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Medical Assistant vs. CNA

girl8582 girl8582 (New) New

I was wondering if a Medical Assistant can work in a hospital? Or do they only work in Doctor's offices. Can a CNA that just graduated from school go straight to a hospital to work without any experience or do they have to go to a nursing home? I was wondering, because I can't decide between a cna or Medical assistant. What does a Cna do in a hospital setting? What does a medical assistant do in a hospital setting? I am not sure if I can handle changing diapers, cleaning up throw up, and all the other nasty things. No offense to cna's. I just don't think my stomach can handle it. Sorry for so many questions, if you can answer all of them please. Thanks

PhoenixTech, LPN

Specializes in Float. Has 3 years experience.


Last year, I took a course and became a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. As part of this course, I'm also Certified in Phlebotomy, EKG & Clinical Medical Lab Assistant. I externed in a hospital and got hired on as a CCMA.

I did bloodwork, vitals, and worked with the doctor by setting up appointments, making and maintaining charts, billing, insurance authorizations, etc.

After 6 mos, I took the hospital based Unlicensed Tech course and became a Tech. The HR rep who interviewed me for the tech course let me know that they prefer to take CNA's straight from school and train them in Phlebotomy and EKG to upgrade them to Techs. They don't have a CNA title in this particular hospital but the tech position is basically the same. It's basic patient care and all of the stuff that you said you didn't want to do. If dealing with bodily functions and fluids is intolerable to you than I would suggest you go for Medical Assistant because it's more clerical.

I can however tell you that I also thought that I could never do some of the things I'm doing, (observing the nurse assess a stage 3 decubitus ulcer:uhoh21:) but I've definately suprised myself. It also feels good to help some1 who really needs the TLC.

As far as Medical Assistants working in hospitals, in my area, I worked in the Outpatient Cancer Center which is part of the hospital, but to work on the floor they train you as a unit clerk. They do the clerical part of Medical Assistant but no clinical whatsoever.

Good luck:D

Erindel RN, ADN, BSN

Specializes in medical psych and hospice. Has 6 years experience.

I worked as both a med assistant and a tech. I prefer a tech much better because its more hands on and nurse related. It will give u good practice for your future as a nurse. Medical assistants have some pt contact but no bedside skills. It is mostly checking in pts and then vitals and possibly lab work etc. I like being aside the rn to help them out and to gain future experience. Also when u become a nurse hopefully you will respect those cna and techs because that once used to be you.....

I disagree that Medical Assisting is more clerical than hands-on. Instead I believe it all depends on what type of office you work in.

For instance, I am strictly back office ~ all hands-on. The only clerical work I do pertains to charting, calling in 'scripts, creating lab requisitions, etc. In addition to rooming patients (calling them from the waiting room), I also perform x-Rays, EKGs, venipuncture, wound care, ear lavage, and many other procedures ~ in addition to vital signs.

When looking for an office to work in as an MA it is important to find out if you will be strictly back-office (hands-on) or front-office (clerical, billing, etc.) or a mixture of both.


I am curious to know starting wages in nh for medical assisting. I would appreciate any feedback. Also, would it be more beneficial to have my LNA or not. I currently have my associates degree of science in medical assisting. Thank you :)

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