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CMA working as CNA?

Posted

Well, after having the huge upset/reality check of graduating from Medical Assisting school and working in a clinic, Medical Assisting is nothing like i've imagined it to be, nor have been lead to believe.

The many days on end learning/practicing clinical skills in school slowly became simple 2 second tasks we'd have to perform just to rush out and continue paperwork. 95% of the day consists of paperwork and 5% consists of bathroom breaks and clinical skills. I wanted to do this to be able to work with patients, help patients, just spend more time with patients.

I'm already registered for school for my ASN next year, but in the meantime I feel almost disgusted at how much of our knowledge goes to waste in the setting I'm in. After deciding to put school off for next year, I tried to think of what I could possibly do to have more patient interaction and I've came to the conclusion of possibly working in a nursing home. I'd love to help out at one however I'm wondering if it'd be required to get a certification in nursing assisting or if I'd be able to apply as an MA and learn the rest of the training hands on.

Any advice would be great... I know paperwork is to be expected, but the ammount of it and the time used doing it just makes me feel like i've been cheated. I want to help as much as I can, not push papers.

Sincerely,

Worried

(Jon Jon)

tothepointeLVN, LVN

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic. Has 3 years experience.

Well being a cna will give you more insight about nursing than medical assisting will. Despite what the MA schools lead you to believe MA's don't do the same work as a nurse. This is not a put down to MA's but its just the way it is. At least having trained as an MA will give you some confidence going into nursing.

mafornow7

Has 13 years experience.

i hear you!! i am a medical assistant in maryland and have always discouraged my co-workers interested in healthcare from enrolling in a ma program. :cry: the limitations we have in some states are awful. i have been stuck in this profession for 12 years, but there is a light while your in the tunnel.....while you cannot work as a cna (the board of nursing states the major difference - that a medical assistant is tought to take orders from a physician....and that cna's are taught to take orders from nurses..trust me, i've asked) but.......

you could work as a ma in an occupational medicine department of a hospital or clinic. you will get so much hands-on experience, and virtually no paperwork, because you will be treating and testing 20-30 people a day. i started out that way and got a lot of clinical experience....you will work your butt off, but it really gives an m.a. a chance to sink her teeth into patient care. hope that helps, and just don't get comfortable...keep on going with your schooling!

tothepointeLVN, LVN

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic. Has 3 years experience.

I am assuming that we was willing to take the 6 week cna course though some hospitals will train you so you can sit for the certification

Should I contact human resources through a hospital to find if they offer a CNA training course?

and thanks mafornow, i'll be looking into that if I cannot get this CNA situation situated. I really appreciate all of everyone's input. thanks so much!

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I believe that you should take a CNA course and be done with it. Some of them have a pay as you go option (mine did, anyhow). It may also depend on where you work. I just emailed the BON of NYS today regarding medical assistants for another reason and they told me that the medical assistant is not even considered to be a legal title and that they should not administer medications, or many of the other things they are trained to do. They said that many of the skills they are trained to do are to be performed by licensed personnel, even though a physician is 'supervising' them.

tothepointeLVN, LVN

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic. Has 3 years experience.

Go ahead and get your cna however you can ( I think the redcross offers a course) with your MA background you can probably get a PCT job. Maybe an ER Tech.

mafornow7

Has 13 years experience.

hang on there, proud....you are treading on a lot of us certified medical assistant's who are going on to be lpn's....but to report that the bon told you that they are not a legal title and should not administer meds is suspect information. not only is a medical assistant a state/national certification, but under the direction of a physician, can not only administer medication, but can remove sutures, start an i.v., dress & debreidment of wounds, remove skin tags, etc. there is a lot of clinical skills an ma has, even more so than a cna. it is true, there is no license, but an ma works under a physician, and is covered by their license, and the physician does not need to "supervise"- my m.a's have standing orders set by our physician to perform duties when he/she is not on site. this may vary from state to state, but the state board of physicians website would let anyone know the "scope of practice" for m.a.'s in that state.

as for myself, i chose to go forward and pursue my lpn because of toping out in my pay, and this was the likely path.

maybe i take offense too easily, but a career decision should be based on facts, not feelings..................so no hard feelings, just the facts :)

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

Go ahead and get your cna however you can ( I think the redcross offers a course) with your MA background you can probably get a PCT job. Maybe an ER Tech.

What is interesting is that many people I know took the CNA course with additional classes in EKG and phlebotomy and became medical assistants for alot cheaper than taking the MA course.

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

hang on there, proud....you are treading on a lot of us certified medical assistant's who are going on to be lpn's....but to report that the bon told you that they are not a legal title and should not administer meds is suspect information. not only is a medical assistant a state/national certification, but under the direction of a physician, can not only administer medication, but can remove sutures, start an i.v., dress & debreidment of wounds, remove skin tags, etc. there is a lot of clinical skills an ma has, even more so than a cna. it is true, there is no license, but an ma works under a physician, and is covered by their license, and the physician does not need to "supervise"- my m.a's have standing orders set by our physician to perform duties when he/she is not on site. this may vary from state to state, but the state board of physicians website would let anyone know the "scope of practice" for m.a.'s in that state.

as for myself, i chose to go forward and pursue my lpn because of toping out in my pay, and this was the likely path.

maybe i take offense too easily, but a career decision should be based on facts, not feelings..................so no hard feelings, just the facts :)

it is a fact that the bon stated that the medical assistant course is not a legal title, i received the email from them today. this is not a story, nor a fable. if you wish, you can contace the office of professional discipline for new york city to receive the memos yourself. this was not a criticism, but this is a site that nurses can go to for information that guides our practice.

http://www.op.nysed.gov/opd.htm...you can search the site for yourself. anyone can, and can receive the same information i did.

pps: the email address is: nursebd@mail.nysed.gov

Edited by pagandeva2000
adding email address

tothepointeLVN, LVN

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic. Has 3 years experience.

hang on there, proud....you are treading on a lot of us certified medical assistant's who are going on to be lpn's....but to report that the bon told you that they are not a legal title and should not administer meds is suspect information. not only is a medical assistant a state/national certification, but under the direction of a physician, can not only administer medication, but can remove sutures, start an i.v., dress & debreidment of wounds, remove skin tags, etc. there is a lot of clinical skills an ma has, even more so than a cna. it is true, there is no license, but an ma works under a physician, and is covered by their license, and the physician does not need to "supervise"- my m.a's have standing orders set by our physician to perform duties when he/she is not on site. this may vary from state to state, but the state board of physicians website would let anyone know the "scope of practice" for m.a.'s in that state.

as for myself, i chose to go forward and pursue my lpn because of toping out in my pay, and this was the likely path.

maybe i take offense too easily, but a career decision should be based on facts, not feelings..................so no hard feelings, just the facts :)

explain to me where in this thread we treaded on ma's? the op was expressing at his fustration at not being able to utilize all his/her skills and is pursuing a nursing career. he asked about the cna position and we are providing answers. it is true that at my schools ma's are a cash cow for the school churning out 400 ma's every 3 months or so at $12,000 a pop. most of them can't get jobs and at low pay if they do.

also there is a difference between a certifcation and a license. you work under the physician license

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

Explain to me where in this thread we treaded on MA's? The OP was expressing at his fustration at not being able to utilize all his/her skills and is pursuing a nursing career. He asked about the CNA position and we are providing answers. It is true that at my schools MA's are a cash cow for the school churning out 400 MA's every 3 months or so at $12,000 a pop. Most of them can't get jobs and at low pay if they do.

Also there is a difference between a certifcation and a license. You work under the physician license

Actually, the CMA/LPN issue always brought out passion in this forum. I have to agree with you; no one has ever treaded on the CMA. What is happening is that many of us have been confused in the past regarding this issue. When I emailed the BON, it was actually about medication aides, because one of my close friends works for a group home for the mentally disabled and is going to classes to become certified in administering medications. She visited me Saturday and showed me their material. I asked her who was responsible if she made an error and she said she was, not the nurse. I decided to email the BON because I was thinking about working in a group home as a nurse, but needed to know their stand on this and their actual answer was that the medication aide takes responsibility (which shocked me, but makes my life easier). Of course, if I am AWARE that the medication error occurred, I have to intervene in behalf of the patient, and then report it.

This same friend of mine has now decided that she enjoys learning and is thinking about becoming a medical assistant, so the answers of those questions were actually forwarded to her and it was just coincidental that I received those answers from the BON today. I cannot change their response. They govern my practice and this is who I have to answer to. Basically, they are saying that they do not acknowledge the CMAs as licensed personnel, that they should not be allowed to administer meds. This is in my state. It may be different for other geographical areas, but, I don't live there, I live here.

RN., MSN, RN

Specializes in Perianesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

here's a response from the other side of the united states

california;

http://www.rn.ca.gov/pdfs/regulations/npr-b-12.pdf

information provided by the medical board states that the medical assistant laws broadly define a medical

assistant as an unlicensed person who provides administrative, clerical and technical support to the physician.

the licensed physician and surgeon or licensed podiatrist is required to be physically present in the treatment

facility when the medical assistant is performing procedures.

the law prohibits the medical assistant from providing technical support services or procedures for patient care in

a general acute care hospital.

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

Well, we know for sure that these providers will not be present for each and every procedure. I found that many physicians in my area started limiting what the CMA can do; maybe something happened, who knows?

hang on there, proud....you are treading on a lot of us certified medical assistant's who are going on to be lpn's....but to report that the bon told you that they are not a legal title and should not administer meds is suspect information. not only is a medical assistant a state/national certification, but under the direction of a physician, can not only administer medication, but can remove sutures, start an i.v., dress & debreidment of wounds, remove skin tags, etc. there is a lot of clinical skills an ma has, even more so than a cna. it is true, there is no license, but an ma works under a physician, and is covered by their license, and the physician does not need to "supervise"- my m.a's have standing orders set by our physician to perform duties when he/she is not on site. this may vary from state to state, but the state board of physicians website would let anyone know the "scope of practice" for m.a.'s in that state.

as for myself, i chose to go forward and pursue my lpn because of toping out in my pay, and this was the likely path.

maybe i take offense too easily, but a career decision should be based on facts, not feelings..................so no hard feelings, just the facts :)

i think mafornow's point is that the bon has no say in the matter, they (the bon) can opine in any way they see fit, but have no jurisdiction.....

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

The BON has no say in their matter anymore than their governing body has on our practice. And, again, no one was disrespecting Medical Assistants. What seems to happen is that there is no regulation; it is not mandatory that they are certified or registered, some people are trained off of the street, some are limited in what they can do depending on the physician, etc...then, after all is said and done, many are paying exuberant tuitions and are either not financially compensated enough to repay the loans or have difficulty obtaining a position at all.

as a cma now entering my last year of my rn program, i feel the op's pain. here is my take on it.

my cma was basically worthless to me. it is a certification for a test administered by the american association of medical assistants. i'm amazed that there are actually laws governing it, there are none in my state.

it was presented to me that i would be doing nursing duties but in an office setting under a physician, by my school. what i was in reality was a precert clerk, who got lunch for doc, did his banking, stroked his ego, and picked up his drycleaning. it was said that a cma would make between $14-20/hour. i started out at $8/hour the most i ever made was $10/hour.

this is just my experience, and it's not the student's fault, it was just presented by the schools as something completely different than it actually was. i had hopes to help people as well, and my training taught me many things, but i did not use them either in a family practice setting or in a specialty practice.

when i see the students in the ma program at my community college, i feel sorry for them, because they aren't aware of the reality.

nursemike, ASN, RN

Specializes in Rodeo Nursing (Neuro). Has 12 years experience.

At my facility, most aides are not required to be CNAs, although a good many are. The minimum requirements, if I recall correctly, are a high school equivalent and the ability to lift fifty pounds, although most who actually get hired have some healthcare experience or at least certification--CNA, EMT, and MA all come to mind. I've known several MAs working as aides, and they've been great, but they've paid more to get their MA and work as an aide for $9/hr than I did to get my ASN. It burns me to see ads on TV inviting people to pay a fortune to train for just about the only position in healthcare that isn't in demand, but I don't know what to do about it.

Not sure about the law, but most local nursing homes require a CNA. At least one, however, will hire you and train you for certification, which seems like a pretty good deal.

Anyway, best of luck.

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