A Medical Assistant works different hours, usually first shift, from 8-5 PM and rarely on weekends or holidays, which some feel are better hours for parents. Nurses work different shifts around the clock. Some pull doubles and they usually must work on weekends and holidays, at least some.
Medical assistants are utilized in different capacities in the administrative, laboratory, or clinical areas, depending on the office's specific needs. Very small family practices may have the expectation that the medical assistant covers all areas, front and back. They often specialize in pediatrics, general practice, gynecology, dermatology, rheumatology, podiatry, or ophthalmology, etc.! Check the jobs in your area to see who is hiring medical assistants and who is hiring LPN's and for which kind of areas. While it may not apply to all positions you may find that the expectations, duties and responsibilities are generally the same for both, medical assistants and LPNs when medical offices recruit their staff.
Other significant differences:
• scope of practice
Medical assistants are often preferred by doctors in private, or group practices, because they are more cost effective than RN's or LPN's; but then again, each discipline has its specific place and uses in different settings.