Sunday, November 11, 2007
The Important Differences Between the LPN and Medical Assistant
Soon2bRN has left us the following comment:
I am an LPN who also graduated college from a medical assisting program and became a CMA.
I took the Medical Assisting program first. All of our heads (the students) were pumped with these ideas that LPN's are being phased out and Med. Asst. do the same job. I bought into this bogus idea and so did the rest of the students; I also felt that I should have been paid what LPN's were paid because we "do the same things".
I am now an LPN, and let me tell you, there is so much more that we do that a Medical Assistant is nowhere near trained to do. The skill and knowledge, as well as responsibilities are vastly different. I have so much more respect for LPN's now. We have far more responsibility, and have independent tasks (without MD supervision). We must be able to recognize changes or signs in our patients that a Medical Assistant is not trained to recognize, and know what these changes may indicate.
Do not be ignorant to the fact that the amount of time which you attend school is not what is important, it is the content of the curriculum that makes the difference. After being on both sides, I can honestly say LPN's and Medical Assistant should not be compensated equally.
Nursing is based on the nursing process, which is a very methodical way of critical thinking and assessment, planning, diagnosing, etc; Medical Assistants are not trained in this, they do not learn theory.
Medical Assistants are definitely important to the healthcare industry but their depth of knowledge is not nearly on the level of an LPN. You must also remember LPN's have licenses, not certification. We need to spend our time continually observing and assessing our patients, suctioning trachs, administering tube feedings, and writing detailed "NURSING NOTES" (just to name a few)because those are our responsibilities as licensed professionals.
LPN's and RN's may also be called to help prove malpractice in court because we are thought to have concrete knowledge in patient care as LICENSED professionals. It is ILLEGAL for Medical Assistants to call themselves nurses. Patients have a right to know the accurate credentials of their healthcare providers.
In closing: Medical Assistants are needed in this industry, and so are LPS's. LPN's are not, and I repeat, are not, being phased out! There was recently a conference on CNN with Bloomberg about nursing and they are developing more LPN programs in NYC because more LPN's are needed. Does that sound like we are being phased out, I don't think so.
This is something that Medical Asssistant schools would like you to believe so you can enroll into the Medical Assistant program. I fell for it to. Trust me, this was told to me by a reliable source (a school administrator) once I became an LPN. Needless to say I was livid to learn this after the fact. And no LPN's don't learn the administrative side because that is not our job.
Hope this was helpful.