Medical Assistants in WA

  1. I work in a clinic in Seattle that uses MA's who have not been formally trained. Some of them refer to themselves as "Dr. so-and-so's nurse" on the phone with patients, pharmacies, and other facilities. They do everything that the nurses do except giving injections (our boss says they can by state law but she doesn't allow them to).

    Does anyone know the Washington-specific state laws on MA's? It bothers me that they represent themselves as nurses when they have no formal training or education, and worries me that they do telephone triage, giving patients medical advice. These people aren't idiots, but they are not licensed either...
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    About melissa_rn

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 39; Likes: 1
    Float nurse at sports medicine/family practice clinic


  3. by   JoeyDog
    There was a thread about a similar situation and about the difference between RN's and MA's. Search the archives and you will find it. Someone put a link up about the scope of practice for MA's. But irregardless they should not be calling themselves nurse b/c they are not, moreover by allowing non liscenced people to work in their clinic your bosses are putting themselves in grave danger for a major lawsuite. Good luck.
  4. by   teresaden
    Hi, I'm new here. First post, and new RN (08/05/06). I am in PA, and worked as a medical assistant in this state for 5 years before returning to nursing school. I did have "formal training" as an MA, 18 mo. diploma program. Certification is available for MAs in this state completing an accredited program, but costly and not usually resulting in any difference in pay. Since we were taught "triage" (we're talking office triage here, and mostly scripted) in school, I was surprised as a nursing student at an instructor's exasperation when I told her the MA and RN did the same exact same job in the pediatric clinic I visited for a clinical day. I know you're looking for WA state-specific information, but having been here (RN), there (MA) and in the middle (student), I can tell you that basically an MA's scope of practice is rather loosely defined, i.e., she may do whatever the employing physician is willing to teach. Therefore, at least in this state, anything the MA does falls under respondeant superior. I do see your concern and I was pleased to work for a fine physician who wanted someone on staff who had at least been trained, and who monitored any medical advice I relayed! I would question the judgement (or sanity, for the matter) of any physician or company employing untrained staff and giving her the title "MA". Where's the "M"? Simply put, it is unlikely the "MA" could be sued if not even certified. And sadly, no training is just that--she doesn't even know the legal implications (for the physician, in this case) of her actions.
  5. by   teresaden
    One more thing. LOL. Would you not agree that it would be safer to allow an "uneducated" MA give an injection if you (the physician) trained her yourself than to allow her to give medical advice that's probably not even being charted for your review? My opinion: this physician may well end up getting more than she bargained for with the "cheap labor".
  6. by   teresaden
    Last edit by teresaden on Sep 3, '06 : Reason: entered twice