If you are wondering whether there is a difference between medical assistants and nurses, we would like to emphasize that even though they work in health care facilities with patients and physicians, their duties are different as well as education.
Reasons for choosing to become a medical assistant or nurse nowadays are numerous as you can finish your education in a short period of time and easily find employment due to the constant demand for medical staff.
It is estimated that the healthcare industry is going to experience even greater growth which will affect many health-related careers.
The employment outlook is excellent for both MAs and nurses, now it is up to you to choose which career field to enter.
Our aim with this article is to answer the question: “What is the difference between a medical assistant and a nurse?” for those who are researching medical assistant and licensed nurse requirements and are not sure which one to choose.
You should have in mind the fact that if you become a medical assistant you can continue pursuing your further education towards becoming a registered nurse.
How Do I Become a Medical Assistant or a Nurse?
The first thing that can help you differentiate between a medical assistant and a nurse is certification.
You can compare Medical Assistant and Registered Nurse education requirements.
The only way to become a certified medical assistant (CMA) is to complete an approved program that usually lasts from 12 months for diploma or certificate programs, to two years for an Associate’s degree.
The completion of CMA education requirements makes you eligible to sit and pass the exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants.
On the other hand, to become a registered nurse, you must complete an accredited program that leads to a bachelor’s degree.
It will require more time to be spent in school, about four years.
Also, you must pass the licensure exam through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Another option for future registered nurses is to take a licensed practical nurse (LPN) program.
You can enroll in any of the several types of schools that offer medical assistant and nursing programs.
What Do Medical Assistants Do?
In case you are wondering whether medical assistants perform the same duties as nurses, we have to say that they do not.
We will compare the two professions based on the job duties they are in charge of.
First, when skills are in question, medical assistants have to and are able to perform both administrative and clinical functions.
You can see an MA who is scheduling a patient visit, and the next moment, the same person is taking patient vitals.
Medical assistants can perform the clinical part of the job only under the direction of a doctor, nurse, or physician’s assistant.
This means that they can only work under the direction of professionals.
Their responsibilities are to prepare patients, communicate with them, answer their questions and doubts, and explain the procedure.
When it comes to nurses’ responsibilities, they have much work related to patient care.
They are focused on patients and their requirements, while administrative tasks are not the field they are supposed to work.
Of course, they are responsible for recordkeeping tasks which are closely related to their roles.
Another difference between these two professions is that nurses communicate with physicians with the aim to analyze and make the right decisions related to patients’ condition, whereas a medical assistant will only follow orders made by physicians without analyzing patient health with him/her.
All in all, if the healthcare sector is something that interests you and you are eager to provide help to people in need, then any of these two professions can be your future vocation.
We suggest becoming a medical assistant, as the fastest way of entering the healthcare sector which allows you to further advance your knowledge and expertise and become a registered nurse.
However, enjoying working with people is not the only quality that medical workers should possess.
They have to be empathetic, caring, and patient with all kinds of patients.
If you see yourself working as a medical assistant, you should look for the best educational institution to reach this level, and then, you can easily find your path to a nursing career, if you wish.