"I'm an uncertified medical assistant"

  1. I had a curious encounter at the doctor's office today. When I went in for my physical, a woman in scrubs came in ahead of the doc. She was wearing scrubs but no name tag. We hadn't met before, so I asked if she was a nurse. Yes, she replied.

    I then presented her with paperwork outlining the shots I needed for school. As she looked over the paperwork, she volunteered that she was not a nurse but, in fact, a medical assistant. Oh, really? I replied. Where do you go to school for that? (I was genuinely curious.)

    Well, she replied, she didn't go to school. She wasn't a "certified medical assistant," in her words, but "had a lot of experience." In fact, she'd been a CNA for 16 years, but this particular medical practice, as she explained it, "isn't like a hospital and doesn't care if you're ceritified." Hmm. Later on, the doctor sent her back to draw blood.

    What would your reaction be? Obviously, she called herself a nurse, and she isn't one. (I wonder if she would have volunteered that info had she not seen my paperwork.) She called herself a medical assistant, then volunteered that she wasn't credentialed. I know nothing about MAs. Is that kosher? And what level of license does someone have to hold to be allowed to draw blood? (For what it's worth, this is the only person I've dealt with in many years at this doctor's office who wasn't wearing a name tag with credentials. Is there any kind of identification requirement?)
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    About Freedom42

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 933; Likes: 1,088

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  3. by   I_am_Julia
    I would have asked for someone else all together and probably would not return to that office EVER. She wouldn't have drawn any blood from me.
  4. by   GrnHonu99
    all the medical assistants ive ever known were certified. Huge red flag when she said the words "this practice doesn't care if you are certified"-eek get out of there!
  5. by   NPinWCH
    There are no credentials for "medical assistant". There are all kinds of certificate programs and such, but the term is just a catch all for people just like her. Those who don't have credentials. My sister went to work for a doc as a secretary and ended up as a "medical assistant". Medical assistants do exactly that assist.

    They receive on the job training to give injections and take blood, do vital signs and so forth. As a side note, you don't need any type of credential to draw blood, even in a hospital. As long as you have a high school diploma many hospitals will hire you as a lab tech/phlebotomist, and just train you as you go.
  6. by   HeartsOpenWide
    A medical assistant does not have to be certified to draw blood, one does need to be venipuncture certified; however, I do not know of any remaining offices in my area that higher non-certified medical assistants. They had a few when I was going through medical assisting school 6 years ago but from what my manager told me, no more offices higher M.A.s unless they are Certified or have graduated from a M.A. program and are getting ready to be certified real soon (because they just graduated). Drawing blood is not that hard, I am not sure what I would have done in that situation. I am sure she was find to draw blood; however, as a nursing student and a nurse to be I would advise her against saying that she was a nurse because it is illegal.
  7. by   HeartsOpenWide
    Quote from rninwch
    There are no credentials for "medical assistant". There are all kinds of certificate programs and such, but the term is just a catch all for people just like her. Those who don't have credentials. My sister went to work for a doc as a secretary and ended up as a "medical assistant". Medical assistants do exactly that assist.

    They receive on the job training to give injections and take blood, do vital signs and so forth. As a side note, you don't need any type of credential to draw blood, even in a hospital. As long as you have a high school diploma many hospitals will hire you as a lab tech/phlebotomist, and just train you as you go.
    Actually; in California you have to be a certified phlebotomist to draw blood in the hospital but not at blood banks.
  8. by   Soup Turtle
    Quote from freedom42
    i had a curious encounter at the doctor's office today. when i went in for my physical, a woman in scrubs came in ahead of the doc. she was wearing scrubs but no name tag. we hadn't met before, so i asked if she was a nurse. yes, she replied.

    i then presented her with paperwork outlining the shots i needed for school. as she looked over the paperwork, she volunteered that she was not a nurse but, in fact, a medical assistant. oh, really? i replied. where do you go to school for that? (i was genuinely curious.)

    well, she replied, she didn't go to school. she wasn't a "certified medical assistant," in her words, but "had a lot of experience." in fact, she'd been a cna for 16 years, but this particular medical practice, as she explained it, "isn't like a hospital and doesn't care if you're ceritified." hmm. later on, the doctor sent her back to draw blood.

    what would your reaction be? obviously, she called herself a nurse, and she isn't one. (i wonder if she would have volunteered that info had she not seen my paperwork.) she called herself a medical assistant, then volunteered that she wasn't credentialed. i know nothing about mas. is that kosher? and what level of license does someone have to hold to be allowed to draw blood? (for what it's worth, this is the only person i've dealt with in many years at this doctor's office who wasn't wearing a name tag with credentials. is there any kind of identification requirement?)
    i wouldn't have much of a reaction because this would rate really low on my list of things to worry about.

    i see these types of posts on here all the time, so i guess i shouldn't be surprised.
  9. by   TazziRN
    I would have called a halt to the whole visit, demanded to speak with the office manager, and told her that my insurance would not be charged for that visit. Even if MAs are not required to be certified by that state, the way she introduced herself is fraudulent. I would also have told the office manager that I would be calling the BON to report someone who claimed to be a nurse.

    Harsh? Perhaps, but people who are licensed and certified worked too hard to get those licenses and certifications.
  10. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from HeartsOpenWide
    Actually; in California you have to be a certified phlebotomist to draw blood in the hospital but not at blood banks.

    I was a PCT for 10 years. Not certified, and I drew blood all day. You can be taught to draw blood in a day...


    But using the term "nurse" of course, is bothersome.
  11. by   TazziRN
    Both the hospital I used to work at and the one I am at now require certification for a phlebo position.
  12. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Quote from I_am_Julia
    I would have asked for someone else all together and probably would not return to that office EVER. She wouldn't have drawn any blood from me.
    Why? They have three month course that will teach you to be a phlebotomist, but there is no certification, only a certificate.

    They teach you to do these things on the job. I worked as a CNA at a major hospital as a agency CNA and they taught me to insert foley's.

    Some skills are just not that involved to be worried about them.
  13. by   candygirlshar
    Quote from Freedom42
    I had a curious encounter at the doctor's office today. When I went in for my physical, a woman in scrubs came in ahead of the doc. She was wearing scrubs but no name tag. We hadn't met before, so I asked if she was a nurse. Yes, she replied.

    I then presented her with paperwork outlining the shots I needed for school. As she looked over the paperwork, she volunteered that she was not a nurse but, in fact, a medical assistant. Oh, really? I replied. Where do you go to school for that? (I was genuinely curious.)

    Well, she replied, she didn't go to school. She wasn't a "certified medical assistant," in her words, but "had a lot of experience." In fact, she'd been a CNA for 16 years, but this particular medical practice, as she explained it, "isn't like a hospital and doesn't care if you're ceritified." Hmm. Later on, the doctor sent her back to draw blood.

    What would your reaction be? Obviously, she called herself a nurse, and she isn't one. (I wonder if she would have volunteered that info had she not seen my paperwork.) She called herself a medical assistant, then volunteered that she wasn't credentialed. I know nothing about MAs. Is that kosher? And what level of license does someone have to hold to be allowed to draw blood? (For what it's worth, this is the only person I've dealt with in many years at this doctor's office who wasn't wearing a name tag with credentials. Is there any kind of identification requirement?)
    YOU ACTUALLY DON'T HAVE TO WEAR IDENTIFICATION WHEN YOU ARE A MEDICAL ASSISTANT, HOWEVER WHEN YOU ENTER THE ROOM OF A PATIENT YOU ARE SUPPOSE LET THAT PATIENT KNOW WHO YOU ARE WHEN ENTERING A PATIENTS ROOM AND YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO HAVE A CERTIFICATION WHEN YOU ARE A MEDICAL ASSISTANT. IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN A MEDICAL ASSISTANT PROGRAM HOW CAN YOU CALL YOURSELF A MEDICAL ASSISTANT.
  14. by   TazziRN
    Quote from candygirlshar
    YOU ACTUALLY DON'T HAVE TO WEAR IDENTIFICATION WHEN YOU ARE A MEDICAL ASSISTANT, HOWEVER WHEN YOU ENTER THE ROOM OF A PATIENT YOU ARE SUPPOSE LET THAT PATIENT KNOW WHO YOU ARE WHEN ENTERING A PATIENTS ROOM AND YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO HAVE A CERTIFICATION WHEN YOU ARE A MEDICAL ASSISTANT. IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN A MEDICAL ASSISTANT PROGRAM HOW CAN YOU CALL YOURSELF A MEDICAL ASSISTANT.

    *ouch*

    Um.......could we ask you to please not post in all caps? It's considered "shouting" and it's hard to read. Thanks!

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