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  1. #41

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    Why do you think all nurses are going to be nice because you experienced a nice nurse before? That was a person and he or she was nice and just so happened to be a nurse. You could run into another nice person who happens to be an MA as well.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  2. #42
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    I was at the doctor a week ago. The MA who was actually not quite an MA yet--doing her internship--was very nice. She did my vitals and history and took blood. She did a great job--and I was asked how she did since she's training. There is a nurse (LPN) at my doctor's office, on the other hand, who is and always has been quite prickly. I assume these are personality traits of the people in question, not reflections of their training or qualifications.

    Meeting one MA and deciding they are all bad based on that person's demeanor seems very unfair.
    Last edited by PDilemma; 01-25-2011 at 11:23 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by dupa View Post
    I personally find MAs don't necessarily make the patient's experience pleasant and smooth at all. Maybe that's because it's not exactly difficult to become one. Any ol' body can do it. But I'm so glad they make YOUR life as a clinician easier and hey, they're cheap. Bonus!
    Sorry, but any ol' body cannot do it. The MA at my doctor's office is fabulous; for instance, she is the only one who can draw blood from me who can find a decent vein in under ten minutes. I've been to clinics where the help dithers around for half an hour before anyone gets anywhere and I've been to the hospital where I ran through 3 doctors in 20 minutes before anybody could draw blood successfully. Elizabeth at the doctor's office nails it every time in about 60 seconds flat.

  4. #44
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    Not too long ago you only needed as little as two years of training before calling yourself a nurse and one year before becoming a registered practical nurse. Now that has changed and nurses can study for four years or more now before becoming qualified nurse. An RPN (that what we call the job here in Canada) study for two years while support workers or healthcare aides study for about nine months, up from as little three months a few years ago. Nurses are also in high demand and smaller offices and towns have problems finding nurses to fill certain positions. Maybe that has changed now with the downturn but increasing training and scope of responsibility for healthcare aides helps to alleviate some of the problems caused by increasing health care costs and staff shortages. There are also nurses who are able to prescribe drugs. The job descriptions for each of the above positions have radically changed over the years and so must our perception of what people in those positions are capable of doing.

  5. #45
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    Nurse Practitioners have a master's degree in nursing and can work independently in clinics. They have a certain range of medications that they can prescribe including anti-biotics and some pain killers. You can often find Nurse Practitioners in places like Minute Clinics. My sister is an NP in Neurology and specializes in Parkinson's disease and movement disorders.

    A Physician's Assistant also has a master's degree and can perform similar duties to an NP BUT a PA must always be working under the direction of the MD. An NP actually has more freedom to practice independently than a PA does.

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    dupa, honestly, as an MA I'm kind of insulted that because you met one of us who's mean, apparently we seem to all make life difficult for you. Generalizing much?

    No, I'm not an nurse, but I did undergo a good deal of training to get my MA certificate. I have a bachelor's degree in biology from Duke, spent countless hours volunteering in a hospital, and am in the process of applying to graduate school. I have given hundreds of shots and had a grand total of zero complications. Last week I gave a PPD to a lady who said it was the least painful one she'd had in 30 years. With the exception of once, I have never had to go beyond one stick to get blood. Every single day, every single patient, I make sure I give the best possible care.

    I know my patients by name and their histories and what sports teams they support. I make sure to welcome new patients and tell people happy birthday if they're unlucky enough to be here on their birthdays. When patients call, they ask for me by name because I do a damn good job and they know it.

    So yeah, I guess I'm just some ol'body out there. And I can say with 100% honesty that the two MAs I work with give it just as much effort.

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe you just hit one bad egg?


  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by bardtoob View Post
    If I was, it would not bother me so long as I was working towards something more inline with my capacity, not unlike MDs that worked as EMTs, RNs that worked as MAs, X-Ray Techs that worked as receptionists. It takes all kinds to build a healthcare team.
    Quote Originally Posted by mkats View Post
    No, I'm not an nurse, but I did undergo a good deal of training to get my MA certificate. I have a bachelor's degree in biology from Duke, spent countless hours volunteering in a hospital, and am in the process of applying to graduate school.
    You are precisely the type of person to which I was referring, and there is a lot of opportunity to advance within healthcare beyond the simple tracks of either being a physician or a nurse.

    However, I will say there are very respectable people that will end their careers as MAs, and they will have found their careers to have been very satisfying. They, along with their Nursing Assistant counterparts in Acute Care and Skilled Nursing facilities and Home Health Aides, do a lot of the day to day care of patients as the profession of nursing moves towards care planning/prioritizing, interventions, and advanced clinical skills.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 01-26-2011 at 06:20 PM.

  8. #48
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    The technical college I work at has a very popular medical assisting program, as well as a certified nursing assistant program. The medical assisting program is much more stringent and there is a waiting list a mile long to get into the doors to even take the placement tests.

    There is often a discussion about the lack of nurses and other healthcare professionals, but there is also a lack of qualified and good healthcare teachers. A good nurse does not necessarily make a good teacher and vice versa.

  9. #49

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    Kinda of off topic .... so a Medical Assistant actually does more than work the front desk/office management then? I was thinking of applying for some medical assistant jobs because the descriptions all describe office management/desk work/administrative tasks, but not doing medical tasks (which I have no training for). I'm a secretary, so probably not a good idea to apply for "medical assistant" jobs then?

  10. #50
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    You could work for a doctor or in a medical setting as medical secretary. I have seen jobs in the health care field that are purely clerical. There was a position in a hospital near me for a full time person to deal with the menu and patient meal orders etc. (I hope I remember that right. LOL ) But yeah if you want to be a medical assistant you will need additional training.

  11. #51
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    BaileyCatts - I don't do any front desk work at all; we have 3 MAs and we all work purely in clinical. I think the main job of MAs is usually in the back but may include a little front work if the days are slow.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    The Wiki link about PAs talks about the difference between PA and NP. The former is based on the physician model and the latter on the nursing model. There are specifics of autonomy that are different as well.

    Who knows, perhaps dupa wants an NP to take her temp and BP.
    IIRC you are a PA? right? As an RN, I find your digs at a "highly paid expensive RN" rather . There are things that an "expensive nurse" can do that a CMA doesn't. My physician's office employs: PA, RN, LPN, CMA. In my state physicians often look down the noses at APRNs because of the medical vs. nursing models of practice.

    The CMA does a good job of vital signs and blood draws. But she does not have the nursing background to recognize drug interactions, know the right questions to ask about dosages . The RN does the ECGs, blood draws from PICC, infuses drugs via the PICC, etc. The PA sees patients with routine illnesses, the physician does all the major illness management, complicated illnesses. The RN also gets reports from the hospitalist, schedules any diagnoistic studies, etc. The RN calls with normal and abnormal lab reports and what the dr. wants to do. The RN will call prescriptions into the pharmacy per physician orders. The medical secretary does scheduling, reminder calls, directs phone calls to the appropriate care provider, etc.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkats View Post
    dupa, honestly, as an MA I'm kind of insulted that because you met one of us who's mean, apparently we seem to all make life difficult for you. Generalizing much?
    Who's generalizing?



    Quote Originally Posted by mkats View Post
    Did it ever occur to you that maybe you just hit one bad egg?

    Yes it did, which is why I asked the question in the first place. Defensive much?

  14. #54
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    I've been to appointments at various clinics and didn't care if I was serviced by an MA or nurse. In fact, I couldn't even tell the difference. From my point of view, I don't care how much education someone has in doing vitals and taking medical hx since more direct experience will offset knowledge. Really, why pay more for the same service?

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    As an RN, I find your digs at a "highly paid expensive RN" rather ..
    There is no dig. Keep in mind that IceAlisa lives in an area where RNs receive, due to high demand and low supply, some of the highest pay anywhere in the US and about double to triple the pay of an MA in that area, and, based on your quote of her post, she is facetiously saying that Dupa thinks only a Nurse Practitioner (NP) is qualified to take vital signs in a clinic, which is silly since nobody needs to have a Master's Degree and years of ICU, ER, or OR experience to take a blood pressure in a clinic. In fact, it is a waste of resources that are in low supply.

    And, of course, Cardiac Monitoring in a clinical setting, IV Meds, PICC Line access, etc. are things an RN should be handling, not only because those are so complex and/or invasive, but because any patient that needs those things is or has been very ill and, therefore, has a complex clinical history that needs consideration.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 01-27-2011 at 04:41 PM.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1lutz2klutz View Post
    Nurse Practitioners have a master's degree in nursing and can work independently in clinics. They have a certain range of medications that they can prescribe including anti-biotics and some pain killers. You can often find Nurse Practitioners in places like Minute Clinics. My sister is an NP in Neurology and specializes in Parkinson's disease and movement disorders.
    Aha, so that is what we met in Minute Clinic in Miami. I wondered about her! My dad had a sore throat while we were on vacation and we went to a Minute Clinic and this young girl saw him. I thought she was too young to be a doctor but didn't like to ask.

    After reading this thread, I bet she was an NP. Well, that particular girl was completely useless. But overall I can see the benefit of having an NP instead of a doctor when it comes to minor illness like a cold or a small infection.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by dupa View Post
    Who's generalizing?
    Uh, you?

    But by all means, if your poor little median cubital is too at the thought of being pricked by an MA, then by all means, let the MD know... just don't be surprised when he sends you right back to me. Or tells you to find a new doctor, which is probably what he'd do.
    Last edited by mkats; 01-27-2011 at 04:47 PM.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1lutz2klutz View Post
    Nurse Practitioners have a master's degree in nursing and can work independently in clinics. They have a certain range of medications that they can prescribe including anti-biotics and some pain killers. You can often find Nurse Practitioners in places like Minute Clinics. My sister is an NP in Neurology and specializes in Parkinson's disease and movement disorders.

    A Physician's Assistant also has a master's degree and can perform similar duties to an NP BUT a PA must always be working under the direction of the MD. An NP actually has more freedom to practice independently than a PA does.
    To add to this, NPs are licensed and regulated by the state Board of Nursing, so their scope of care is determined on a state-by-state basis. In New Hampshire, an NP can function fully independently, while other states require collaborating physicians. PAs always practice under a physician. As a huge generalization, NPs tend to focus more on primary care while PAs work in procedure based specialties like surgery or orthopedics. But that's also pretty dependent on location. In my area, there are more NPs than PAs. Most jobs are advertised as an NP job but say in the description a PA is acceptable as well. That's mostly due to the fact that we have a number of NP programs in the area and few or no PA programs.

  19. #59
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    According to this site, CMA average salaries, LPN in a clinic setting, RN in an Outpatient Clinic setting, nurse practitioner (APRN) - depends on speciality, PA salaries,

    The RN and LPN salaries reflect a wide range of what a Outpatient Clinic Nurse is defined as including a speciality clinic where the RN is the lead manager of several nursing employees. The CMA typically works in a physician's office and is managed by the physician. The nurses in an office setting that I know, earn less than that average because they trade salary for benefits of no weekends, no nights, no on-call status, weather days off, usually do not have health insurance benefits, etc.

  20. #60

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    ^ Yeah, then IceAlisa was coming from a totally different perspective. These salary ranges are not at all applicable in her area. The cost of housing requires that the median salary be significantly higher than the national average.

    ETA: I just typed in my own zip code, and every one of these jobs has a salary range that is above the 90th percentile nationally.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 01-27-2011 at 05:57 PM.

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