Friday, May 08, 2009

And So the LPN vs. Medical Assistant Debate Continues...

Too many doctors, employers, supervisors, co-workers and even the medical assistants themselves are confused about how to train and properly utilize medical assistants within their practice and which tasks can be assigned to them. Many wonder what their medical assistant is allowed to do, and cannot do, while they are in or out of the office. Unfortunately there is no universal answer, because there is no single definition of a medical assistant's scope of practice that applies to each and every state.

And then, someone asked the question:
I've got a ask a question that has bothered me for some time. Why do medical assistants get paid less than LPN, although CMAs have similar educational training and more? As CMAs how can we take advantage of the nursing shortage. I just don't think it's fair that I went to school for two years and have an associates degree, should earn less money than a LPN who only has a one year diploma.

2:42 AM
Samantha M. in NC responded...

I have wondered this same thing. I am planning to start in a medical assisting program this fall and have been trying to decide between LPN or CMA. I lean more towards CMA 2 year program because I like that there is a balance of office and clinical work. I have worked in a medical office in the past and enjoyed it, but wanted to do work more clinical in nature. In talking with the adviser at school and asking her of the benefits of the 2yr over the 1yr program she indicated that there are more job advancement opportunities with a 2 yr degree, i.e., management. So, possibly there is the place where the pay would increase for a CMA with an associates degree. I'm new to this, so if I am wrong please let me know. Thanks!

9:16 AM
Anonymous said...
I am an LPN and I may not have an associates degree in nursing, but I do have an associates degree. Our program is done right with the RN program, so we have the same training as the first year RN. I have worked with CMA's and I personally feel like they do not have as much training as an LPN, so why should they be paid the same?

9:20 AM
Anonymous said...
I am an LPN and I may not have an associates degree in nursing, but I do have an associates degree. Our program is done right with the RN program, so we have the same training as the first year RN. I have worked with CMA's and I personally feel like they do not have as much training as an LPN, so why should they be paid the same?

9:20 AM
Liz said...
I think that CMA's can take advantage of the nursing shortage by educating physicians and office managers about what it is we are qualified to do. Too many medical offices are unsure of exactly what it is we are trained in. Many professionals dismiss CMA's as a viable because they don't know that a CMA will fit into many RN or LPN positions. Get the word out using your local AAMA. The AAMA has brochures describing our qualifications. Lastly, it was my understanding that the only skills an LPN can do that a CMA cannot are starting IV's and maybe inserting catheters. However, in a medical office setting we are both trained to do the same things. We take vitals, obtain lab samples, care for patients, assist the physician...we have the same training, a CMA just knows the clerical side of the medical office as well. So why are we being paid less?

4:03 PM
Anonymous said...
I am a CMA with an Associate of Science degree in Medical Assistant. I also work with some LPN's, and from what I observed I didn't see where they had as much training as some CMA's, some of them can't even perform a venipuncture. CMA's perform the exact same duties as LPN's with the exception of IV's and catheters which will be coming soon! so why shouldn't they get the same pay?

7:43 PM
Anonymous said...
Hello ,
I live in N.Y.C., as far as Medical Assistants go, we are in high demand. LPN's are becoming obsolete and are slowly being phased out.
Medical Assistant jobs are on the all time high.

5:35 PM
Anonymous said...
I personally feel a LPN or CMA with on the job experience are just as qualified if not more than a RN. So regardless of degree, experience is more important.

7:20 PM
Anonymous said...
I'm a Medical Assistant in NY.And I m currently making 25 hourly. I t all depends on your experience and the medical facility you are working for. I am the medical assistant supervisor over four other medical assistants. I also have 13 years experience. I don't know a lpn making my salary. In NYC LPNs are definitely being fazed out.

7:22 PM
NurseMeg said...
I am an LPN, and I work with CMA's at my job, and I do have respect for them. However, there is a reason why we get paid more. We have to go through the first year of the RN program, pass the state boards, and we have a LICENSE. The difference between license and certification is the knowledge base. Not saying that experience does not bring knowledge, but by obtaining a nursing license, you have proven to the state that you have learned about assessment, care plans, therapeutic communication, pharmacology, and technical skills more in depth than a medical assistant or CNA. A person who is licensed is working under themselves. Therefore they are able to do things under a doctors orders, but are solely responsible for various duties. A certification does not give you that responsibility...the doctor is therefore liable for any mistake that you may make. The knowledge base is just not the same. Experience is great though...so why not use it toward a nursing degree if you would like to get paid more?

4:19 PM
Anonymous said...
I'm an LPN who has almost achieved my BSN in nursing. My only complaint about medical assistants as the ones I have worked with call themselves Nurses. A medical assistant is a medical assistant and a nurse is a nurse.

10:48 PM
Anonymous said...
I am pretty offended by the one woman's comment. I just graduated and got my associates degree in medical assisting and one of my teachers is actually an LPN and one an RN. I was told medical assistants are ranked higher because we know the LPN part along with the back office and secretarial part. To me that sounds right but I don't know that is a fact. If we know more than LPN's I feel we should make more money than LPNs. Just sounds fair, right?

12:24 PM
Anonymous said...
All my life I've wanted to help people in some way. I realized that being a medical assistant is the answer. I being a patient, CMAs have treated me with compassion and patience. I only worked about four years in a hospital as what they called a Support Partner and then A Technical Partner and cared for patients the same way, with compassion and good treatment. It was rewarding and therefore motivated me to want to become CMA. In my opinion patient care is more important. If you have the compassion to become a CMA, that is a concern and not competing of who gets paid more. Suggestion: From experience, before you get into this career, make sure you know what you really want to make YOU happy so others (like patients could be happy too!)

2:02 PM
Anonymous said...
I am interested in taking online courses for CNA and then possibly CMA and have a question - How do you determine if the online school is 100% accredited? Another blogger mentioned that they were doing the e-learning thing and the online school was accredited. Would you mind responding with the name of the online school/program you are enrolled in. I don't want to be scammed and hear there are lots of diploma mills out there.

2:25 AM
Anonymous said...
I was a medical assistant...and we had been trained in skills...and back office/front office management. I had a pathetic salary. I went to LPN school...I also have prerequisites towards RN.
I've done both.
LPN's know more...we might not "do" more but to say you know more is not true.
Whats Gullian barrie?
Whats Cardiac Tamponade?
What are the main S/S of Hodgkins disease?
How do you take care of a patient with a V/P shunt?
How do you asses that V/P shunt?
What are the S/S that you would look for in the patient with the V/P shunt?
How do you suction a trach?
How do you change the trach?
On and On and on.....
None and more of none I learned while I was a medical assistant. NONE. B/P and V/S you can have all of that that's why we deligate it. Your not nurses.
You have to earn that...like everyone else has.

11:52 AM
Anonymous said...
When medical assistants and nurses are doing the same job, there should be equal pay. As with any disease or procedure, medical assistants are taught what they don't know...can be learned. People with diseases usually show up first in an ambulatory setting before going to a hospital, so having a patient with a rare disease is not unheard of and quite often discovered by assessment and/or lab work performed by an assistant.
Pharmacology is studied in depth by medical assistants and the same rule aplies to them as nurses...never give a drug that you aren't familiar with. Injections are an everyday part of a medical assistants job in most US states, some states even allow the placement of IV lines with proper certification (as with nurses).
While most individuals with tracheotomies are in the hospital, some have them permanently and occasionally need a bit of help in an out-patient setting. If so, it is not beyond a medical assistant's ability to suction it if equipment is available. It is not beyond a medical assistant that is properly trained to perform catheterizations, provide assistance with colostomies, debriding wounds, and other such procedures.
Some procedures need to be done in a hospital, because of the equipment and specialists available...that is why we have them.
Your education and expertise only equals the time and effort you put into it.
Having worked as both a CNA and a CMA. I must say I prefer the profession of medical assisting. I can do what nurses do....but not have to deal day in and day out with the personal care of the incontinent.
While nurses have trained to take care of patient's toileting needs, it seems they regulate that to the CNAs.(Because of this, I feel CNAs should be the highest paid employee that a hospital/nursing home has.)
Facilities and Licensed staff have long abused the caring, hard working nursing assistant. Giving them the tasks they no one else wants or will do.

And if anyone is reading this that gives a damn...20 patients per CNA a shift is tooooooo many!

6:51 PM
Anonymous said...
I think it is very sad to read all the hostility between a Medical Assistant and an RN. I am a Medical Ass. and I work with several RN's and they are great. We appreciate the work that we all do. I do a lot of things that a RN might not have time to do and I am very appreciated. Also I must say that I am a very educated MA thanks to the wonderful RN's and Docs that answer all my questions. I don't think that this is something people should get upset about, we should all be working for the same purpose...taking care of people. And for 11:52 AM, I do a lot more that vital signs and I have seen the RN's take several VS as well.

4:41 PM
yosefa said...
The way that I see it is this...The LPN's are trained more for hospital settings. The MA is trained more for the Dr.'s office. I do not think that a LPN is more educated than a CMA. I just completed my A.S. Medical Assisting degree, and I wouldn't dare waste any of my time to become an LPN after that. I am now going on to be a RN. Why pay all that money to be a MA, and then go on to be an LPN? Just doesn't make sense. And the employer in the Dr.'s office is going to want the MA over the LPN. Well we are capable of running both front and back. They don't just need a clinical body. I am not knocking LPN's either. I am sick of LPN's thinking that they are better than MA's, when I have yet to see that.

8:02 PM
Anonymous said...
I'm a Certified and Registered Medical Assistant. All of my experience as an MA has been in the acute-care hospital setting. There has been a trend in hiring MAs in the hospitals. When you work in an acute care setting versus an ambulatory setting such as a Doctor's office, you make more. Most Hospital-based MAs in the area that I work in make about $23 an hour. There seems to be a lot of MA versus LPN and LPN vs MA on this website regarding scope of practice and wage dispute. It's true that there is similar training and educational background in the pathways between MAs and LPNs, but where MAs get the administrative side of health care, the LPNs get into the more acute care assessment side of patient care. The LPNs are trained more in the direct patient care and can function under their own license. We as MAs (whether we are CERTIFIED and/or REGISTERED or choose not to be) must work under the supervision of an MD or RN. The role of the MA and LPN in the traditional doctor's office and clinic may be very similar, but the LPNs can also listen to hearts and lungs and make patient care assessment. We as MAs cannot. But we as MAs do have the advantage of having both our clinical and administrative training and are a very valuable team member. And in many situations, we are a patient care advocate and are often the first person that the patient may request (whether it's the doctor's office or the acute care setting) when they have a question. I also have seen a great phasing out of the LPNs in both of the settings. MAs are being utilized more over the CNAs and the LPNs in our hospitals, as well as often being the working majority in the outpatient clinics and doctor's offices. Whatever the future holds for them and us, we will always have jobs and be valuable. There should be no us or them. We are supposed to be team players. Yes; LPNs do often get paid more-but it's not that much more that an MA wage. They deserve it based on their education and amount of clinical hours that they put in. Does it make them more valuable? That depends on what type of working setting they are employed in and what is expected of them and the MAs that they work with. The unfortunate thing is that no matter how many credentials we MAs choose to test for and earn, it still doesn't always increase our wage. I also have various healthcare assistant licenses (for my MA scope of practice to perform venipunctures and injections) but that still doesn't increase my wage, either. But I do make a good wage as a hospital-based Medical Assistant. And I believe that my experience coupled w/all of my credentials is what got me into the acute care setting. So; opting to be Certified and credentialed for various specialties (like phlebotomy, EKG, administrative and clinical medical assistant, etc...) does open up doors. Good luck to all the Medical Assistants out there. You all obviously are very passionate about patient care and proud of your role and title. You deserve to be.

12:56 PM
Soon2bRN said...
I am an LPN who also graduated college from a medical assisting program and became a CMA. Unfortunately, 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, it is 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 Asst. is not trained to recognize, we must know what these changes may indicate, and there is so much more that we do that a Med. Asst. is nowhere near trained to do. 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 Med. Asst. 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;Med Asst. are not learned 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. Sorry, but it's true.

Just a Note: Med. Asst. are needed in this industry, but 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 Med. Asst. schools would like you to believe so you can enroll into the Med Asst. 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. 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. And lastly, it is ILLEGAL for Med. Assistants to call themselves nurses. Patients have a right to know the accurate credentials of their healthcare providers.
Hope this was helpful.

6:06 AM
Anonymous said...
Oh who really cares? I mean LPN, MA, seriously, same thing. LPN's ride on their own licenses, where as MA's are working under the Dr.'s and any other Licensed personnel, licenses. It's OK! LPN's AND MA's both can get jobs. I hate so see people looking down on someone elses job. LPN's are NO better than an MA. I am a MA. I just got hired with a huge company. We had orientation. Well yesterday was actually the 3rd day of orientation and we had to take a med test. It was for RNs, LPNS, and MA. The room was filled with MA's and just 1 LPN. THis LPN was just too over herself. Well she got a 81 on the Med test. That didn't say much to me, atleast nothing positive. Don't put yourselves on petalstools just to put someone beneath you. Thanks:)

11:52 AM
BAM M.D. said...
I find it so comical that the RN's and CMA's are bickering like babies! I thought I would put my 2 cents worth in. A comment was made about MA's not knowing how to determine signs and symptoms of diseases? False, they are trained in that as well as all other things the LPN does. An LPN is just a practical nurse which does no more than an MA, they are just licensed and the MD is not responsible for the LPN goof ups. Believe me, at my facility which deals in urgent/critical care, my CNA's are as important as what few LPN's we have. Personally, the CMA's are in more demand than the LPN because of their broad range of spectrum when it comes to all aspects of the healthcare field. So LPN's, chew on that a while, you only get paid a dollar or two more an hour and that is for the "License" part of your title.

8:41 AM
Anonymous said...
LPN is a stupid career to go for these days! Employers don't hire LPN's anymore. They don't hire them because Medical Assistants do the same work and more than an LPN and they can pay them less money to do it!

36 comments:

Jennifer said...

We are in such high demand in california as well for medical assistants, nurses, etc. I believe the government needs to take a more active role in supporting students through the training and providing the opportunity for students to pursue degrees in health care.

Anonymous said...

DEAR MRS.MA IN NY,DON'T GET TO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR $25/HR. I HAVE BEEN A LPN FOR 5YRS,I CURRENTLY MAKE $32/HR AS A VENT/CHARGE NURSE. I LIVE IN ROCKLAND COUNTY ,NY. I KNOW LPN'S HERE WHO MAKE $27/HR PER DIEM. LPN'S WILL ALWAYS FIND WORK,MOSTLY IN NURSING HOMES OR CLINICS.I WOULD BE CRAZY TO SAY ALL LPN'S SHOULD GET RN PAY. YOU GET PAID DEPENDING ON YOUR LEVEL OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE. FIND ME A MA THAT MAKES MORE THAN ME THEN WE CAN TALK.MA'S LPN'S AND RN'S ALL HAVE A PLACE IN THE MEDICAL WORLD.

Pam said...

OK Ladies pout your claws back in. I am an LPN,and I recently went back to school to become a Medical Administration Assistant.I will graduate in Aug with an Associates degree. I stepped away form the LPN, position because of my health I had to have a knee replacement,and my doctor told me that I Needed to find a office job and stop beating up my body. I decided to go with this degree as it encompasses many potential job possibilities. I want to be a RHIT (registered health information technologist)that requires a BA, therefore, I am continuing on. Anyway, I have been a NURSE for 13 years and walked away from 28.00 an hour to do this. It is not the amount of pay but,the amount of dedication and the satisfaction of helping others not who, does more or who makes more. I have had a few places that do not want my MAA degree they look at the LPN and 13 years experience and want me to be a nurse well I am done with that I have to be for my own health. I tell them the are getting a bargain, a nurse for the cost of a MA. I have all of the knowledge of both fields wrapped into on. Nobody is better than anybody work together for the common good of your patients that is why you entered health care to begin with right? And by the way as an LPN you have a licenses yes, but you are working under the supervision of a RN or a MD they are ultimately responsible for your actions as well. The nursing profession is the only profession that eats there young, it is time to stop all of the hating and get along.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I have a question. I'm a MA student,and I wanted to know, should I take the diploma route or do I need the associate degree. Any advice?

Anonymous said...

The reason why MA get paid less than lpn is because the level of training and knowledge period. I was A medical assisstant and after working in the MA field I was like what am I doing I went back to school and just finished lpn just got my license and passed my state boards you cannot compare both you go through first year RN yraining and it is ultimately your responsiblity to litterly not make a mistake in MG's and Meq's and not kill someone i meann these are things MA dont have to worry about cause administration of medication is not in their job description period. I don't understand how can anyone compare the two they are two totaly different responsibilities. a MA I drew as blood that was the extent of it i akso took vital As lpn wew have to take pharmacology and learn diseases pathophysiology signs and symptoms prioritizing and technically do more complex things required in a hospital setting like trach care, etc.that is why lpns get paid more and yes we are supervised by rn's and physicians but we work undeer our own license and what we do wrong is our soley our responsibilty. If you are MA go to nursing school get your lpn first and then get your RN like I am doing. you'll see the difference!

Anonymous said...

Okay this is to the person posting the below rant!

LPN's know more...we might not "do" more but to say you know more is not true.
Whats Gullian barrie?
Whats Cardiac Tamponade?
What are the main S/S of Hodgkins disease?
How do you take care of a patient with a V/P shunt?
How do you asses that V/P shunt?
What are the S/S that you would look for in the patient with the V/P shunt?
How do you suction a trach?
How do you change the trach?
On and On and on.....
None and more of none I learned while I was a medical assistant. NONE. B/P and V/S you can have all of that that's why we deligate it. Your not nurses.
You have to earn that...like everyone else has.
--------------------------
Okay, to the person posting the above. First, you have spelled half of your medical terms wrong! Second, your English, grammar, spelling is offensive to say the least! I hope to God that you do not treat your patients, the same way you speak... poorly. I can answer all of your questions and I am "only" a medical transcriptionist and nursing assistant ;) did you happen to take an English class while getting your degree?

Get off your horse, please!

jc said...

MA's,LPN'S AND RN'S are all here to help people.Yes, if you have a higher degree you should be paid more but years of experience should be taken in to account. A CMA with 30 years of experience does know more than a RN/LPN who just graduated working in a doctors office. MA's are trained to work in all aspects of an office and LPN's and RN's are not. We are all working under the doctors orders and the doctors are in charge of the patients care.

Anonymous said...

Is this not an Medical Assistant blog, so tell me why would a nurse of any sort have a comment on this site? Honestly there is no need to have a discussion with them because all nurse are the same so I've find, to them everything is about nursing and nursing only. They have no concern about any other allied health profession except themselves and even more so they cannot be trusted. Anyone that has ever worked with them will tell you they are not your friend. As an MA we do complete our training earning an associates in allied health but the goal is to continue because everything is in our favor is a plus, comming from an accredited college with an associates in allied will allow you to obtain a bachelors of science in HCL Healthcare Leadership as well as HCM Healthcare Management like a great many of us.
And from your Bachelors even further, MA's stay true to yourself, and stay confident because anyone knows that in an outpatient setting in which we are trained for that we are worth our weight in gold also that what we were trained for front office, back office and lab procedures. And to take it even further as an MA don't show anyone your skill that you have been train for least of all those guys because they will learn all that they can from you and stab you while smiling in your face even as an MA and manager managing three facilities I have watch them time and time again on the clock doing nothing and misusing every other member of the allied health team. One day the wool will be lifted and they will be exposed for what the whole organization really is, they talk about is being a shortage maybe just maybe if they got up and did some work it would not be such a shortage. There is so much to write about those guy there is not even enough space. MA's continue your education and do know that there is so much more to you a true outpatient profession.

PS: Keep the skills you've been trained to do to yourself, because if anyone needs to know to do something let them go back to school, you certainly did right?

Anonymous said...

my wife is both a LPN and CMA. It took her 1 year of school to become a LPN and 3 hours to become a CMA. She has stated that the CMA does not go as deep as a LPN in anything medical other then office work which the LPN gets NO training in. LPN = license, CMA = certificate. On the other hand she has said so many nurses will sit around and deligate work to the CMA and CNAs and don't get out there and care about their patients.

Anonymous said...

I am a LPN working in a peds office. I at first did not see why they would have a LPN but I see that the CMA's are good at what I would say duties, I think this too depends on personality of course. I appreciate that the nurse is trained more in treating the patient and families and care plans where as the CMA is get in and get out with VS, and shots and see ya next time.
I also have a very hard time excepting when a CMA calls herself a nurse! Yes, a part of the staff but it is against the law to falsify yourself as a licenced professional.
I think it is also a discrace for a doctors office to call CMA's "nurses" to their clients.
Be proud that you are a CMA for I am sure each one of you have worked very hard just as the nurses have worked very hard to get their licence.

Danni R. said...

A Medical Assisting Instructor at Rasmussen Colleges posted on the Web that many questions about the nature of the medical assistant career are fielded his/her way. Some questions are like: “What exactly is a Certified Medical Assistant?”…or, “How does this career path differ from a Licensed Practical Nurse?” To answer he/she created a chart that highlights the similarities and differences in job duties between Certified Medical Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses. You find it here: http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/health-sciences/blog/certified-medical-assistant/

Jenn said...

I recently enrolled in a school so I can study to become a CMA. I made this choice because I wanted a good starting point to break me into the medical field,because I have so many varied interests its hard for me to pick just one field in medicine.I chose CMA because I believed it would open up more doors for me than nursing,because my course offers additional certification in phlebotomy and EKG,along with the CMA title.I do have concerns though.I have several general education credits from a previous college I attended,that I could easily apply to a Medical Assisting Associate degree at my school.I decided to enroll in the diploma program instead because I want to get working as quickly as possible.Would it be better to obtain the Associates in Medical Assisting first,or just go ahead with the diploma first and come back to finish for the associates later on?Is there a drastic difference in pay and amount of respect recieved/being in demand,for a medical assistant that holds a diploma or a degree?Any advice anyone can offer would help.I am very happy to be studying this field,and I feel like I will make a great difference once I get out there and start working.Thanks!!!
P.S I live in Florida if that helps.We tend to make lower wages in all areas,medical or non-medical.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading this blog for a few months now and all this backbiting between MA's and LPN's is crazy. Both are needed in the medical field. Hopefully both love their jobs and helping people. As an older worker it's not always about the pay but about the fillfulment that you get. Everyone on this forum choose MA or LPN for their own personal reasons and neither should look down on the other. I am a MA and don't mind learning and sharing my knowledge with other MA's or LPN's. Everyone step back and take pride in your career whether you are an MA or LPN.

Anonymous said...

I just came across this site and agree w/ early post that states all this arguing is absurd..I I am a CMA by the way...I have worked with a LPN for the last 9mnths in a Nephrologists office and that is me Partner in Crime! She is the office mngr and I handle all patient care as well as clerical aspects...and guess what...I mk more...and the patients tend to come to me before her as well as support staff...each proffesional is critical to pt care... I have encountered RN/LPN's who think they are better..but my Doc/LPN quickly correct them! I graduated Magna cumlaude from my program and am very proud of my credientials I have been encouraged to continue on to LPN...and I may..but I am proud of the job I do for my pt now as well!!

Anonymous said...

I am about to graduate from a Clinical Medical Assistant program in Alabama, and from my research and training the only difference between CCMA and LPN in AL, besides License, is that an LPN can admin. a cath. Other than that, we do the exact same job. My school, and many in the area, are phasing out their LPN programs all-together in favor of the CMA or RN programs. There is a lot of confusion, and scope of practice varies by state, but I think the reason we got into this line of work was to help people, and who is better, or does more, is really irrelevent.

youallareidiots said...

First of all and LPN does a hell of alot more then a CMA does. Even coming out of school you make 22 per hour where I live. And all you CMA's on here chalk it up and get over it. Because your not gonna make more then us. You cannot do all of the things we do. You cannot even work in some of the types of places we work. You cannot pass medication. Hell!!! You wanna know whats really funny for me is I did CNA for 8 years before LPN and I even made more working as a CNA in my state then you morons do. Oh you learn the office side. who give a crap!!! who the hell wants to sit behind a desk anyways. you dont really work in hospitals. THERE is no NEED FOR YOU CMAS at all in LTC. Sooooo!! how do you feel like you should make more money then us. Oh and by the way. Most of the time in a hospital I only see you all drawing blood in Pre-Op lab work. SO get over yourselves. Your job is useless just like you all are. CNA's are in more demand then you are. And they make more too. So for ALL you CMA's on here the only reason you wanted to go to school to be one was because your lazy. And do not wanna do any real work. just sit on your bums in an office and get fat. And yet its funny non of the credits from your worthless MA degree transfer to RN programs. hahahahahahahahahaha!!! so who is laughing now.

Anonymous said...

Wow!Get over yourself...I'm a RMA making over $22/hr in a medical office..I say the LPN's and RN's in Dr's office are mostly lazy, they do not want to work in the hospitals for they "DO" have to work there and work weekends,nights, and holidays. The Ma's do alot more than they do, sorry to say ! Why go to nursing school to work in a doctors office. You get paid for what you are worth!!!

cmarmabsn said...

This comment goes to "youallareidiots" two comments above:
Sounds like you have something against ONE MA and taking it out on all... You are SO ignorant! Did you read your comment and how many Grammatical errors you have on there?! I was an MA a long time ago have an associates in allied health science and IN a BSN program now... ALL credits from an accredited MA school DOES transfer to nursing, YOU are the moron and ought to be ashamed of yourself coming on here an blowing up like that just because you are miserable! And here in NYC they love them some CMAs, RMAs, Nurses just as much as the very few lpns so please... Go back to school and get a REAL education, starting with manners and a little anger management perhaps! You are SO ignorant and lame.

cmarmabsn said...

This comment goes to "youallareidiots" two comments above:
Sounds like you have something against ONE MA and taking it out on all... You are SO ignorant! Did you read your comment and how many Grammatical errors you have on there?! I was an MA a long time ago have an associates in allied health science and IN a BSN program now... ALL credits from an accredited MA school DOES transfer to nursing, YOU are the moron and ought to be ashamed of yourself coming on here an blowing up like that just because you are miserable! And here in NYC they love them some CMAs, RMAs, Nurses just as much as the very few lpns so please... Go back to school and get a REAL education, starting with manners and a little anger management perhaps! You are SO ignorant and lame.
Our job in general as a whole is to help and be compassionate above all and work together as a unit... We are ALL CAREGIVERS! You are just a sad sad case!

Anonymous said...

CMAs are not nurses. They are not LPNs or RNs. CMAs cannot work independently. You dont have a license. You cant pass meds. As an LPN I do a full med pass (IM/SQ injections, PO meds, inhalers, etc...) treatments (wound tx, creams, etc). Neuro assessments, skin assessments, pain assessments, behavioral assessments...put phys orders in, change orders, order UAs based on MY assessments (MD can sign later). Deal with trachs, feeding tubes, ostomys, pressure ulcers, diabetics, PICC lines, post-op pts. you name it. And all of this is with a doctor not present. More responsibility = more pay and more respect and more knowledge. As far as vitals? Shit my STNAs do those. Do people really think getting vitals is a skill??? And when Im working with crappy STNAs I also will wash and toilet my patients (all 26 of them). I bust my ass. And I dont count it done unless I see a STNA do it or I do it myself. Im sick of CMAs who walk a pt to a room, get a set of vitals, ask some questions and leave-acting like they have any idea what LPNs do. You dont even pass meds. Seriously. Know your role. LOL.

Just A Medical Assistant said...

Let's not belittle medical assistants and marginalize their role! Medical assistants are ESSENTIAL to the modern single-doctor or group medical practice within ANY medical specialty. They build strong, long lasting relationships with the doctor and patients. At the end of the day, they return home knowing they have made a difference in many people's lives in their communtiy. If a mother has a sick child the administrative medical assistant will fit them into the doctor's schedule to be seen, if blood, or any other specimens need to be collected, such as a throat or wound swab for a bacterial culture, the clinical medical assistant will take care of that. If the doctor prescribes crutches, a walker, or cane, then it will be the medical assistant's responsibility to make sure the patient returns home knowing how to safely use these devices. The medical assistant's role is to make sure that adequate care and attention is given to each an every patient who arrives and leaves from their doctor's appointment, and of course, appropriately handle any unforeseen situations, including medical emergencies, promptly notifying the doctor of any such critical events.

Aside from "just" taking vital signs and escorting a patient to the examination room medical assistants know how to use the latest Electronic Medical Records databases and software, explain treatment procedures, prepare, position and drape patients for examinations (yes, they do know what Trendelenburg is, distal and lateral, etc.), give injections, pulmonary function test, EKG, Holter monitor, splints, bandages and assist the physician when asked during the exam, or a procedure.

They also respond to patient's concerns in a courteous and professional manner, route their messages to the intended person, and respond back with an answer if so requested, help patients obtain their prescriptions, show them how to correctly take medications, draw blood, monitor patients and make them feel comfortable during the entire visit.

Furthermore, the medical assistant keeps the doctor on schedule in a succinct manner, patients informed and comfortable, waiting and examination rooms clean, reception area and clinical floors on track and the office workflow running smoothly. And no matter how busy the office gets, from time to time they have to show new medical assistant hirees and medical assistant students on externship the ropes so they can learn the necessary routines. All in all, a medical assistant is an important contributor to the doctor's medical practice and business.

More at http://www.medicalassistant.net/what_is_medical_assistant.htm

Anonymous said...

Ok. With all that has been said above, I am a CMA. My question is, why is it that MA's are not appreciated in medical offices? The office I work for got rid of the RN's and gave the duties to the MA's but we get paid the same if not comparable wages to the front desk staff....I understand the difference between an RN, LPN, and an MA but why are MA's making the same as a receptionist when receptionists do not require ANY post secondary education? MA's be aware of this because we had to pay to further our education but we are not being paid for our registration/certification......it seems any other schooling requires more pay but our schooling is being used to benefit different companies by paying us less while we are doing the jobs of RN's. Why are receptionists with no credentials at all being paid competitive wages of an MA.

Anonymous said...

I have worked as a medical assistant for 4 years, and our jobs are very important. Here in Illinois Lpn's go to school for 9 months, where I went to school for 15 months, and got my associate degree! I work in a doctors office, and lpn's make more than Ma's but they should not. I do the same if not more than the lpn's I work with. I see a lot of "passing the buck", which means they want Ma's to basically be roomers of patients, while they sit on their buts and bark orders. So any one going into the Ma field, I would say just be concious of the demand of Ma's where you live, and research the salary in your area.

Anonymous said...

I am an lpn in Mississippi and ma work as cnas. Our jobs are totally different. I Don't agree with ma thinking that they should get paid more! You can't give meds, you don't have license you have a certificate just like cnas! Point blank you are not licensed! Doesn't matter how long you go to school, you will not make more money than a license practical nurse!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Haha I am shocked at people comparing medical assistants to nurses...both have important roles..However training is different when dealing with the two,if there wasnt a difference then there would not be nurses AND medical assistants..yes I understand Med Asst may do some of the same stuff as nurses depending on where they work at,but they are not TRAINED the same. Simple question is WHY DO NURSES HAVE MORE SAY SO? Because they were educated more in depth...DUH...I am close to achieving my nursing degree and have studied with my bff who is in the MA program and let me just say BIGGGG difference...bottom line though is deal with the fact that everyone has an important role in the medical world but also deal with the fact that your not the medical world :)

Anonymous said...

I am a Medical assistant and VERY MUCH AGREE that we are WAYYYY UNDERPAID. I went to school full time for two years to get my degree and worked my butt off. I learned a lot in school including having clinical practice and externships but most of my experience and training was on the job. I've been in this field for nearly 4 years, have had two jobs in 2 different multi practice offices , and still am only making $10.75 per hour. I am still at my second job but thinking about looking elsewhere because there is NO way I can survive with this amount. Medical assisting is NOT JUST TAKING VITALS AND PUTTING PATIENTS IN EXAM ROOMS. I do A LOT of work including helping with prescriptions, prior authorizations, answering the phone IN BETWEEN RUNNING FROM ROOM TO ROOM, Calling patients back with their test results, giving instructions for pt/inr, EKG, PFT, Xray, ABI/TBI, Dexa bone density scanning, PVR bladdar scanning, Sutures, Assisting with surgeries, giving quizzes, teaching patients/lecture on disease management,of course laboratory testing, phlebotomy, injections, ppd, MANY TIMES OF WHICH I WORK OVERTIME and make calls to patients AND DO NOT GET PAID FOR IT being overtime BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT PATIENTS! i could go on and on and on. anyways the point I'm getting to is I WOULD NEVER CALL MYSELF A NURSE. YES WE DO A LOT OF WORK BUT IT IS NOT THE SAME WORK AND THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOSPITALS AND OFFICES! Thjat being said I still think we should be paid more for what we do. We are IN FACT the BACKBONE of medical offices. We make it work.

A Proud CMA said...

To: the Anonymous that posted at 2:25 AM -- I'm a CMA, and you're right, I don't know what "guillian barrie" is. I know what Guillain Barre Syndrome is, however, and what causes it and how to treat it.

Oh, and while on the topic of misspellings, it's "assess" not "asses", "delegate" not "deligate" and "you're" not "your", in the context I assume you had been aiming for. Before you go bragging about your superior LPN intellect, I'd go back and take some elementary spelling, hon.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I am an LPN. I never went to school for medical assistant, but I am looking to work in a clinic. Most clinics where I am looking at are wanting to hire CMA's. I called around to some places, and asked if they would hire an LPN, and said they would look at it. Today though, I applied for a CMA job and got turned down because they are searching for CMA's and not LPN's. I guess my question is would it be foolish of me to go back to school for medical assisting since I already am an LPN? I just don't know what to do?

Anonymous said...

I was a career counselor at a for profit school and I can tell you that we get extra money when we get students to do the MA program because they soon realize that they can't get a decent paying job, then they come back to the school for their LPN and we get even more commission money. We were also told to let the students know that MA was a good start and they could transition into LPN after being an MA. It worked every time.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? I have never read a post with such negativity, what happen to having a respectable opinion, and all of this is coming from a "Nurse" I wouldn't want you to lay a finger on one of my loved one's.


This back and forwards between LPN'S and MA's is ridiculous! Both jobs are important, we are all in this field because we love to serve.

Please stop with the unnecessary hits and blows, because your only making a fool of yourself..

RMA to LPN said...

Wow...this post is too funny!!Unfortunely though some of the comments and attitudes regarding both roles are very true. For me I have been on ALL three sides of the track..I did medical assisting, cna, and LPN (in that order). I was a RMA for 7 years at a doctors office and I was truly my doctors right hand person. I kept him on schedule, Assisted with minor procedures, EKG's, phlebotomy, heck I even trained the LPN's that I worked with how to do phlebotomy!! With that being said yes I initially had the attitude that CMA's and LPN's are the same if not better...UNTIL i decided to go back to school for RN. The RN waiting list was so long that I did the LPN program instead thinking hey this will be a breeze because I do the same thing they do anyway!!! OMG was I mistaken. I'm sorry but are roles are very different. While side by side in a clinic setting the roles seem the same you cannot possibly put a CMA in a LTC or hospital setting with the scope of practice that they are taught. Because of the critical thinking, assessment, on top of practical duties assigned to the LPN I honestly believe that we should not work in a clinic setting because you can lose all of the skills you were taught because they are not utilized like that on a daily basis in the clinic setting. Like another poster said we are ALL important to the lives of are patient's no matter what the setting. I was proud to work in each of my roles I obtained throughout the course of my life and encourage anyone to further their education if the opportunity presents itself. Furthermore,its easier for someone to comment about something they have never experienced...so to the MA's on here if you go back to school for nursing you will to look back and say OMG as I did...lbvs and to the LPN's who didn't transition from CMA or CNA but work with CMA's get it together and try to get along because if you stop and put the titles aside for a sec you can both learn something from EACH OTHER!!!!

Kim Rockford, IL said...

Kim in Rockford, Il. I have been looking for a Medical Assistant Posistion for over 2yrs. I've had 32 interviews. Yes I know how to dress and represent and market myself. I have an excellent resume, cover letter and references. My College has failed to help me get placed, and I've applied for other various medical positions. I've just failed to be hired as a transporter 2 different times.They love me, tell me I interviewed well and they are very disapointed that they have to go with an inside canidate. I give up. I don't think I'm ever going to be hired.I'm so depressed. I need a job. Now I have to resort to what ever- go back to the jobs I applied to before I went to school like temp agencys. I'd be homeless if it wasn't for my mom and my brother how demeaning at this time in my life when I seriously thought I was going to better myself and make a more money.

Anonymous said...

I think medical assistants should get licensed. That may just put an end to all the bickering, hold MAs more responsible and earn them the credit they deserve. There is a lot more to being an MA than taking vital signs (you don't need two years of school to learn that). The curriculum of reputable schools includes pharmacology, terminology, anatomy/physiology, microbiology and many more courses, all of which are very intense. They learn principles of patient assessment, disease process, signs and symptoms and what interventions/procedures to anticipate. MAs are not just other people's assistants. They often work independently and must constantly problem and apply critical thinking. It is about time that the profession gains recognition and credentials. I imagine the reason behind the lack of licensing opportunities for MAs is of political nature - nurses would certainly not like it but I'll bet that many employers would support it and actually pay a dollar or two more for a licensed MA. By the way, I worked for 8 years in a doctors office where the LPNs, RNs and MAs all had the same job description and made similar wages. No one was above anyone. Raises were based on performance. There was no animosity. Nurses also fell under respondeat superior and their own licenses were not much of a factor. That is the way it should be.

Anonymous said...

Here's some advice. If you plan on becoming an RN DO NOT get your MA. There are no transitioning courses from MA-RN so I would just go straight to CNA/NA then work your way up. An MA would still have to take CNA/NA classes. The only difference I can think of between an LPN and an MA is where you work. It depends on your place of employment or they type of practice it is. If you work in a hospital more than likely an LPN would get a job over an MA. If you work at a clinic an MA would more than likely get hired over an LPN. In clinical settings LPN's and MA's do the same exact thing. The only upper hand that LPN's have is that they can give certain injections that MA's cannot, even so they would still need to be overseen by an RN. SOO with that said, like I said before DO NOT do MA if your long term goal is to be an RN. And if everyone were true care givers they would not have such horrible ego's. Just to clarify LPN's are not any better than MA's and MA's are not any better than LPN's, tho LPN's have the title of "nurse," an MA is still the same. NO one is better than the next. My solution is to go to a 2 year college get your RN and then if you want to get a bachelors it's WAY easier to get one if you already have your RN. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Well I have a BA in Business An AA in Liberal studies and I am currently an LPN of 10 years now. I've worked in the hospital, nursing home, doctors office and private duty. And while all you are bickering about who has the bigger degree and more advanced I'm looking to work as a medical assistant. You know why?? Because I'm sick of all the hard work and bullshit we LPN's have to do!! And for those making the comments like well we MA's do exactly what an LPN does but less money well you are dumbasses then...TRUST ME you don't do what LPN's do..AT ALL. Yes in a doctors office you do more because of the clerical/secretary work, but that is it...AND I'm not degrading the MA like I said I'm now looking to work less hard, better hours and yes I may take a cut in pay but for me its worth it. I'm ALL SET with being SUPER NURSE!!! You can all be that for me....

Terence @ Medical Assistant Certification Online said...

It is important that we get ourselves properly certified before we apply for any medical assisting position. That will give us a higher success rate of getting the position that we are applying for.