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Differences between Medical Assistants and Registered Nurses?

Nurses   (47,170 Views 115 Comments)
by MA2006 MA2006 (Member) Member

MA2006 has 1 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg.

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NanerRN has 6 years experience and specializes in Emergency Department.

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I was a medical assistant for 14 years...I am now a third semester nursing student. RN's and MA's are COMPLETELY different in my opinion. While my background as an MA has given me a little bit of a headstart on things as opposed to students in my class with no medical background whatsoever, it is nowhere near what I have learned so far in nursing school.

Critical thinking is such a huge component in nursing and it is not even touched on in MA school.

MA's make nowhere near the money RN's/LPN's do...and that is how it should be! I make $12.00/hr right now...working part-time as a biller for a private practice...and that is more than I made as an MA!

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Medical Assistants will never make as much as an RN never. I have been a Medical Assistant since 2003 and I'm going to school to become a RN starting this fall. I don't know where your friend got her facts, but she sounds like she is clueless.

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chadash specializes in Nursing assistant.

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i worked as a pct while in nursing school. that was in arizona, where pcts seem to be used quite a bit. i think it is a regional thing, because i don't see them used here in the south at all. in addition to ekgs and phlebotomy, we learned basic sterile procedures like catheters and dressing chagnes.

 

just to clarify: when we say "ekgs," we mean how to run the test, not how to interpret. if you are interested in learning arrythmias, then you might be interested in being a "monitor tech," which is a position on a telemetry floor that keeps an eye on the monitiors and notifies the nurse of any changes. very important on many floors where those are the only monitors (that is, there are no "central" monitors in the nurses station where the nurse can see the patient's rhythm).

 

much of this training can be on-the-job. i would be a little leary of paying a bunch of money to go to a technical school when you can be paid to get the same training at some facilities. you may need to take an entry-level position in the begining and let them know you are interested in advancing you skills, though.

thanks for the information on pcts, sounds like a great job. wonder what you all think of unlicensed folk doing all this? i really trust those with more education (with experience) to make judgements about what unlicensed persons should or shouldn't be doing. as i have said before, ignorance is not bliss, but it can be nearsighted: i might think i know something because i don't have a clue about what i don't know so, sometimes, i am a bit weary of the debate: being at the bottom of the skill curb, i have to 'fess up so to speak....years of experience, the ability to give good conscientious care, and reading until my eyes bugg out does not equal what you all have to learn to become licensed. it makes me a darn good aide, but not a nurse.

also, kadokin, thanks for your encouragement. it has been a tough year, lots of set backs in my plans, and you cheered me along.

thanks.

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nursesaideBen specializes in Medical Telemetry, LTC,AlF, Skilled care.

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I am a Certified Medical Assistant which is Nationally certified. CMA's can now start IV's in NC. I work for a family practice and make $12 an hour and I also work for a Urgent Care facility making $15 an hour prn work. The difference between a nurse and CMA is that nurses are trained to work in a hospital setting and an CMA is trained to work in a doctor's office. CMA's are trained to do every job in a doctor's office administrative and clinical. CMA's can become a practice or office manager. Most offices in my area prefer CMA's over nurses because we are very versatile. We are cross trained to fill any position. I do not know why so many people show so much animosity here. My instructor in school was against nurses because some do put CMA's down. Some CMA's in some offices are the clinical supervisor. We practice under the doctor. The doctor's can train us to do things they want done. I am getting ready to start nursing school next month. I received an Associate degree in Medical Assisting. Some schools do have diploma programs for CMA's. We do get two semesters of Medical Terminology which Nurses do not get. We take symptomatology also. I admit we do not know as much as RN's. We have a doctor were I work that does not like the RN because she takes too long with the patients assessing them. He wants you to get the chief complaint, get the vitals and medications they are taking and then get out quickly. They want to treat them and street them. You can get the doctor behind by staying too long in the rooms. They do not care about any assessments. Let's please all get along. PLease do not look down on others. We should work as a team in any setting. I love my office because we all help one another. I hate that I am leaving next month. There is so much chart work involved in the family practice. I keep my doctor straight on childhood immunizations. Sometimes I keep him from making errors. I like working with a doctor on a one on one bases. We have a great relationship. He tells me I am his right hand. At least the doctor I work with appreciates me. I work for the patient. I get referrals set up and test scheduled they need. I know more about the patient than my doctor does. They share more information to the CMA than they will share with a doctor. They ask us more questions than they do the doctor. I help patients with patient assistance. I try to help patients who cannot afford meds by giving them samples. I write prescriptions for the patients with my doctors approval but not for narcotics.

Well said, it's easy to look at someone's job description and think you're either better than them or that their job is a piece of cake but when you see what they are actually accomplishing it makes you think differently. Good post :)

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Marie_LPN, RN is a LPN, RN and specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

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Most offices in my area prefer CMA's over nurses because we are very versatile.

Seriously doubt that's the reason, since nurses can be trained for office as well.

My instructor in school was against nurses because some do put CMA's down.

Be against nurses because a few put others down. Great.

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I can not believe that someone is comparing a medical assistant to a registered nurse.:lol2:

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210 Posts; 3,235 Profile Views

RN's make $55 an hour on the weekend at my facility...$35 during the week. What does the MA make? 10 -12/ hour; little bit of a difference. Medical Assistants are ancillary staff their role is to help (assist). The RN's role is to coordinate the staff. If necessary she or he can help to do tasks, but it is not their role.

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You are multitasked, flexible with many roles. But you know what physicans hire MA because they can save money hiring them. Why not save money?

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210 Posts; 3,235 Profile Views

I am a Certified Medical Assistant which is Nationally certified. CMA's can now start IV's in NC. I work for a family practice and make $12 an hour and I also work for a Urgent Care facility making $15 an hour prn work. The difference between a nurse and CMA is that nurses are trained to work in a hospital setting and an CMA is trained to work in a doctor's office. CMA's are trained to do every job in a doctor's office administrative and clinical. CMA's can become a practice or office manager. Most offices in my area prefer CMA's over nurses because we are very versatile. We are cross trained to fill any position. I do not know why so many people show so much animosity here. My instructor in school was against nurses because some do put CMA's down. Some CMA's in some offices are the clinical supervisor. We practice under the doctor. The doctor's can train us to do things they want done. I am getting ready to start nursing school next month. I received an Associate degree in Medical Assisting. Some schools do have diploma programs for CMA's. We do get two semesters of Medical Terminology which Nurses do not get. We take symptomatology also. I admit we do not know as much as RN's. We have a doctor were I work that does not like the RN because she takes too long with the patients assessing them. He wants you to get the chief complaint, get the vitals and medications they are taking and then get out quickly. They want to treat them and street them. You can get the doctor behind by staying too long in the rooms. They do not care about any assessments. Let's please all get along. PLease do not look down on others. We should work as a team in any setting. I love my office because we all help one another. I hate that I am leaving next month. There is so much chart work involved in the family practice. I keep my doctor straight on childhood immunizations. Sometimes I keep him from making errors. I like working with a doctor on a one on one bases. We have a great relationship. He tells me I am his right hand. At least the doctor I work with appreciates me. I work for the patient. I get referrals set up and test scheduled they need. I know more about the patient than my doctor does. They share more information to the CMA than they will share with a doctor. They ask us more questions than they do the doctor. I help patients with patient assistance. I try to help patients who cannot afford meds by giving them samples. I write prescriptions for the patients with my doctors approval but not for narcotics.

:monkeydance:

You are multitasked, flexible with many roles. But you know what physicans hire MA's because they can save money hiring them. Why not save money?

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36 Posts; 1,574 Profile Views

Your friend must either be very insecure or full of herself to think that a CMA is anywhere in the same are as a nurse. With more education comes more knowledge. Doesn't matter what the title or profession is. A MSN has more knowledge than a BSN, and the BSN have more knowledge than the RN and so on down the line. Yes, experience counts for something, but the more you learn the more you know... period. Thus respect needs to be given to anyone that put in the time, effort and the money to gain the knowledge!

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saernurse69 specializes in ER, ICU, Telemetry, NICU, Pediatrics.

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My 2 cents worth....there is vast differences between MA's and RN's. I was an MA for 4 years and have been an LVN for 11 years and am almost an RN. The MA's can give oral meds and IM injections. They can take vitals, they can do basic patient care and they are mainly office staff that I have seen. As an LVN I have been working in ER and ICU for the last 11 years and know the difference between myself and the RN's. The critical thinking skills and the care planning of patients is the greater difference as well as the basic physiology knowledge of disease processes. Most MA's don't even have the why or whats involved with the process, only the clinical skills to do the basics. I have seen and heard some MA's get into a lot of trouble thinking that they have the ability, knowledge and skills to do things that even with an MD order cannot be done. The MA's here in Texas get started at a minimum of 6-10 an hour depending on where you work and if you are certified to do lab basics or x-ray tech, otherwise they are not paid anywhere near a nurses scale. Generally, all I have seen is that they "room" and vital the pts for the MD and assist with exams and get meds in order. Other than that, not much is done by the MA. They are a great asset to the paperwork and chart part as to the refills of meds and answering questions that the MD gives them answers to. Just my opinion....:mad:

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44 Posts; 1,219 Profile Views

It makes me a darn good aide, but not a nurse.

Also, kadokin, thanks for your encouragement. It has been a tough year, lots of set backs in my plans, and you cheered me along.

Thanks.

As an LPN, there is nothing more valuable to me than a "darn good aide". My guess is that they become darn good nurses. From what I observe, lousy aides are those who do not see the importance of what they do and their value to nurses and more importantly, to patients.

Back to the topic... I've never worked with MA's but I always thought they were like a CNA but with some office training to go with it. ???

If they make as much $$ as RN's what the hell am I doing taking all these useless RN pre-req's ??? I don't need no stinkin' Chemistry/Microbiology/A+P I and II, etc., etc. - I could have done an MA program in 9 months and today I would have as much knowledge and make as much $$ as an RN!!!!

I feel so cheated! (not)

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