what the heck are medical assistant schools doing ! - page 5

I'm an RN, in the ER. I know of 4 people who, in my opinion have been rooked into MA (medical assistant ) schools. Each on of these people have been told that , MA , can do everything an RN can do.... Read More

  1. by   OB_or_NICU_hopeful
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    Well, it is grunt work. I don't think a lot of CNA's even disagree with that. They are worked like mules and they deserve better.

    I think I encountered a CMA (maybe she wasn't even that, I don't know) at a doctor's office. She ran around with a stethescope around her neck and when she came to talk to us she identified herself as the nurse. Only when we asked about his medication (my pre-nursing days) which was sinemet and Altace she was totally bewildered and couldn't tell us anything about it.

    As far as why would a doctor pay an RN $30 and hour when he could get an MA to do it for $10...well, a lot of doctors are all about the money, for one thing (cheap) and if they made people who get suckered into MA school go to real nursing school and get rid of this ridiculous CMA thing then the doctor's wouldn't have a whole lot of choice, would they? BTW, I don't know of any doctor who pays a nurse $30 an hour. The difference in what they make vs. an MA is likely a few dollars.
    Not everyone is "suckered" in to becoming a Medical Assistant. Some people actually choose that line of work AND enjoy it! Not everyone is cut out to be a nurse or are capable of enduring nursing school, but are drawn to health care. There can and should be a place for those individuals, and MA seems to be a good fit.
  2. by   soon2bnurse1
    I feel the same way! I have 18,000 dollars worth of school loans and still I have no job or anything to show for it ! I graduated In the Medical assistant Associates degree program and its like I have went 2 years for NOTHING! So I tell anyone that is thinking about going to any of these schools promising a quick career in the medical filed DONT DO IT!!!!!Its all about the MONEY!! They promise you a JOB and GOOD MONEY but they wont tell you is that they are there to TAKE YOURS!! I feel that these schools be banned or something!!
  3. by   NurseyTee
    I know of one girl that went to college and got an Associate Degree medical Assisting, she was SO disallusioned and then wen't to nursing school and is now an RN. She felt she had wasted her time and money in the MA field.

    I know two ma's that went through one of those expensive 8 month programs. The one works for our Internist and she ALWAYS identifies herself as the nurse. I called her on it one day (She knows I am a nurse) and she said "Well same thing". Umm no it isn't. The other girl I know does the same thing. She identifies herself to all as a nurse. I don't get that. Why don't they just say they are Medical assistants? According to my state's BON that isn't legal to identify yourself as a nurse, if you're not a licensed nurse.
  4. by   Elektra6
    When I was looking for an LPN program I contacted a private school that also had Med assisting, they told me, "why do you want to be an LPN? LPN's can't give shots in NJ, but MA's can!" A classmate of mine had a friend enrolled in a local private school for MA and they told him LPNs were being phased out next year, and he could bridge to an RN program when he graduated. I wound up at a county vocational school for my LPN for $10,000 less than the private school. We also had an excellent Medical Assisting program for less than $4,000. You really have to do your homework, go out and meet people in your field, ask questions and research before you commit.

    I did medical transcription for 5 years at home before I lost my job to overseas outsourcing. But I did make some $$$ and my courses were a medical terminology course at the local community college and a medical transcription course at our county vocational school, both less than $150 each.

    I am a great supporter of our affordable and accredited state and county colleges and vocational schools. We all pay taxes, so why not utilize them.
  5. by   Mimi2RN
    I have no problems with MA's working in a Doctor's office. My only complaint? I don't know who is who. No-one wears a name tag, I don't believe I've ever seen one that says "Medical Assistant". The receptionist who answers the phone or works the front desk says she is the "nurse". This isn't just in one office, it's everywhere! I know that the office manager at one clinic is an LVN, but she doesn't do patient care any more. Everyone else is an MA.

    We have to wear nametags in the hospital, why not in the offices, too?
  6. by   imenid37
    Quote from robynv
    I have to say that I followed this thread because I too, fell into this. But for me it was more of my kids are in school now, I don't want to work at a minunum wage job, so lets see what I can do. Being an MA did get my foot in the door and I discovered I do like my job a lot. ( I work for a OB/GYN office) It is interesting we have RN's, LPN's and MA's doing the same job pretty much. Of course I'm sure the pay is much diffrent!!:wink2: As it should be. I however do not refer to myself as a nurse. OR A MONKEY OR THAT MATTER. I don't want to be sued! I started at $12.00 and really love what I do. I only do the clinical stuff and would hate having to deal with insurance so I'm mulling over the idea of a 1 year LPN program. In fact that is what I think I wanted to do before I was talked into MA. But I have to admit to a giant math phobia. sigh.

    As to the monkey comment, not to be rude myself, but really.....? You think of MA's as trained monkeys? Isn't that a bit rude? I don't think a monkey could have tried to find fetal heart tones on a young woman and then comforted her when we couldn't find them. Nor do I think a monkey could assist in the many GYN procedures we do. ie.. LEEP's EMB etc.....
    Go for the nursing degree.You wil make more $ and gain a lot of knowledge. The math isn't really that bad. You can do it!
  7. by   imenid37
    I have been doing grunt work for the past 20 + years, first as a nursing assistant, then as an RN. We do lots of stuff MD's and DO's dont want to. It is a way of life. It is amazing how many things some of the MA's do in the office that nursing assistants and other unlicensed people do not do in the hospital. It has been years since I have seen a doctor draw blood, start an IV, change a dressing, give a vaccine, or (God forbid) help a patient get cleaned up after vomiting, etc. I have met many MA's who are quite pleasant and a number who are quite arrogant. As one poster said they do not know what they do not know in some cases. I totally agree. My friend works in an office/urgent care clinic where she is actually paid pretty well as an RN. In fact, she makes more than the $30+/hr I do. She tells me that several MA's call themselves nurses, despite being told not to by the nurse manager of the office. (The company is for profit and doesn't want the liability of these people misrepresenting themselves). One MA was even let go for consistently overstepping her scope of practice. I have real issues w/ people calling themselves nurses who are not. Unless you are an RN, LPN, or advanced practice nurse, you are not a nurse. I think the MA schools exist because there are so many doctors out there willing to take advantage of their graduates to save some $'s. For about $8500 you can attend the local school in my town for one year and become an LPN for about the same amount, you can travel 15 miles to our local community college and become an RN in three years. No way would I encourage someone to spend an astronomical amount to be an MA.
  8. by   NO1_2NV
    What really chaps my hide about these schools is that the federal government validates their existance by providing federal loan money for their students. Then on top of this the government, through various social programs, also recommends them as job training programs for folks who have either struggled through high school or who have run out of social benefits. Think of the sheer number of people attending these programs who, after graduating, can't find a job and are now hanging by an even bigger rope then the one they had around their necks before they even started. That to me is just plain wrong on so many levels.

    We should be encouraging people to attend public institutions and giving job training at the local community colleges. If you want to be an MA great!! Here at the local community college we not only have an MA program but we also have an LPN and an RN program if you should decide you want to further your education.

    Just my vent.
  9. by   Ausculapius
    Fantastic thread.

    Before I decided to enter nursing school, I explored the CNA/MA route quite a bit. The schools _minimum_ cost for these programs was 10k, and this was years ago. On graduation, the total cost to get my RN will be around 6k. Thank you Community College!
  10. by   nursingbeauty
    Well there are rop programs you can attend for about 100 bucks and you get certified,I currently work at an urgent care and there is a big difference between nurses and ma's, ma's do not give narc/s or start IV'S they room patients, do ekg's, and other mild jobs nurses dont have time to. I was an ma and found my job pretty easy and i learned a hell of alot doing it...
    Last edit by gwenith on Oct 9, '06
  11. by   gnjoy
    I am the dept chair at a College in Atlanta. I emphasize to my students that medical assisting is totally different from being an Rn and going to school for nine months is nothing compared to the training that RN'S get. Dr's do call the Ma's nurses in the office.
  12. by   pagandeva2000
    I think that people are fooled into thinking that medical assistants can equate to nurses, because it simply is not true. Anatomy is a joke, and anyone can learn to do calculations for injections, but they are not trained in learning the side effects of medications or anything else. I took one years ago, and while I admit that I did make a decent living doing it as a side job, it was nothing compared to when I decided to become an LPN. If MA can't compare to LPN, then, it is totally risky to compare them to RNs.
  13. by   jthomas47
    In North Carolina---you can go to class for a total of 24 hours, do 1 day of clinicals, take a state test, and give meds to assisted living residents in a nursing home or an assisted living facitity. Starting on Nov. 1, they can give meds to skilled residents-----How wrong is this----I work with some of them and they are nice people, but they have NO IDEA what most of the meds. are, much less any side effects or any problems to look for.I even know 1 lady that didn't go to class, just took the test, passed and became a Med. Tech.

    I decided , to help as best I could, i do their oriention and work with them giving the meds, and try to give them some idea what they are doing. I must say they are very careful with their documentation on the MAR, and signing out their narc's and re- ordering their meds---but I still feel they need more classroom and clinical instruction.