CMA working as CNA?

  1. 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)
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    About JonJon88

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 21; Likes: 2
    Registered Medical Assistant; from US

    19 Comments

  3. by   tothepointeLVN
    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.
  4. by   mafornow7
    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. 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!
  5. by   tothepointeLVN
    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
  6. by   JonJon88
    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!
  7. by   pagandeva2000
    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.
  8. by   tothepointeLVN
    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.
  9. by   mafornow7
    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
  10. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from tothepointe
    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.
  11. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from mafornow7
    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
    Last edit by pagandeva2000 on May 26, '09 : Reason: adding email address
  12. by   tothepointeLVN
    Quote from mafornow7
    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
  13. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from tothepointe
    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.
  14. by   ®Nurse
    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.

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