As an MA I would love to chime in on this topic. Many valid reasons have been cited already. For me, 25 years ago, I did not have the money to attend "nursing school". So I opted to get my foot in the door by attending an MA program through a private school in my area. I graduated top of my class with the intention that after working a few years and saving some money, I would go to college and get my RN.
Well, life took its course and I got married, had children, worked in a job I loved and didn't feel the need to go back to school.
Now that my kids are grown and I have gained so much "working knowledge"...more I might add than anyone ever learns in school...I wish I had a license. Frankly, in my clinic, I do much of the same work as the RN's and LPN's...only without equal pay. I take orders, I give meds, I give injections, I clean and dress wounds, I culture, I draw blood, I assist minor surgery, I test, I chart, I advise, etc etc etc etc etc.
What I don't do is bedside. But, even if I were licensed as an RN, I would not want to. It never was my desire. My goal was to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
For several years now I have taught in other MA and basic Med Term/Anatomy classes. While I love sharing the knowlege of what I have learned, I always encourage my students to disregard the idea of taking MA courses and just go for the LPN. Same time involved, almost exact classes but with more intense clinicals and in the end higher pay and more respect. Plus then they can easily bridge to RN if and when they choose.
Unfortunately, nursing is an sorority of heirarchy. The more important letters you have after your name, the more respect you get. It doesn't matter who does a better job or who acquires more hands on knowledge. Which in many cases is a darn shame.
For me, I toss around the idea all the time of going back to school. But I honestly have no desire to do clinicals. I dislike the idea of bedside so much that it simply turns me off to further my career. Although I have been exploring the idea of Health Promotion or Dietetics. But again, at my age, who wants to go back to school for 4+ years?