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Medical Assistants in jails?

Nurses   (1,818 Views 5 Comments)

xoemmylouox has 13 years experience as a ASN, RN.

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So I saw a job ad for a MA position at a local jail. Corrections isn't my thing, but I know it is for some. I wonder how those who work in this area see this play out? Do you have MA's working at your jail? It said they would be under the direction of the RN. I worry about the future of nursing when I see job openings like this.corrections is not easy nursing. You need good assessment skills, good critical thinking skills, etc. I'm not sure how many MA programs teach that. The one I taught before certainly did not. What next.. MA's in LTC?

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NurseSpeedy has 18 years experience as a ADN, LPN, RN.

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I don't know about the jail/corrections but your last comment about MAs in LTC got me thinking. I live in Florida and assisted living facilities can hire anyone off the street (provided they pass a background check) and train them to be an caregiver (like an aide). Then that same person can take a four hour course given by the facility and learn how to pass meds by 'observation' not 'administration'. Basically, they take the pills listed on the MAR, place them in a cup, hand them to the resident with a cup of water and watch them swallow them. If they need to be spooned into the patients mouth, then a nurse is needed because that would be 'administration'. Now, they are not responsible to know what the meds do, if they are safe to be given together, side effects, nothing! Just, 'here's your pills". By doing this they can get away with only having 1 nurse to over 100 residents and not even have the nurse on campus for the entire 24/7 rotation. The LPN director would be available by phone for questions of the medication tech. Now, when there was no med tech and I had to take the cart and see what was being given, when, and with what, I about had a heart attack because there were some scary things listed on the med sheets. I know that facilities do this to cut costs and some states allow it for whatever reason but it is just so scary because by taking out the LPN/RN who knows about meds and interactions and safety when administering such medications, it's just opening the facility for a bad outcome some day.

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Nurse Leigh specializes in Telemetry.

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I thought MA's could only work under the supervision of a physician, NP, or PA. Not sure how that would work. Do the corrections facilities ever utilize those qualified to pass meds?

I agree with your inclination to be concerned.

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quiltynurse56 has 3 years experience as a LPN, LVN and specializes in LTC and Pediatrics.

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MA can either mean Medical Assistant or Medication Aid. I am wondering if what they are looking for are Medication Aids. Many LTC facilities utilize Medication Aids. Any more, they are needing to be certified. Medication Aids take classes, do a clinical and work under the nurse on duty.

Medical Assistants are most likely found in physician offices.

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On 5/7/2016 at 9:35 AM, Nurse Leigh said:

I thought MA's could only work under the supervision of a physician, NP, or PA. Not sure how that would work. Do the corrections facilities ever utilize those qualified to pass meds?

I agree with your inclination to be concerned.

MA's typically work under the supervision of the provider, however they can also be supervised by an RN.  States differ for regulations.  In some states, MA's are regulated by the Medical Board, in others, the Board of Nursing is the regulatory agency.  In my State of North Carolina, both the Board of Medicine and the Board of Nursing serve to regulate the practice of MA's.

Medical Assistants fall under the category of UAP's (unlicensed assistive personnel) and as such, must be supervised by a licensed healthcare provider, either a nurse or a doctor.

MA's can, in some cases, administer medications through various routes (PO, IM, etc) and may require extra training to do so.  Again, each state differs, and it depends on the practice area.  Prisons, for example, often operate like outpatient clinics combined with urgent care.  In this setting, unlike long-term care, the patient bears some of the responsibility for knowing about their particular medication regimen.  Side effects, adverse reactions, drug interactions, etc are all things that licensed nurses are responsible for knowing when administering medication to patients in acute care settings, sub-acute, or long term care.  MA's would not typically administer medications in these practice areas because they are not responsible to know the side effects, adverse reactions, and drug interactions, etc.

- Ram, RN

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