  3. by   WA-Educator
    Medical Assisting Programs don't include any nursing courses because there is no reason for CMAs to know basic nursing skills. Don't confuse medical assistants with nurse assistants. Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) do need to learn basic medical assisting skills though. Any acredited medical assisting program includes pathology, psychology, patient education, symptom analysis, therapeutic relations, law and ethics, and all the technical skills such as minor surgery assisting, urinalysis, venipuncture, ECG, blood tests, etc. None of those technical skills are included in nursing and that is a major difference between the two professions. I have seen so many nurses botch ECGs and blood draws and lab test because they simply don't know how to do them. Those are the technical skills needed for the doctors offices which is why CMAs do them and nurses don't. As far as the assessment skills, RNs do learn a much higher level of patient assessment than the CMA or the LPN. This is because in the hospital setting the RN needs to be able to assess the patients and alert the physician if needed or making nursing decisions as indicated. It all make perfect sense if you think about the basic of the curriculum linked to the jobs performed. Great conversation!!
  4. by   Stitchie
    Originally posted by Hellllllo Nurse
    Good post. I once had dealing on a job w/ an NP, whom I mistakenly called "doctor." He never corrected me. I think he liked it.

    I had several interactions w/ an MA who kept referring to herself as "Nurse Polly". My husband was to have a physical and some labs for a life ins policy. This girl kept calling the house leaving messages, calling herself "Nurse Polly". When I called her back, I told her that I'm an RN and asked how a nurse gets a job working from home for ins companies, like she had.

    She expalained how she got the job, then said "I need to get a urine sample form your husband for an AIDS test and a blood sample to check for nicotine."

    I told her that the blood was for the AIDS test and the urine was for the nicotine test. She started arguing w/ me that she was correct- that it was the other way around.

    I finally asked her if she had a license to practice nursing. She said "No, I'm an MA." And she had referred to herself as "Nurse Polly" several times!

    Well, we declined the ins and told the company that we would not purchase ins from a company who had an MA calling herself a nurse in their employ. They really did not know what we were talking about.

    It has nothing to do with ignorance, elitism or ego. I know some nurses who are sharper than doctors, but still, none of these nurses would ever refer to themselves as a doctor.

    A legal sec'y is not a lawyer.

    A security guard is not a cop.

    A nurse is not a doctor

    And an MA (or CNA) is not a nurse.
    And let's not forget...NP/PA does not equal MD.
  5. by   WA-Educator
    And any old "yeah who" off the street is not an CMA. Certified Medical Assistants are formally trained and are professionals. Many people may call themselves (or be referred to as) medical assistants (or nurses) for lack of a better title, but the true nurse has a license and has had nursing training/education. Likewise, the true medical assistant is certified and has had medical assisting training/education. Beware of the training and schools that are not accredited! Those grads may call themselves medical assistants, but unless the program in CAAHEP/ABHES accredited, the grads are not even eligible to sit for the national boards. In other words, the are not CMAs and can never be CMAs without going back to an accredited program. Be proud of the profession you chose, be the best you can be, and respect other members of the health care team.
  6. by   MissLizz27
    hello. i just wanted to comment on the issue of medical assistants in the doctor's office. currently i am a nurse technician but am in school to get my associate degree in medical assisting. my private doctor's office has replaced rn's with moa's and i personally dont like the change. however, i think that moa's are qualified to handle many of the same duties as the nurses but without the title. i thought that i would get a little respect as a medical assistant but from what i have been hearing here i guess i was wrong. i agree that sometimes moa's get lumped in with the regular nurses because its easier to explain to the patients. i am offended though that a pt that is a nurse would ask the moa to let her see the vials before administering it. i am in school busting my behind to learn everything i can so that i can be effective in the doctor's office and i would just like to be given the benefit of the doubt. at least give the moa's a chance to prove themselves. anyone just coming out of school whether its a doctor, nurse or moa is likely to need some help as they are just starting out. thank you for listening to what i have to say.
  7. by   Used and abused
    My first medical experience was going to school to be a unit secretary. I landed a job in a surgeon's office. I became a so-called MA. I learned on the job how to wash and sterilize instruments, do VS, some patient care, assist with minor surgeries, transcription, billing, etc.
    I learned a love of hands on in that spot and went back to school (after a stint in a business office) and got my associate's degree. THere I learned how much I really did not know. I worked for 12 years as an RN on med/surg, endoscopy, hospice, and detox. I learned some of the most wonderful things from the CNAs, and the long timer LPNs. BELIEVE ME- experience is the best teacher.
    Now am a director of nurses and going forward to get my BSN/MSN. The learning never stops and mastery comes with experience. TOO bad there are those out in our field who need to eat our young and pump thier egos up at the expense of other human beings.
  8. by   ImaEMT
    We also have to remember that we are chosing to be in the profession that we are in. Once there, we can move around, go back to school, stay where we are at, etc. There should be respect across the professions, and I do have my own very strong feelings on this issue. However, teh bottom line is that there is a big difference between what CMA's and RN's do. Sometimes that line is muddled in a clinic setting, and ultimately, we all have to take responsibility for the tasks we perform....especially if it is out of our scope of practice.

    I'm going back to school because it's hard to stay put. I need to learn more and be more, for my own satisfaction. As much as I love what I do, I won't be able to obtain my goals if I don't go back to school. And, yes, some more respect for what I do would be good. I've fought hard for it, but the truth is that it's hard to change percepetions of the CMA profession. That's why you should always work hard, learn as much as you can, stay within your scope and represent yourself as a professional. Be a role model for the's the only way things may ever change!

    My 2 cents!
  9. by   Tracy A
    I just wanted to share my experience. I am a CMA and work at an Urgent Care clinic. I am the only clinical staff on duty. It is me, a doctor, and a receptionist. If someone comes in having a heart attack, bleeding profusely, or fresh from an MVA the doctor and I have to handle it. I do labs, xrays, IV's, straight catheters, triage etc.. I have had excess training and the doctor wants me to do those tasks. My nametag has my name/certified medical assistant. Below it reads clinic nurse/ my hospital. This is how they choose to label me, not how I label myself.

    I also wanted to add that 10 years ago when I checked into schooling, I was told that they were phasing out LPN's. They had a 2 year CMA program or 4 year RN, no LPN program offered. They were phasing CMA's into clinics, and leaving the RN's for hospitals, claiming they would have no need for LPN's. Obviously things have changed. I am having great experiences as a CMA, but yes I do feel limited and that is why I have chosen to go further.
  10. by   Reborn
    I don't know about other states but in NC it's against the law for someone to identify a person a "a nurse" unless they are a licsensed nurse (LPN or RN).
  11. by   JeanthePHN
    I sat here reading these posts from the beginning (2001 or so) I am an ofice nurse, an RN, and have had this med. assistant versus nurse problem for several years now. I have been in a private, two doctor office for three years now. He just hired a person off the street, actually a friend of his. She had no prior experience. My other two coworkers are a man who is a graduate of a cma program.The office manager has been the primary fake nurse for years, she is medically untrained and OUR BOSS. She is the primary nurse in the practice and is very good at it BUT It irks me every day that an untrained quote nurse can get to be my boss and an untrained person can get a job in an office giving shots without any formal training. The office manager trained her, I was not even asked. The doctor calls everyone nurse and I resent it. We dont wear name tags. Everyone thinks we are all nurses. The public doesnt care and doesnt even think to ask. We put on our white labs coats and we are nurses.Why does the ANA allow this? If youre a hairdresser you need training and a license. If youre a plumber you need training and a license. IF youre an undertaker you need training and a license. If your a medical assitant it should be the law that you have training and a license.Why is the American Nurses Assoc. allowing this kind of NURSES JOBS to be given away to untrained people? THey fought a long battle to see nursing as a profession not an occupation , and that stupid ongoing debate about adn versus bsn, but they have ignored the fact that an office nurse will be a thing of the past. WHat is next?I can only see it getting worse. My partime second job is in assisted living. Those nurses aides give the medicines to the residents,even the narcotics, the nurse doesnt. THis is what is next. Many States allow medical assistants to give meds out. I bet that in the future the nurses aides in hospitals will be doing the medicines and the IV's and all the tasks the nurses do now. I just so angry I wasted four years of school and still have my loan to repay and the uneducated people get 2 dollars less an hour than I do, but get the respect of being THE NURSE.
  12. by   caroladybelle
    And how is the ANA to prevent this? They have no power of law to do so.

    Your Board that licenses you is the culprit. You need to be reporting it to them for action.

    And why do you work there? If you continue to work in the situation and do nothing to change it, then you are tacitly supporting it.
  13. by   JeanthePHN
    I know the ANA isnt involved with laws but I have contacted the Mass BORN and it is allowed in Mass to have unlicensed and untrained people as medical assistants. On the job training under the physician is allthat is required. I still can not believe that the woman who cuts my hair had to have 1000 hours of training and a license and my new coworker is a former church secretary.
    Why do I work there? Do you think this is an isolated case? My doctors office is one of thousands that are replacing nurses with untrained people, but these people are still called the nurse. How would you suggest I try to change this?