Calling Yourself a Nurse Is a Crime, No Less

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What can a licensed nurse do when a medical assistant calls herself a nurse?

It is not uncommon to visit a physician’s office and encounter medical assistants and other non-licensed staff members referring to themselves a nurse. In reality, many of these healthcare workers are not licensed nurses but instead are medical assistants. Identifying yourself as a nurse when you are not is wrong. In addition to the fact that misrepresentation of your profession is dishonest, there are many other reasons why medical assistants should not call themselves nurses. A medical assistant is not an office nurse and should never be referred to as such. If you are a nurse and you witness a medical assistant calling him or herself a nurse, here are some points that you should inform the medical assistant of:

1. It’s Confusing

A hierarchy exists in patient care so there is ladder that can be climbed when issues in a patient’s care arise. It can be difficult and confusing for the patient to try and understand who the nurse actually is if the medical assistants refer to each other as nurses. If a medical assistant allows a patient to think she is a nurse while discussing their medical issues the outcome of the conversation may lead a patient to make healthcare decisions he/she might not otherwise make. As a medical assistant you may give your opinion to a patient but it does not have the same level of education or credentials to go behind it that a nurse has. In addition, the nurse may be able to notice an underlying condition in the patient that a medical assistant might not know to look for. The nurse is also likely to be able to express the patient’s concerns more clearly to a physician because of additional training received in communications.

2. It’s Disrespectful

There is no doubt that going to school for any health related degree is difficult. However, becoming a nurse takes an extra level of commitment over being a medical assistant. Calling yourself a nurse when you are not is a slap in the face to nurses who have take the extra effort to pursue a degree in nursing.

3. It’s Illegal

You might not know it but impersonating a nurse is a crime. And even though a medical assistant may believe what they are doing is innocent, in reality it is a crime. What they are actually doing is misrepresenting themselves and leading people to believe that they have a greater level of education and qualification than they have. Just like a physician held legally responsible for practicing medicine without a license, medical assistants that call themselves nurses can be held legally responsible for practicing nursing without a license. Depending on the laws of your state it can either be considered misdemeanor or felony. Practicing nursing without a license is always a criminal act which is punishable by the sentencing rules of the appropriate statute. For example,California part of the nurse practice acts states that a person cannot let someone assume they are a nurse, much less call themselves one:

“In the interest of public safety and consumer awareness, it shall be unlawful for any person to use the title “nurse” by any individual except for an individual who is registered nurse or a licensed vocational nurse. This law does not prohibit certified nurses’ aides from using their specific title.”

Communicating with a medical assistant clearly and assertively that it is not okay that they call themselves a nurse is not only recommended, but required. Not doing so could put patients in danger. If the medical assistant continues to call him/herself a nurse after being told it is inappropriate you should alert your state board of nursing so they can be held legally accountable for claiming a license and title they do not have.

It is illegal in all states to claim a license you do not have. For more information about boards of nursing please visit National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

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Article Written by Brittney Wilson

Brittney Wilson, RN, BSN is a registered nurse and clinical informatics specialist.

136 Responses to “Calling Yourself a Nurse Is a Crime, No Less”
  1. Patricia says:

    Although this is great and important information there are a few comments that I have found to be offensive. I am a highly trained Certified Medical Assistant with 13 plus years experience and I also teach Medical Assisting. Medical Assistant training is tough and challenging, I am taking offense to the comment inregards to a Nurse taking an “extra level of commitment”. It takes alot more commitment that is noted, Our program can last for 2 years if we obtain our Associates Degree that leads into Healthcare Management. There are many aspects and avenues that a MA can take. The Disrespectful comment section needs to be removed and “this is a slap in our face” comment is highly unprofessional. I take my chosen career very serious. I am very dedicated and proud of my career, being that this is a informational website to chose to become a MA I would leave the unprofessionalism out.

    • Alice says:

      Sorry, but it really is “a slap in the face.” Its great that some MA’S go to school for longer than 9 months, but it actually does take an extra level of commitment to become a nurse. Do your students have to work their butts off to make it in the nursing program when only 25-30 people are accepted out of HUNDREDS of students? Do your students have to take the NCLEX ? Do your students have to even take gen eds such as Anatomy 1 and 2, Microbiology, Physiology, or Genetics? (each one takes an entire semester to complete)
      It is completely correct to say that becoming an RN take extra commitment than just becoming an MA regardless if you only went to school for 9 months or only went for two years.
      It is great that people choose to further their education and become an assistant, but it is a slap in the face for medical assistants or CNAs to tell anyone they are a nurse because it s MUCH more difficult anyway you look at it.

      • Casio says:

        There is nothing wrong with you upgrading your education. The Nurse can upgrade her education to better treat her patients but that doesn’t mean that RNs are the only nurses. There are many forms of Nursing Levels: from Aide to Registered and all of them are important and are supposed to work together for Patient Improvement.

        CNAs do work hard with their patients and are the ones doing most of the Traditional Nursing Care. They are the ones spending more one on one time with the Patient. They are doing the Direct Nursing. Hence the reason why a lot of them call themselves nurses.

        Some RNs think that because becoming a CNA requires less Academical Training that it is an easy responsibility. It is not. It’s very hard and is physically exhausting. CNAs do have a tough workload(specially in LTC) and it’s not an easy work. It is also a slap in the face to many CNAs to not call them nurses when they are doing the Traditional Nursing Care. They do this (and many other things) on their own and are not assisting anybody or receiving any assistance. Some RNs or LPNs would not even answer call lights or help them when they are busy.

        On the other hand we DO acknowledge that you as an RN have way more responsibility and that you study very hard to obtain your Degree. We appreciate your service and effort to give the best care to your Patient. RNs are very important. RNs rock!!!

        • MichelleRN says:

          Casio, that is a frustrating comment. Yes, CNAs work hard, but they are not nursing. They are doing a fraction of nursing work, but they are not nursing. They are not medicating patients, not assessing patients, not educating patients (and if they are, they are practicing outside their scope and that is a crime). CNAs and medical assistants are not nurses and should not misrepresent themselves as nurses.

          Should I call myself a Dr. because I think I know as much as a Dr., or because I spend more time with the patients than the dr.? Of course not. I am a BSN nurse, not a Dr., and I will never misrepresent myself.

          • Barbara says:

            Michelle, you are wrong. Medical assistants can assess and medicate patients. We can also educate the patient. What exactly do you think we learn in our 2 years of studying? These things are well within our scope of practice. When was the last time you reviewed the duties of a Certified Medical Assistant? Why would we learn how to administer injections, draw blood, take vitals, etc.? Tell me what you think our responsibilities are, please, because you make it sound as though we are capable of nothing. Please enlighten me on what you think a Certified Medical Assistant is.

          • Casio says:


            Being a nurse is not just about passing Medications. Nursing has many parts of work, it has become a very big field. But in the beginning of Nursing CNA work composed a big part, then as time went by and patients needs started to develop nurses needed to learn more and more tasks were added to the Nursing Field. And that’s all good ;)

            CNAs do the Traditional Nursing work that has been the backbone of nursing for centuries. That doesn’t mean that Nursing is reduced to CNA work, there is so many fields in Nursing. RNs play a vital role in Nursing, they are the Teachers of Nursing and I got nothing but respect for them. Most CNAs have nothing but respect for RNs.

            Concerning CNA scope: CNAs only do what they are told to do. Their scope is varied. In some places they can do more and in others less. I am not going around saying that I am an RN, I just say that I am a CNA and that I will be their caregiver for the day. I don’t care if I am called a nurse or not. I am just a CNA and I am proud of what I do. I have never jumped outside my scope and I never will and I know most CNAs won’t either.

            When I become an LPN my mind is going to be the same towards my Aides, they are my brothers and sisters and we are united. We CNAs love you, RNs and LPNs. One Love.

          • Emily says:

            Where in the MAs scope of practice does it say, ‘assess?’ Yes, they can give meds in states that prefer to have hospital factories that churn out patients for money, but in states that care about their residents’ well-being, it is illegal. This is changing in our state. Now a person will be able to pass meds after only 24 hours of instruction. As an entry level RN I have had 2 years of study and 800 hours worth of med passes and care. Who is going to be better prepared when that patient has a reaction? Who is going to keep you safe? It’s okay though, once patients start dying, the legislators will change their minds about this MA crap. Don’t call yourself a nurse just because you work for a doctor who is too cheap to hire an RN. And don’t call yourself a nurse because you participate in lower level nursing care. Maybe once you get a malpractice lawsuit and lose your job, you’ll realize you are not a nurse. How’s that for a slap in the face?

          • WTF says:

            Regardless of titles and egos, all medical personnel should adhere to the tasks they are LEGALLY allowed to perform within the state they are employed. I know a lot of people need to feel special about themselves but that is not what this discussion is about…Please, focus on what is LEGAL and best for the patient. And please, only use the titles that were given to you upon graduation/certification/licensing as they were determined by your state for a reason.

        • Maria Burkholder says:

          Every health care worker whether it be an RN or CNA is basically here for the patient. I get it I have been an RN for almost 28 years. With that being said, we RN’s along with MD’s and LVN’s can get sued in a court case we RN’s are in charge of the LVN’s and CNA’s we work with everyday and if something had gone wrong on that shift with that LVN or RN on duty the charge nurse which is the RN or RN of the facility will have to be deposed and show up in court if subpoenaed. So that is why RN’s like me have worked real hard in education and in nursing because we have to protect our license we worked hard for and yet we are also liable in one way or another for unlicensed health care workers.

        • carmel maalouf says:

          they are giving physical care, yes, but not nursing care. They are giving care that a person in the home with a little fortitude could give if need be with training from somebody who knows why things are done a certain way. Nurses have standards of care and a unique body of knowledge supported by Nursing Boards and for which they are liable and ethically responsible. They intricacy and depth of study are no way on par.I even took the LPN boards on general knowledge for maternal child and baby care because we had not had that in school yet when I took it to work while I worked to pay for RN school, and I could not believe how little those people got in their studies and how much we had to teach them about why they did what they did. So I can’t imagine having less training or getting an associates degree RN if you really wanted to be called a nurse. Why not just go to nursing school and get paid well and work on your certifications in your specialty and then your BSN? You don’t have to do it all at one time and many employers pay for courses.

        • Jodi says:

          If the word “Assistant” is in your credentials, you are NOT a nurse. MAs and CNAs are part of the nursing field, but they are not the nurse. If anything goes wrong, say a med error, it will all fall on the NURSE’S license, not the CNA or MA. It’s not about who does what. It’s more about who is responsible or liable for what. Some of the actual tasks, like direct care, passing meds, charting, etc are all shared. But in the perfect world where short staffing never occurs, the responsibilities of each position per job description are quite different. No need to try and outdo the others. We’re all important to patient care.

      • Barbara says:

        Actually, YES Anatomy and Physiology I & II are required classes when becoming a Certified Medical Assistant with an Associates Degree, as well as many other classes. I agree that a 9 month certificate program should not be acceptable training to become a CMA. What I do not agree with is the manner in which you are insulting Medical Assistants. Many states do not even require a Medical Assistant to be certified, so I would think as a professional, you would have some respect for those of us who do go to school for our Associates to become certified. It seems to be that there are many RN’s who have issues with Medical Assistants. Why is that? I have no desire to call myself a nurse, I am a Medical Assistant and I am quite proud of that. If I wanted to become a nurse, I would have. I think all of this ranting is bringing negative attention to yourselves, and personally if I was a nurse, I would be embarrassed that another nurse was spewing such garbage. Are you threatened by another professional working with you? Are you afraid that a Medical Assistant can perform their duties as well as you can? The patients are who we should be concerned about. They are the priority and as long as they are receiving the proper treatment who cares who is providing it. We should all be working together, it is not a competition. I really hope that I never have to work with a nurse with your attitude.

        • Emily says:

          I feel threatened for patients that are in danger of encountering people who do not know their own scope of practice and think they do whatever a doctor tells them to do. You will all learn once you get a malpractice suit.

          • Anonymous says:

            You sound completely ignorant and disrespectful. I have been a medical assistant for 5 years and I have tons of experience. I love what I do and take pride in that. Most importantly, my patients love that I bust my tail helping the doctor in taking care of their needs in regards to Providing quality patient care. We build relationships with these people and they trust us. We go to school, participate in clinicals, comply with CEUs, and sit for state boards just as you do.
            Just because we are medical assistants doesn’t mean that we’re incompetent of doing our jobs. And as far as I’m concerned, just because you are a licenced nurse doesn’t mean that you couldn’t possibly face a malpractice lawsuit against you as well. In fact, there are more Malpractice lawsuits against nurses than medical assistants. I haven’t ran across any MA that “claims” to be a nurse or is embarrassed to be an MA. Hell, it’s on our name tags at work, in which we are required to wear at all times so there is no confusion with our patients. Why can’t we all have a mutual respect for each other (and each other’s position) to take care of our patients because they are our main focus. CNA’s, CMA’s, Medical Assistants, LPN’s, and RN’S all have important roles. Honestly, if you really want to get into titles, why does NP’s think that it’s okay to call themselves doctors?

          • Mary says:

            Emily, you are so right. It’s scary to witness MA’s calling themselves a nurse when they are not. They need to know their scope of practice and not just following the MD’s orders. I have an MD who allows the MA’s to do anything. I called him out on a few things; interpreting test results (which is illegal), calling in meds without orders, MD gives instructions to one MA and that MA instructs another MA to carry out what the MD instructed. One MA cannot tell another MA what the MD instructed. MA’s need to have the supervising MD verify dosages and watch their performance. They need to take the time to see what their MA’s are doing. I’ve been on the receiving end of mistake after mistake from the MA’s. MD’s are too cheap to hire an RN. One RN can run an office compared to multiple MA’s. The MD could save money with one RN. MA’s should have very little responsibility in an office. It’s sad when patients have no idea the person in scrubs is an MA and not RN. Patients need to be made aware of who they are dealing with. I just recently read where someone would like the MA’s to carry out more responsibility with patient care. They way I read it comes across the MA would be diagnosing and treating patients. Advising them of their issue and the treatment and have the capability of changing the treatment plan. Now that’s SCARY!

          • Andrew says:

            First off – to “Anonymous”; NPs do not claim to be doctors. While the evolution of education from master’s to doctoral requirements has taken place to become an NP, I will soon refer to myself as “Dr. _______, I am your Nurse Practitioner” etc. (Yes, many non-medical folk and even medical folk will need time to adjust to this as the DNP program flourishes). There are clear lines and evidence that NPs are working with legislature to become classified as separate entities, licensed independent practitioners, who still work alongside MDs and DOs.

            With regard to CNA/MA/CMA…I find this to be more common. Sometimes female CNAs I’ve worked with were assumed to be RNs but 95% of them are completely honest in their roles and reassure patients that they are working under what their nametag says. Then again, as a male, when I go into a patient’s room (especially upon introduction), I have been assumed to be a doctor. I’m not, and I politely remind my patients that I am their RN for the night and any questions that are beyond my clinical scope of practice will be discussed with their attending.

            There really should be no confusion. If there is a desire to become a nurse, become one. Just as I have a desire to become an FNP. Does the title “Dr” before my name make me any better than an NP with a master’s degree? No. But if I put in another 4-5 years of education, training, commitment and time, then yes – I expect to be called what I earned throughout my higher education and terminal degree. This has no bearing on how I treat patients, as I will continue to treat them with the role of FNP vs. RN when I graduate.

            Stop arguing and pulling rank. We are a team, and it’s always a team effort. There are people that rely and benefit from every group of healthcare personnel.

          • SoCalLVN says:

            @ Anonymous, WRONG, medical assistants DO NOT SIT for state boards. States do not offer licenses nor certifications to medical assistants. They MAs CAN however sit for an exam provided by the four private agencies, one of them being the AAMA to become certified or registered provided by those agencies. It’s not state recognized nor given by the states. State real facts please.

            Sources : my previous education & experience as an MA. Now a Licensed Vocational Nurse

        • carmel maalouf says:

          The course names may be similar that a CNA takes, but the complexity of the subjects are very different. Even to say that an LPN learns about OB patients is scary when you look at their review books for their licensing boards. I took the LPN boards so that I could be paid more when I was working during my RN education and I had had no formal maternal child information in school, but I could pass pretty much on general knowledge. A training model, learning technical duties is not the same as knowing complex reasons why patient outcomes are improved through understanding research, or why things hit the fan. In the hospital setting, the caregiving actions of CNA are those that could be taught to any family member, we don’t use MA.s and currently, we don’t even use CNA.s anymore. Many units are RN only staff and the hospitals who are Magnet institutions are requiring all RN’s to obtain their BSN within a certain number of years or they will dismiss them.

      • dee j thomas says:

        This section needs to be taken down! I agree with others that it is highly offensive and inaccurately written. CMAs are highly educated and trained. WE can legally and effectively perform any and all of the same duties as RNs and LPNs in a clinical setting. We are just as competent and compassionate. It is NOT against the law to call ourselves or for others to refer to us as nurses!! A nurse is any caregiver. It is a general, generic term. The lawbreaking comes in, if we or someone else claims we have an RN or LPN degree. TO ALL RN’s and LPN’s- YOU DO NOT OWN THE WORD NURSE!!! Their are “nursing” mothers (breast feeding women) There are people who “nurse” their love ones, and numerous other examples of the word nurse. ARE THEY BREAKING THE LAW??…ummm ..NO!!… Time to get over yourselves!! If you are soooo threatened by us CMA’s because we are qualified to do the exact same job as you in a clinical and office setting, my suggestion to you is to go work in a nursing home or hospital where your skills will be put to better use!!!

        • Medical Assistant Nurse CEO says:

          Agreed, this lady is jealous because qualified Medical Assistants can do exactly TODAY what an RN can do UNDER THE DIRECTION OF A PHYSICIANS LICENSE JUST LIKE THEM!

          • Andi says:

            Professional vs vocational/technical. Most of this is about physical (hands on patient care). Professional nursing is a lot more. I know CNA/CHHA in California must be certified by have a certain number of hours of training. I haven’t heard of MA being certified. Registered Nurses must have a certain numbers of hours in education dictated by the state and what must be covered and passed, followed by the an intensive State Board Exam to be licensed.
            This is not meant to take away from anyone else position and seat at the table on the team. Most States do not allow assessments and plans of care by anyone other than an RN. LVN/LPNs can collect the data but not make the assessment. READ THE PRACTICE ACTS for your State.

          • California RN says:

            Not in the state of California! MA’s don’t pass meds, start IV’s or assessment, lots more . They have to be under direct supervision of an RN or MD in hospitals only RN’s do most patients care. And I answer call lights, empty bed pans, bathe and care for my patients I don’t leave it to my other staff to do. I enjoy all aspects of patient care

          • Christina says:

            RNs hold their own licenses and do not work under a physician’s license. If you are working under a RN, you are working under her license if she is the one delegating tasks to you.

        • Jessie RN says:

          Actually it is ILLEGAL to call yourself a nurse if you are not a licensed nurse. You might want to familiarize yourself with the laws before you end up in court.

        • ANONYMOUS says:

          Here in Canada UCPs or PSWs (Personal Support Workers) are only to provide activities of daily living (feed, cleaning, ambulating). In the hospital setting there may be a few instances where they can measure a urinal bag, or perhaps ambulate, however, this is only after the RN has assessed the patient initially. RNs use their critical thinking – something UCPs lack in nature. The RN is responsible for educating, assessing and evaluating his/her patient. ONLY can these duties be taken by a nurse and NEVER by a nursing aid. Aids and LPN can reinfore educational matters, but never upon first encounters. I hope this has cleared up some incongruent views on the topic.

          Cristian, B.Sc.N. RN.

        • Mary says:

          I totally disagree. You are not “highly educated” and cannot perform the same duties as an RN. Also, yes, an RN and LPN “own the word nurse”. Only an RN and LPN can have the title of Nurse! Medical Assistants are not even close to what a nurse is. The MA’s that I have encountered in my MD’s office are very incompetent, disrespectful, rude, lazy, and dirty. They walk around in scrubs acting as if they are nurses when they are NOT! You are trained repetitive skills.

        • Angel says:

          You’ve got to be kidding? I live in FL and MA’s do not have the fraction of the education behind them as a RN and are most certainly not qualified to perform the same skills as a RN…please have a seat!

        • kathy says:

          Depends on your state. North Carolina general statute explicitly states that it’s illegal to refer to one’s self as a ‘nurse’ unless one is an RN or LPN. So RNs and LPNs do, indeed, own the title of nurse.
          § 90-171.43. License required.
          No person shall practice or offer to practice as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse,
          or use the word “nurse” as a title for herself or himself, or use an abbreviation to indicate that
          the person is a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, unless the person is currently
          licensed as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse as provided by this Article. If the word
          “nurse” is part of a longer title, such as “nurse’s aide”, a person who is entitled to use that title
          shall use the entire title and may not abbreviate the title to “nurse”.

        • Bindy says:

          I kindly disagree. I went back to school for 5 yrs. I studied nursing to be able and allowed… allowed… to sit for my boards. If you did this and passed your boards then you my friend are a nurse. Your not a doctor , not a plumber, not a CNA. Your a nurse. If your not a registered nurse, which the state gives you the power to work under a scope of practice, then you are a liar plain and simple . What you need to do is think ” hey if I give this medicine what side effects can the pt have? Should they be taking this med? Is the physician aware what their b/p is or that they fell and have slurred speech while taking this thinner? It’s much more than vitals and handing out oral meds. There have been plenty of times I didn’t carry out an order due to pt presentation or comments they or family make. This is a nurse. Know the difference . Yes when you study for years and are responsible for that pts outcome … you are a nurse. Not legally responsible ? Then your not a nurse!

        • Jill says:

          A good medical assistant and CNA are invaluable. They are an important part of patient care. However, they are not nurses and should not claim to be one. I’ve worked with many medical assistants and CNAs. When there is a medical emergency, guess who has to intervene? Nurses and physicians. I worked with a very hardworking and dedicated medical assistant; there was no doubt she was great at her job. She had been a medical assistant for 7 years while I had been an RN for only 2. She froze when there was an actual medical emergency and turned to me for guidance. She carried out every order I gave competently and we worked together as a team to save the patient. However, she did not have the nursing assessment skills to handle this on her own. I doubt she could have figured out which interventions to implement in that situation, not because of a lack of intelligence (she was smart), but because she did not possess the necessary training. She received different training than I did because although our professions have some similarities, they are VERY different. I had to undergo far more education and training for my chosen profession. If she wants to be called a nurse, then she can go to nursing school.

          Calling yourself a nurse when you are a medical assistant or a CNA is misleading, dishonest and illegal. It would be like me calling myself a physician even though I have never even attended medical school. Patients have different expectations when someone claims they are a CNA vs a nurse vs a physician. All of these roles are important, but each role is different.

      • Kelly says:

        As for the education for Medical Assisting, I don’t know where you obtained your information from, but all Medical Assistants take Anatomy 1 and 2c Psy 101 and Psy 241, Medical Law and Ethics, Pharmacology, pathophysiology, and much more! The program I took was 18 months, not 9 and then I went an additional 4 months for my Associates Degree! Now for my RN I am only one class away! Now patients call me a nurse all the time and I do correct them and call myself a clinical assistant bc I am not a nurse ….yet! But in an PCP setting I am dedicated to my patients needs for years! I ensure they get their needs met and follow a standard of care! The nurses job depends on the role, and their assignment! But I assure you this, as also a Paramedic I have the ability to procede with things prior to MD approval that an RN can not! But I do have respect for the title, but Nurses should not belittle anyone especially a Medical Assistant by any means! Because I have can tell you many situations I have had to tell a Nurse proper procedure and protocol when they where lost and confused! Didn’t know how to even hook up an EKG! So BAM…

        • Kelly says:

          And the CEU thing!!! Lol! I don’t know about you but I have to turn in my CEU’s every year! And ADN classes don’t count either!

        • carmel maalouf says:

          There is no blam here. EKGs are a tech thing, the RN spends time learning EKG interpretation and will spend important critical minutes doing that usually. Why would an institution want nurses to stick patches on when somebody else can handle that at a lower price point while they do other more advanced thinking, interventions, or planning? I would have to say most basic injections are covered during clinicals, however, an office’s glucometer may be different based on manufacturer. I have had trouble as a patient with even LPN.’s not realizing a medication was duplicated because one was just the generic name or having them select the correct size BP cuff. I know that there will be individual differences in people in jobs making things interesting by learning more about their office’s specialty, but the example you set for your increased knowledge is just something that a low-level learner could replicate.

      • DaisyLPN says:

        When MichelleRN was commenting about medication and education she was referring to CNAs NOT CMAs.

        Also did you have to go to school and do clinicals?

        Go to nursing school and when you’re done you will feel the same way about nursing school taking extra commitment. I did medical assisting school ( associate degree program) and nursing school and I can tell you that nursing is definitely a bigger commitment. It was also really hard to get in to school we have to do testing, get recommendation letters, and nerve wrecking interviews with program directors for one of their few spots in class.

        You would be pissed if an office assistant who is not a medical assistant at your Dr’s office or wherever you worked referred to themselves as one. Just sayin.

      • RN says:

        I am sorry but it is a slap on the face for MAs to call themselves nurses. They can not assess because its not within their scope of practice. MAs are not trained to assess and understand critical values when doing a proper assessment. Nonetheless, you are essential in the workfield. But don’t misinterpret your training and call yourself a nurse. An associates degree does not mean you have more medical knowledge than a diploma. It only means you took English, math, and science courses to get an associates degree. Whenever you actually enroll yourself through a real nursing program, regardless if its an ADN or BSN the you have the right to be called a graduate NURSE. Then when they take a state board and pass then you have call yourself a NURSE

      • ann says:

        Here’s another slap in the face — I have known a few – a very few RNs and LPNs that I respect. Most of them are so arrogant about their piece of paper and that MA’s are so far below them, it makes me sick to think of the years of work I put in to go to nursing school and repeated attempts to finish. I finished 3 semesters of an RN diploma program before I quit to work for a doctor that taught me to be the hands-on Certified Medical Assistant I am today. I did not learn phlebotomy or IV therapy in nursing school, I did not learn radiology techniques in nursing school, I did not learn all of the ins and outs of the laboratory in nursning school, or to be a certified cardiology tech. All I managed to learn in 27 months of nursing school was to be stressed and write papers about diseases and symptoms and managed practice, not to mention listen to my fellow students worry about the color of their uniforms and how they couldn’t wait to be incharge so they didn’t have to make beds and could tell the CNA’s what to do. Medical assistants have a broader based education than nurses, are expected to think critically and have had many of their skills “reassigned” to RN’s that have no idea how to perform them. In 30+ years in the medical field, I have see far too many inept nurses, nurses with NO compassion and who refuse to get their hands dirty. They are typically over paid paper pushers with no more on their minds than what they will make someone else do for them.
        Just my opinion, and my EXPERIENCES from many years of watching the changes in the medical field. I may not be prepared to challenge a test on paper, but I would pit my SKILLS against any nurse, any time. The skills are what should be judged and evaluated NOT the letters behind a name. I worked my but off to learn what I needed to know to care for patients, you worked your but off to prove to a board of other nurses that you were worthy to wear a title.

        • Angry RT says:

          Did I really read an MAs comment that a doctor taught her Radiology Technique. Please educate me as to how this physician taught you about the appropriate use of kVp and mAs as it relates to Radiographic Imaging. I am sick of Medical Assistants who do not understand their position in medicine, and if that sounds condescending good, it was meant to. Really, to compare your education and experience to a Nurse? Have you lost your ever loving mind? Even a Nurse with a two year degree’s education is vastly superior to what an MA gets, and don’t get me started on MAs that think they know how to tell me how to do my job. Unless you have endured countless hours of radiation protection, and biology, NUCLEAR PHYSICS, and understand the intricacies of positioning patients get back to your scope of practice and stay out of ours. Seriously. Nurses and Radiologic Technologists aren’t always the best of friends but on this one they are 100% correct.

        • Bindy says:

          You sound bitter, finish school and sit for boards. Until then you are not a nurse. Btw A&P, physiology, chemistry, micro are all in our clinical assignments. We interpret labs, know disease processes, have to know critical care pharmacology. I know personally I would not want anyone taking care of my love ones that didn’t know thoroughly what they were giving them or understanding how your body processes it. This post is ridiculous. If I meet someone that says they are a nurse, it takes about two minutes to know that their proclamation is false. I then call them on it, which shuts the lips that are bloviating real tight.

      • Brenda, RMA II says:

        I agree it is much more difficult. But…. we should never say, just an MA or just a CNA. As Nurses you know you need them all and we need you. I know I couldn’t do the nursing program it is hard , very hard and it is just not for me. I am happy with what I am doing.
        When you work in a physician’s office you are responsible for a lot of task, but due to cut backs you are also responsible for listening to the patients and figuring out how soon they need to be seen or if they need to go to the ER when a physician is not available and we do not have nurses. Some days no physicians or PA’s available it’s all us.

    • Medical Assistant Nurse CEO says:

      I totally agree with you. Not only am I a Registered Medical Assistant I too teach the course and own a licensed school. I also teach LPN and RN’s! This ad is offensive in its entirety. As a RN you also work under the direction of the Physician license and you are not able to do more than he allows you to do under his direction. That also goes for CNP here in the state of Georgia. Many offices I have acclimated my students to in internship and externship refer to the MA’s as Nurses. Get off your donkey and understand their are several levels of Nursing, Medical Assistants are one. I recently worked at a major health care giant and my Nurse Superiors referred to me as a “Nurse” although I have the MA title as I am not registered in the state of Georgia but have completed the nursing program. Although I perfectly understand your point, your ad is some ignorant and misleading. Should you decide in the future to down play Medical Assistant and other healthcare professionals, there too is a class for you and its called Professional Ethics. I offer this course online and to you I would love to register you free, with books.

      • MA, Lab Mgr, Q.C. Sup says:

        I think it is very disgusting how women can be so destructive of each other. ASN, BSN, CNA, RMA, NCMA, AMA, it doesn’t matter we are one the same team, working toward the same goal… EXCELLENT PATIENT CARE. I have heard too many times from seasoned nurses (10 15+ yrs) that a CNA, or an MA taught them everything they know. I agree some of the views in the article were a little left field, as a writer in order to relay information to people, you have to do it in a way that delivers but does not discourage or offend. I completely get the whole picture of the article however, and no MA’s are not nurses. We have a VERY distinct role in healthcare as do other positions. We are not pee-ons, we are not here to get your coffee, or JUST do blood pressures, or JUST be a secretary. The great thing about MA’s are we can do all of the above and more (except be a doormat for your insults, and EVERYONE can get their own coffee. lol) Unity in the medical field amongst women is something I hope can be achieved. It’s not about us, it’s about the patients we ALL help every day.

      • RN says:

        You cant possibly teach RNs unless you have a Masters degree in nursing

      • ann says:

        Medical Assistants are more closely regulated than nurses, and certified nursing assistants are the heavy lifters of the field. They deserve the $30.00 an hour (average student nurse pay in US) and are the lowest paid in the field! Medical Assistants are as skilled in NURSING patients as most RN’s, they have simply gone through the process along another path.

        • Ln says:

          Hmmm? This post is making me cringe!! So just curious, do medical assistants do things such as change Foley’s , gtubes? And the list goes on! Also if a medical assistant makes a mistake, who’s license is under fire?

          • LM,CMA(AAMA) says:

            I don’t understand, why is there so much hate in nurses’ hearts against medical assistants. Yes it is illegal to call yourself a nurse if you’re not a nurse and if a patient calls anyone other than a nurse,the nurse, they should be corrected. And, in a clinical setting,i.e. doctors office, the medical assistant does everything the nurse does (varies from state to state). Notice I said in the doctors office. In the office where I work, the RN has to follow the same orders as medical assistants given by the Physician. The nurses can not really use there education as they were taught in school in the doctors office, as this would be,overstepping your boundaries and doing the doctors job. When they perform EKG’s, they have to take it to the doctor for interpretation, just the same as I do. If a patient comes in for a vaccine and the doctor is not present,and there is no standing order, that nurse can not take it upon herself to do what the patient tells her to do. That nurse works under the supervision of the physician of the office.Nurses can and do learn a trick or two from great medical assistants. If you have run across some bad medical assistants, don’t put all of us in that same boat! I go over and beyond for the patients that present themselves in our office. There are some bad nurses out there too! Calling in the wrong medications, giving gluteal injections in the wrong spot only to have a patient come back and say he doesn’t won’t the RN taking care of him anymore.I also have a better technique of drawing blood and giving injections than the RN. Just because you learned “pharmacology” and went to school extra long, doesn’t make you any better than Medical assistants. MA/CMA’s are trained for the doctor s office, nurses not so much, because you are really limiting yourselves and your abilities. I’m going to take a page from the nurses handbook and be mean right now, only lazy nurses are working in the doctors office anyways.Also, nurses stop acting like you know my job description in which I was hired to perform. The physicians office is usually ran by hospitals these days,and the hospitals know the rules in which the medical assistant should be working. Certified Medical Assistants do sit for certification, and has to re-certify to keep those letters behind their names. I have a question, how is this website “”, but you’re slamming medical assistants? And for the person that commented on doing the extra to become a nurse, I love being a CMA, as I love caring for the patient,and not sit on my backside just spewing a few medical terms, and pushing papers. Oh and by the way,CMA’s can enter medication, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging orders into the EMR(regulations of the CMS) to help the doctors with meaningful use. I know that hurts the nurses hearts right now ;)

      • LP says:

        That is actually not true. As an RN, you work under your own license, not a physicians. A medical assistant works under the physician license. The difference…..I make a mistake, its my license. An MA makes a mistake, its the physicians. Regardless of what your credentials are, impersonating yourself is illegal. An MA should not call themselves nurses just as nurses should not call themselves doctors. For those that don’t think there is a difference between an RN and MA, there is one key difference…..critical thinking. You do not get the level of critical thinking and prioritization in MA school as you do in nursing school. I have taught medical assisting for years and am now a clinical educator for 60 plus medical offices in which I am responsible for educating MAs and I can tell you, when asked the rationale behind why something is being done or facilitating a priority flow, only 1/maybe 50 can answer my questions. Very rarely can someone even answer basic questions. The reason….MAs assist physicians and just do what they ask. I would love to do a med training update where all MAs knew contraindications, side effects, etc of all the meds and immunizations they were giving. But they don’t.

        The fact of the matter is, that its two completely different professions and its illegal to falsify credentials period.

      • Christina says:

        As you are in Georgia, I would like to draw your attention to the GA Nurse Practice Act
        It specifically states that it is unlawful to refer to yourself as a nurse if you are not licensed as such in the state of GA. If you hold a nursing license in another state, your superiors may have simply been courteous by referring to you as “nurse.” Or perhaps they were misled by you. Whatever the case may be, you might want to review the GA Nurse Practice Act so that you are in compliance with the law.

    • potatosandtoast says:

      The fact still remains, until you are a certified nurse, you cannot label yourself a nurse period. Thats like someone saying they are a doctor when they are only an EMT.

      • carmel maalouf says:

        That would be licensed, registered, certifications come under specialty education and testing by other than state boards like accreditation areas like AACN. ASPAN.

    • Julianna, B.S.N, R.N. says:

      A Nurse is “higher level of commitment” because we went to school longer;that means more time and money committed to earn our degree. Our licensing is tougher and liability risk is higher. You are probably a great hardworking CMA, but you are not nurse. How do you feel when a doctor calls a clerk a medical assistant?

    • Penelope Cruze says:

      If the MA had the grades and the knowledge to be a nurse than they should enroll in nursing school & gain the education. If they want. If not stop professing you have any idea what it’s like.

      • ann says:

        Nursing school is not easy to get into, not because of any level of committment or need for intellect, but because it requires that you have NO LIFE EXPERIENCE and a great deal of MONEY. Yes there are loans and there are VERY FEW exceptions to the student nurse straight out of high school or junior college, but there are also black flowers, so there are exceptions to every rule, but the mean in the same. Calling a clerk with NO medical knowledge a medical assistant is not the equiviant of calling a skilled MA a nurse. What was Clara Barton? What degree did Florence Nightingale hold? As for doctors, I have known great ones and not so great ones, and some really stupid ones, but they alll have a license, doesn’t mean I would send my family to them.

        • Angry RT says:

          Did you really say no intellectual requirement? Did you hit your head? If anything what I am seeing in this thread are a lot of whining MAs who think that they are somehow equal to Nurses and want the level of respect that Nurses have earned. There is no denying that MAs are important to modern medicine but don’t get yourself confused. You are not anywhere close to what a Nurse is. You don’t have the same scope of practice, nor the education. Yes Nurses can be filled with a overly self-indulgent ego, but guess what, they earned it. There is a hierarchy in medicine, if your title has assistant in it, you are near the bottom. That is just reality. I deal all day with MAs who think they are Nurses, but don’t know the difference between ordering a foot X-ray or a calcaneus or an ankle. I constantly have to go back to physicians to have orders changed because their MA thought they knew what a patient needed.

        • Christina says:

          Perhaps 50 years ago nursing school required that student nurses dedicate their entire lives to their nursing program, but that is no longer the case. There are part time, hybrid, online, bridge programs. There are many many many second career nurses. Many people go back to school in their 30’s or 40’s or even later in life and become nurses. They aren’t required to disown their families or quit their jobs. I personally worked full time as a paramedic while in nursing school. Please educate yourself before making comments such as this.

          • DMW says:

            I am a second career RN. I just graduated from nursing school in May 2017. Nursing school did require me to disown my family and my entire life as I knew it. To obtain just a 2 year nursing degree or diploma requires actual clinical time, hands on, direct patient care. There is no hybrid or online training to substitute that. So, for someone to think nursing school doesn’t require you to make some major sacrifices, then this is why this argument is occurring. Until someone has actually gone to nursing school, suffered through clinicals, taken nursing school tests that have 4 right answers but you have to choose th BEST right answer (this is where the critical thinking comes in), and passed the NCLEX exam, then you simply do not get it and therefore, shouldn’t just bow out of the conversation. Sorry to sound harsh, but I nursing school is something we will take to our graves.

            I recently started working in a hospital-based clinic with many CMAs. There is one RN and one LPN. I make it 2 RNs. As a new comer, I am quiet and just do as I am told while I am being trained. I keep my mouth shut. I smile and am as nice as I can be to everyone. During the course of the day, I have CMAs critiquing my every move. They tell me I’m not doing something wrong while themselves are doing something wrong the very minute they are telling me I’m doing something wrong. I hear them refer to themselves as “nurses” constantly. I feel bullied at times. I am only allowing this to occur because I am still learning. When I gain confidence, I will no longer allow it. But I question (to myself) everyday, how can the CMAs do some of the things they do. There are physicians in the office, but I don’t see them actually “supervise” them. Can CMAs actually assess patients?? Assess pain? I see them cut corners, like not wearing PPE when they should and not reconcile patient’s medications. I see them not weigh the patient but just ask them what they weigh. Some of the patients are cancer patients undergoing Chemotherapy. Its imperative that a precise weight be taken as weight loss is a side effect of Chemotherapy and needs to be assessed each visit.

    • Liz says:

      I agree that the comment about saying a medical assistant is a nurse being a slap in the face to the nurse is a very rude and inappropriate statement.
      You as a nurse are NO better than a medical assistant.

      Im a BSN RN and guess what, that doesnt make me ANY better than an LPN or an associates RN. It makes me different. It makes my training and expertise different. Also, the doctor is not any better than me. He or she simply has different training and expertise.

      Side note* nurses arent any better than ANY profession. I thoroughly respect cashiers or sales associates or cosmetologists for example because they are doing what works for them and many are very good at their job.

    • carmel maalouf says:

      You can take your job seriously, and you have to take ethics classes . But the depth of the subject matter and your ability to make independent judgments and plan the care of patients with the liability that licensed personnel have is not the same. Yes you are taught many technical skills in your training but not as much about the reasons why they are done they are for the symptom a which the patient presents and what drug interactions and medicine side effects could be detrimental to a patient although you may take a three credit hour pharm course. It takes far more clinical hours than you receive and many more labs to practice competently as a nurse. They do not even have MAs or CNAs in the hospital anymore, they are labor for nursing homes and some offices, but I would rather have a tech do the blood draws and EKGs because I was usually doing stuff they were not equipped to do, and frankly they probably would not like to do. We had an all RN staff.Now the hospital I worked at requires all RNs to have their BSN within5 years and management must have their Master’s. I had a baby on spring break when I was 33 it was no picnic but I had a dedication to get the most of my masters and I certified in my specialties ANP. and Post -anesthesia Care which is a critical Care specialty. so I have to say No to MAs or CNAs answering the nurse’s line in a doctor-s office at work without clarifying their title. It is not being condescending when a patient is under the impression that they will be getting a nurse who has graduated from an accredited program and passed her boards unless they are at a teaching hospital an have agreed to have physical care given by a student under the direction of an RN if that person calls themselves nurses or the person picks up the nurse line at an office. I think most patients do not care who hold their hand during a procedure, though, you can be a care giver and be proud of that. But when I ask for my NP. I expect to be taking to my Master’s prepared nurse, I don’t care how many years experience you have.

    • Tonia says:

      that’s great that you have a highly trained medical assistant, I’m a highly trained Registered Nurse, soon to be a Nurse Practitioner, but I cannot represent myself as a doctor.

    • Grammar Police says:

      I’ve read all the posts and found the comments by the want-to-be called “nurses” without a license ( MA’s, CMA’s, RMA’s, NA’s, CNA’s, etc.,) are defensive, offensive, argumentative, and pitiful.

      If you haven’t been licensed by at least one State Board of Nursing in any of the states in the USA as an LPN, LVN, or RN… YOU ARE NOT A NURSE.

      It makes no difference how knowledgeable you are (even if you think you are as smart as a doctor, and for sure smarter than an LVN or RN), or how many long, exhausting hours you’ve worked taking care of patient’s needs, (including the most difficult patients that LVN’S or RN’s dumped on you), or regardless of how many delicate and serious medical treatments or procedures you have done (even if the doctor you worked with thought you were exceptional and more than capable of doing, and you know you can take care of the patient better than any LVN or RN), IF YOU DON’T HAVE A NURSING LICENSE…YOU ARE NOT A NURSE!

      There is no sense in arguing and getting upset, especially when the definition of NURSE by Merriam-Webster
      ( states that a “NURSE is a person who cares for the sick or infirm; specifically : a licensed health-care professional who practices independently or is supervised by a physician, surgeon, or dentist and who is skilled in promoting and maintaining health — see licensed practical nurse, licensed vocational nurse, registered nurse.”

      Better yet, if you still have doubts about the legality of calling yourself “nurse”, consider checking out your State Board of Nursing Rules and Regulations, as well as the Nursing Practice Act because you could end up in legal trouble impersonating a nurse.

    • Lori Santon says:

      It is absolutely disrespectful & should not be moved. To claim a title & license you do not have is illegal. Hoe would you feel if us licensed murses witth 10+ years experience claimed to be your Dr just because we already know what tests you would need. I experienced this from my Dr’s office & knew from the way the person talked, they were not a nurxe. A CNA cannot call themselves a nurse working directly beside the nurse. Make it 4 years to become a medical assistant still does not make you a nurse. Even completing nursing school doesn’t make you a nurse until you have sat & passed the NCLEX. Quit misleading those people for the sake of funding your program. I’ve heard many medical assistants sorry they ever went in the program when they found out it would not lead to the same privileges as a licensed nurse but was already in debt with student loans. You want to be a nurse? Go back to school & tell me its the same. Until then? You are & will always be a medical assistant. Furthermore, tesch them how to talk to people. I’m leaving my Dr’s office due to their need to save money uses medical assistants. I do not get the same care as with a truly licensed nurse.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A cna is not a nurse nor is a medical assistant the abbreviation na or cna stands for assistant. A Nurses assistant notice the sole word nurse is not displayed in either job title. RN however stands for registered nurse, LPN same thing. Has anyone ever heard of scope of practice? We have other staff members to assist us with different scopes of practice so that we can work at the top of our license. Yes it is a slap in the face to RNs if you want to be called a nurse go to school for it. I understand that medical assistants nas and others are very knowledgable and skillful but it’s completely unfair to claim your a nurse when I have worked 6 years for a BSN.

    • Casio says:

      Congratulations!!!. Thanks for everything that you do, it’s greatly appreciated but please have in mind that being a nurse is more than that. A nurse is one who provides nursing care. CNAs do go to school and become LPNs and RNs. It’s not about calling yourself a title, it’s about the Patient. A lot if CNAs who get into the Nursing Profession do it because they care. I am studying to become an LPN. I really love my Patients and enjoy nursing. Nursing is a wonderful profession. I love it.

      • carmel maalouf says:

        There are many hospital units with very caring all RN staff these days because research shows that it reduces patient mortality. And BSN nurses to be more specific. If CNAs and MAs. could do all the work nurses do this would not be trending among the most award-winning hospitals. So go ahead, love your job and your patients, but don’t think that you can use our name or that RN.s just become professional nurses to run away from patient contact and don’t enjoy close relationships with patients too.

    • dee j thomas says:

      The word nurse is a generic and general term.
      A Registered Nurse and a Licenced Practical Nurse are degrees. NOT A DESCRIPTION OF A JOB!! It totally amazes me how superior and insecure RN’s are about the word, and thats all it is, is a word, nurse. Maybe that’s because they are seeing their highly paid positions being replaced by highly trained but less paid CMA’s. High healthcare costs are demanding changes!!

      • Kelly says:

        Very well said!

      • Tiffany says:

        I have been both a Certified medical assistant and an RN. I am currently an RN. Yes, I hear doctors refer to their medical assistants as the “nurse”. Mainly, I believe, because it is simply easier for the patient. However, if your patient believes you are a nurse: as in a licensed and trained LPN or RN, and you allow them to believe that or do not correct them if they say you are one, you technically are breaking the law and can get in a lot of trouble. There ARE patients that would make decisions based off their belief that you may be an RN. I DO feel the wording “level of commitment” is not right. We are all committed to our patients to the highest level (I hope). I think the wording should be made to imply the type of education received and what our scope of practice legally is under our respective licenses/certifications. For whoever said a medical assistant can assess a patient . No: hey legally can not perform a nursing assessment of a patient. The can gather and report data they gather on a patient. They can assess the situation. They can come to their conclusion about whether or not a doctor is needed and if the patient is in an emergency. But a true nursing assessment can NOT be completed legally. An LPN can not do certain nursing assessments (depending on the state). I have worked where an LPN can not do the initial assessment. I have worked where an RN must consign any LPN assessments, and I have worked where LPNs can not assess at all. I resent whoever said nurses are getting all upset because a medical assistant can do more than they think. I was a medical assistant. And , as I knew I could do everything an RN could do: but could not legally do it- AND as I knew I could certainly take on that responsibility and wouldn’t mind getting the pay along with it, I furthered my skills by going to nursing school. Then I could legally do these things: as well as get paid better. I remember thinking “what can they do that I can’t”. But it was true: as am MA I could not legally write a nursing care plan, legally document a nursing assessment, or perform certain skills. Granted, doctors allow MAs to do these things all the time. However, the reality IS that , technically, it can be illegal AND a lawsuit waiting to happen….and even insurance fraud if investigated. No one is saying one is better then the other. But facts are facts: I can now legally do things I could not legally do as an MA: even though I could intellectually do them AND even though a physician may allow me to do them in his office.

        • Mary T. says:

          Tiffany, I feel compelled to comment on your statements. In 1990, I was in medical school, top of my class, graduating with honors…my daughter was hit by a car while riding her bike home from school and crushed her cervical spine and became paralyzed from the neck down after awakening from a 32 day coma. I dropped out of school to take care of her. She is currently finishing a medical assisting program and I was looking on line for guidance to help her establish herself in her new career. I came upon this website and started reading these comments; yours was the ultimate shameful of them all. Really? Are nurses that ignorant? Do you have any idea of the harm you are causing to the medical profession with these statements about your colleagues? I am just appalled at the bickering and demeaning ideas that some nurses have about their support staff. My late husband used to call medical assistants nurses; he didn’t care about the letters after their name, only that they were there to comfort him while he was going through his chemo therapy. You women have to stick together in this industry if you want to remain competitive as patients have more choices for their healthcare now than ever before. Get over your insecurities and develop a professional approach to medicine; this is absurd!

      • Angry RT says:

        Actually the word “Nurse” is a legally protected term in 37 states, where it is a crime to call yourself one if you are not. You sir are a jackass of the highest order.

      • Christina says:

        Actually, RN and LPN are licenses. As Angry RT stated, “nurse” is a protected title and I would suggest that you educate yourself on your state laws before you refer to yourself as a nurse.

  3. Barbara says:

    To Britteny Wilson, this subject could have and should have been approached in a more respectful manner. The first thing I noticed is that not once did you call Medical Assistants Certified. Many of us attend college for our Associates Degree in Medical Assisting, then we sit for an exam and receive our certification. I do not want to be called an RN, an LPN, or anything other than a CERTIFIED Medical Assistant. You want people to use the appropriate title, then you should give it as well. I am not a Medical Assistant, I am a Certified Medical Assistant. There is a difference, just as being an RN has its differences. Yes, becoming an RN is difficult and I applaud you for choosing a career and accomplishing it. Those of us who put our hard work in and became certified deserve the same respect to be called Certified Medical Assistants. Talk about a slap in the face!

  4. MGJ-RN says:

    To my RN colleagues out there. We have to face the facts that the only reason these MAs exist is because the physicians and LTC facilities are too cheap to pay an LPN, much less an RN. MAs are performing assessments, passing meds and in some states actually giving injections to patients.

    Makes you wonder why we put all the time and effort into school, training, higher degrees, and CEUs (lets not forget about the mandatory CEUs), when we could have just gone the CMA route and called ourselves a nurse.

    I have seen nursing assistants run their tails off in LTC facilities and in the few hospitals that still have them. They work hard, but as has been reiterated many times here, they are NOT NURSES. And most of the ones I have worked with do not claim to be. Some have gone back to school to get their RN. Unfortunately, the only MAs I have had the displeasure of running into were in private physicians offices. I truly believe that it is dangerous to have an MA assessing patients in a busy physicians office, let alone giving injections or medications. I have seen far too many medication errors to justify this practice.

    As you can tell this is a very touchy subject for me.

    • Emily says:

      They have them running dialysis in FL! Scary!

    • dee j thomas says:

      And I have also seen many many scary medication errors, wrong labwork ordered, incorrect imaging results given to patients, pathology reports wrongly interrupted to the patient, and injections given incorrectly and with wrong dosages, BY THE SAINTLY AND PERFECT REGISTERED NURSE!!! When did RN’s become perfect?? Sit in on one malpractice court case and you will see how very many RN’s make major mistakes!!

    • Medical Assistant Nurse CEO says:

      I can appreciate the way you addressed everyone initially….BUT to have the displeasure in working with MA’s in your providers office is also a slap in the face as Physicians make judgement calls to hire qualified professionals to work in their offices. All healthcare professionals except those in an in-patient setting work under the direction of a physician license. You may be right about physicians not wanting to pay the cost for LPN or RN status but did you ever think about why? I own a qualified Career School and offer the Medical Assisting program as one of my professional courses. The course is 15 months, longer than many LPN programs and just as much study and material required as the RN program. Why? Because as a Medical Assistant (I am a “Nurse” RN now) I understand what is required.

      There are OFTEN medication errors with RN and other healthcare professionals. Lets face it, you chose a career area that is vastly changing for the better NOT the worse. Stop being ignorant and jealous and be happy more healthcare professionals are in place to better patient care. If you dont like it, think about becoming a Counselor or Cook.

  5. Hb_RN says:

    I completely agree with this article. I have been a nurse for a total of 14 years, with several of them being an LPN, before becoming an RN. BEFORE that, I was a medical assistant for a few years. So I feel confident in saying that I understand this issue. Plain and simple, CMAs, MAs, whichever, have never gone to nursing school, so they have NO clue what it entails and have NO clue how hard it is, and in addition, have NO clue ho much knowledge they are truly lacking. When I was an MA, I thought I was the sh&!…I thought I knew it all, but I NEVER said I was a nurse, but I assumed that I knew more than them, or the same amount, LOL, I was sooo wrong. Nursing school was the most challenging thing that I have ever experienced. I was actually a CMA, and let me tell you, looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t hurt anyone administering meds with the terrible education regarding doing so. CMAs seem to think they know it all about giving meds, but they don’t!! Regardless of having been a medical assistant or not, I can say that them calling themselves nurses is highly insulting. Plus, why in the world would you get an associates degree in medical assisting? It’s low paying in my state, which goes to show that’s why they even exist….Doctors are too cheap to pay nurses….plain and simple, also doctors are letting MAs do things that are WAY outta their scopes. Whoever said that assessing is within their scope, I call bullsh$&!!!! So not true!!! You can not assess unless you are an RN!!! LPNs cannot even technically assess under NJ state laws, when an LPN does an admission assessment it has to be signed by an RN. Certain things an LPN can assess however, which is why I went back to school, too many limitations. Know your scopes!!! You come off sounding like a fool, just like most MAs out there, cocky, with zero knowledge base to back it up. So have fun trying to comment back with your stupidness, I’m not going to see it anyhow lol! Go back to school, then you can talk.

  6. Nicole says:

    Wow not surprising I must say. If you’re so confident about “how great you are because you are a licensed nurse” then I don’t believe you would write an article like this. I went to school for 2 years and got my associate’s degree has a CMA. Just when I think my shock level has been reached someone always seems to surprise me :(

  7. Nicole says:

    Funny I worked in an Independent care facility where all my co-workers were LPN’s and RN’s. I worked there for 2 years passing medication, doing medical treatments, charting etc etc etc AND NOT Once did I make an error YET the nurse’s had piles of medication errors each and every month. Hmmm maybe that’s because of their “I’m wonderful, I am licensed nurse” That cocky attitude is why so many nurses make mistakes that NEVER should be made. And CEU’s, I guess a CMA isn’t required to do this huh? You are funny sweetheart! People really should EDUCATE themselves before going and running their mouths. Humble yourself and I bet you’ll get more of the respect you seem to crave so deeply…I’ll tell you 1 huge difference (no not the only difference) between myself as a NRCMA with an Associate’s Degree and an RN is that I paid 2 times as much for my degree.

    I thought medical professionals “stuck together” so to speak. NO ONE IS BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE ON THIS PLANET! Who cares if you have or don’t have a degree? Are you competent in the medical field? Are you effective in the medical field? The medical profession is about helping and caring for people. It’s the patients that matter most, not a label…

    • Emily says:

      Exactly the patients matter. So do you think a person can safely give a med after only 24 hours of training? That’s what the state of CT is trying to do. Do you think a patient is safe getting insulin from someone with 1 day of training? If you say yes, you should really look at your patients’ goals and outcomes and reconsider your profession.

  8. Amanda says:

    Plain and simple: if you didn’t pass the NCLEX, you *are not a NURSE*.
    Anyone who gets their panties in a wad over that, probably needs to find a different line of work.
    CNAs and CMAs are *assistants*. You cannot do the job of a nurse; only certain tasks can be delegated. You work under someone’s license, and they are directly responsible for you!
    You aren’t a “nurse” because of how you *FEEL* about your job duties; you aren’t a nurse because you do direct care.
    If one is so desperate for the recognition that comes with being a nurse, go to nursing school and PASS THE NCLEX. Otherwise, be a good aide, and do as you’ve been delegated.

  9. Jack Penland says:

    Ma’am. I have a serious question. I am involved in a political blog, and there is a gentleman on there who repeatedly has referred to himself as a licensed psychologist, and who has actually solicited business online in a public venue. He steadfastly refuses to reveal his bona fides, and I suspect he is perhaps a patient who is impersonating his own Psychologist. The only reason I even care is that there appear to be some people falling for his crap. He maintains that even though he has offered professional services, he is under no obligation to reveal his professional qualifications. I would like to know if this is legal. Thank You.

  10. Cee says:

    We are all healthcare professionals with one thing in common. I’m sure you all know what that is ;). Can’t we all just get along and take care of our patients the best way possible? I know I will ;)

  11. Anonymous says:

    We are all healthcare professionals who went to nursing school, medical assistant school, & etc. Just to clarify–when you successfully complete any program/graduate, you are not licensed or certified until you pass your perspective examination(s). That being said, the proud day you get that official paper in the mail, the ink reads what you have worked so hard to become. When a patient calls me a doctor, I immediately clarify my title in a gentle manner. When I sign off on charting, administration, and/or notes I sign my name, RN. It’s not fair to grant yourself a title you haven’t earned. I don’t walk around calling myself a super bowl champion because I can throw a mean spiral….

  12. anonymous says:

    The medical assistant in our office tells everyone that she is a nurse. Patients, other doctor’s offices, everyone. She accepted gifts from drug reps during nurse week. She gives medical advice to patients over the phone without consulting the provider. She even has a daily ” you know you’re a nurse when” calender. She has been an MA for all of about 10 months, and I hear her from time to time trying to bark orders to our lab girl, who has a Bachelor’s degree.

    • WTF says:

      Seriously, I would love to know what they are teaching in the way of “egos and attitudes” in all of these programs. Like it or not, the titles have been assigned (along with the scope of practice) by the states in which you reside. They should be adhered to for patient safety.

    • Francesca says:

      Well, the provider probably doesn’t care what she calls herself (if she can do the job and if the patients are happy with her service and feel confident at the end of their phone call to her). At the end of the day, she probably costs a lot less than you do and that is going to make the provider quite happy too.
      As for the gifts from the rep, the rep probably deals with her full time not caring if she is a nurse or not – helps things run smoothly. But you could have wrestled the gift from her.
      And as for her possessing the “you know you’re a nurse when” calendar, well just leave her with it. People hate those calendars as much as the dreadful T-shirts stating things like I’m not here to wash your arse – I’m here to save your arse. The rep probably bought that calendar for her. You certainly don’t want it, do you !
      Just be happy that no matter how well she does her job, how many reps she is friendly with, how happy the provider and the patients are with her………………..she can never legally (in you view) say that she is a real, genuine nurse. Ha Ha Ha.

  13. SusanRN says:

    Having put myself through Nursing school while working as a Nursing Assistant in a major acute care hospital, I am aware of the hard work and skill necessary to be a Nursing Assistant. I am also aware of the extreme discipline, persistance, and dedication that it took to complete school and the stress of sitting for the NCLEX exam. Until one has completed these accomplishments and borne the responsibility of being a Registered Nurse, one should not presume to hold up oneself as a ‘Nurse’.

  14. Judy says:

    Informative article. I would like to commend all those who work in the area of patient care, it takes all of us to insure the patients receive good care and everyone works very hard. I appreciate all the levels of those who expressed their thoughts in the opinions expressed in the comment section, but we need to understand that some of the comments are just opinions, while the article was addressing the law which in all 50 states it is against the law (a felony) to call oneself a nurse unless you are an RN, LVN, or LPN. It has nothing to do with what we think about ourselves. It is because the level of training is completely different and even more distinct in the two basic levels of nursing that can call themselves a nurse. I say basic, because above that we have advance practice nurses which cover; mid-wives, nurse practitioners, Clinical nurse specialists, and a doctor of nursing practice which take additional education to even qualify for the additional licensure. An an RN can not call oursleves any of those unless we obtain that particular addition to our license , neither can an MA or a CNS. They are what they say, a Medical Assistant and a Certified Nurisng assistant. One assists a doctor and one assists a nurse. I hope you can understand where I’m going with this thought process. Each one is given a certain set of responsibilities and title that is consistent with their license they have acquired and by law can only practice within that license.

    I have seen myself and see from the many comments that many of you have been required to practice above what you are licensed to do in your jobs for which I am sorry because legally you could be prosecuted for practicing nursing without a license and putting a patient in the position thinking someone with considerable more training is giving them advice.. It is your responsibility to make sure you are practicing within your license, not someone else. Only you can protect yourself and your patient.

    Now I understand that MA’s and CNS work extremely hard and you should be commended both for giving good patient care and understanding that what makes you a good practitioner is your ability to know your scope of practice and working within. Just this morning I gave a CNA a great deal of appreciation for what she does and i was not even in a traditional nursing situation. I was up on a ladder trimming my ivy, when a young lady came out of the house behind me curious if the gardener for the lady she was working for ever took care of their side of the fense. I explained I trim as far as I can reach as I know the lady who lives there is elderly and have not seen anyone trim from that yard for a long time. I then smiled, stating today i am gardening, but I actually am a nurse (RN) and teach in a College BSN program. She shyly told me she was a CNA and cares for the lady who now has alzheimers. I quickly introduced myself and let her know how much I appreciate her taking care of my neighbor and know how hard she works (6 says a week 24 hours a day I discovered). I let her know it takes all of us in the medical field to make it work. I got a big smile in return. She was so appreciative and we both returned to our duties new friends. That is what it is all about, not worrying who can do more, but that we are all making a difference.

    I am sure as a nursing professor you have guessed, I am not just licensed, but I have several degrees which i have worked very hard to achieve, but when I have been mistaken for a physician, I know that I must immediately identify that I am a nurse, because I also would not want to practice medicine without the license. Teaching nursing students, I can tell you the educational demand on them is heavy, because many of the things they have to do today were once considered to be that of a physician and with the shortage of doctors and nurses, it is not going to lighten the load which will trickle down to the MA and CNA’s as well. Thank you all for working together for the best for our communities. It is this reason, i went from a clinical nursing to teaching nurses to insure nursing care for the future

    We need to be proud of ourselves for who we are and what ever license we have achieved and not feel threatened by someone with a little more education or training and also from the other perspective be encouraging to those who are also very necessary and a big part of patient care.

    Thank you all,

    • Jane Doe says:

      Nurse Judy,

      With all due respect, STOP PERPETUATING THE NURSING SHORTAGE MYTH. Many new BSN grads cannot find jobs after 2 years of graduation. Nursing programs should be honest with students and not just take their money. S. T. O. P.

      • judy says:

        Why all this fuss about who is who. That’s the problem we are having in the work place now, everyone seem to be claiming positions and titles instead of giving patient care. Working in the health-care for over twelve years and taking care of the cases with my patients, I’ve seen CNA s teaching RNs lots of things about the patients because they’re the ones who spend most time with the patients. ALOT of the RN s upon reaching their goals, feels as if they’re bigger and better than the rest of the staff. So sad because the patients need all of us to care for them. I know it takes a lot to become an RN but everyone can’t be RN’S. Please respect the rest of the staff please, because each one has their role to perform. No one is better than the other. Why is it that women always get involve in this kind of negativity. Men don’t do these garbage. For heaven sakes please stop all this negativity and start thinking positive towards each other. We’re all there to perform a job to the best of our ability to make sure that the patients are given the best care possible. Enough of this garbage. We all went to school to become CERTIFIED or else we would not be working in their institutions.. GROW UP.

        • Jake from State Farm says:

          Its not about who’s better, it’s about committing fraud. If you did not go to nursing school and pass the NCLEX you are not a nurse. A CNA cannot teach an RN, only an RN-MSN can do that. Medical assistants are vital parts of the health care system but they shouldn’t pose as a nurse just as a nurse shouldn’t pose as a physician.

          I am a male nurse with a BSN. I went through so much hardship and pain to earn that degree, it is understandable if I get angry when someone who hasn’t earned that title attempts to pose as a nurse. The education between an RN and a medical assistant are light years apart. Any medical assistant who decided to go to nursing school would see that and take offense to someone falsely claiming to be a nurse.

  15. Jane Doe says:

    Nursing student here, chiming in for what it’s worth.

    This nasty in-fighting is what is turning me off from the nursing profession (and I use the term loosely because it has become so devalued in so many ways). First, I already have a B.Sc. Biology acquired in 1993 and went back to school in my 40s to finish my RN and BSN. Talk about hard work…nursing school brings out the absolute worst in many people unfortunately because it is so competitive. Now I truly understand the phrase “nurses eat their young”. The bullying I have witnessed not just in my program amongst fellow students but also by professional nurses in clinical settings amongst their own peers and underlings (CNAs, student nurses) is appalling. I was shocked that people that join a profession of caring for others can be so cruel and nasty. And CNAs are also part of the problem. Even though after 3 clinical rotations in school, I work in a hospital as a patient care tech, I am NOT a licensed CNA though technically I have the same training plus more knowledge. BUT THE POINT IS I CANNOT CALL MYSELF A CNA AS I AM NOT LICENSENED AS SUCH. And I cannot tell you how many CNAs have major chips on their shoulders towards nursing students about to get that coveted RN or BSN. Some will go out of their way to make your day sh*t. THEY look down on YOU as student nurses. Jealous? I have no idea. I treat everyone with respect and expect the same but I’m sick of some CNA that once gave someone a Digox pill claim to know more about pharmacology when I had to study 2 full 3 month semesters of it. It pisses me off.

    I am a straight A student that is almost done, went to school for FREE on scholarships and I don’t even think I want to become a nurse anymore! What someone else said is sooo true…nursing has become devalued. New nursing salaries are $22/hr where I live–if YOU CAN EVEN FIND A JOB! I made that salary 15 years ago. Right now I work in a hospital for…wait for it…$12.50/hr and no benefits! THERE IS NO NURSING SHORTAGE, FOLKS! Yes, CNAs and CMTs are replacing RNs in many places. I don’t agree with this but that’s reality. I also hate the whole RN vs. BSN stuff, too. Next thing we know all nurses will have to have Master’s Degrees. Really? I agree that all of us are under paid. I think CNAs making $10/hr. is absurd–about as absurd as new RNs making $22. And no, it’s NOT about money for me. But for the education, time, effort, responsibility, health risks and emotional and physical tolls to be a RN…$22 IS A SLAP IM MY FACE.

    My eyes are open and guess what? I’m finishing my RN then a 2 year PA program so AT LEAST I WILL HAVE A JOB. I have had too many RNs tell me the “time to be a nurse has passed” and I’d be better off as a Physician’s Assistant. And guess what? I WON’T CALL MYSELF A MEDICAL DOCTOR, EITHER. At the same time I hope I will be able to focus on patient care and not all this petty, mostly female, nursing cattiness. I’m 44 and feel like I’m back in Junior High every day.

  16. Maria Eidson says:

    I have noticed that in other states (other than California) CNA Certified Nursing Assistants are referred to as Medical Assistants. Skilled nursing facilities that use that title but the job description is that of a CNA.

  17. Sue says:

    Not taking sides but this article is very condescending and I can see why some of the medical assistants are angry. Maybe it shouldn’t have the “I am so much better than MA” attitude and it might have gone over better with them.

    Oh and get your facts straight. Although it might be disrespectful to call yourself a “nurse” if you haven’t gone to school and taken the NCLEX to earn it, it is NOT illegal in some states to call yourself a nurse if you are not one.

  18. S Jones says:

    I find it appalling that CNs and MAs and in Illinois 6 weeks of online or technical training can scrub patients and assist in surgery. My husband had TURP and come to find out a CNa scrubbed his private area. Patients and their families should be informed and hav a right to say no to less trained personnel. Heck in our state our farmers, plumbers have more education. Furthermore we all should be able to demand any nursing staff be same gender as we are. We both feel as if we were not advised and this is patient rape

  19. Grace P. says:

    I have read this entire script and I feel very sorry for those R.N.s.- Medical Assistants are very underrated and shunned by the registered nursing community, but not for the reasons that you may suspect. Many registered nurses are the victims of narcissism; they are struggling with the need to increase their sense of security through the means of belittling other staff, which allows them to feed their own self-centered views of importance. I have witnessed this phenomena occur with many “nurses” and it’s extremely disturbing. What the other professional titles contibute to patient’s best interest is not the nature of their struggle. It does not matter how much education, knowledge, aptitude, skill or professional demeanor is involved with the other nursing professions, but rather the focus taken away from the narcisistic “nurses” that creates their genuine disapproval for the other members of the medical team. They are genuinely threatened by the possibility of losing any of their self-important value to medicine.
    It is not the other staff members who call themselves “nurses,” it is the patients, as they do not feel a need to differentiate one from another when they are sick and in need of assistance. Instead of appreciating the valuable roles of the other physician support staff, nurses often feel very “offended” when the other staff receive any rewarding moments while providing care to patients. Most nurses could not pass a simple math test due to not having used the skills since college. There are so many nurses suffering from mental illness and many men choose to refrain from dating them in fear of the baggage. So, medical assistant and cna’s, please don’t be angry with these victims of narcissism, they are not able to help this behavior. They are deeply insecure and fear being less important than they see themselves as being. In fact, treat them like they are little old ladies who are fragile and open their door the next time they walk behind you. Smile and wish them well.

  20. hahaha says:

    This thread is funny. First duties for MA (certified), and CNA’s and scope of practice vary in each state. In Oregon Certified Medical Assistants and LPN’s get hired for the same jobs, and paid the same in many hospitals. Many of the hospitals prefer Certified Medical Assistants to LPNs and they can do pretty much everything and LPN can do. This is not the same for RN’s, but good luck finding a job as an RN in a hospital here without a BSN. CNA’s have 2 levels here, 1 and 2. And also Certified Med Aide(CMA) (which you cant get until after 600 hours of CNA 1 work. As a CNA 1 you pass no meds, you can’t do insulin, injections, or much of anything (medical), you’re mostly assisting with adls, getting vitals, monitoring patients for change in condition (in which case you report to the charge nurse immediately), and you can give enemas and suppositories and collect urine/bm samples, and do warm/cold therapies under nurse delgation. You can not work in the hospital. As a CNA2 you can work in a hospital, do blood glucose, adjust oxygen under nurse delegation, do warm/cold therapies w/out delegation, Add fluid to established post pyloric, jejunostomy and gastrostomy
    tube feedings and change established tube feeding bags;
    • Apply sequential compression devices;
    • Assist patients in and out of Continuous Passive Motion machines;
    • Bladder scanning;
    • Interrupt and re-establish nasogastric (NG) suction;
    • Newborn hearing screening;
    • Placing electrodes/leads and running electrocardiogram (EKG);
    • Placing electrodes/leads for telemetry;
    • Remove cast in non-emergent situations;
    • Set up traction equipment;
    • Suction oral pharynx;
    • Testing gastric contents for occult blood or pH;
    • Testing stool for occult blood;
    • Urine dip stick testing; and
    • Reinforce use of an incentive spirometer.
    Change dressing or ostomy appliance/bag that adheres to the skin;
    • Discontinue foley catheter;
    • Measure, record and/or empty output from drainage devices and
    closed drainage systems;
    • Obtain rectal swab;
    • Obtain sterile urine specimen from port of catheter; and
    • Perform clean intermittent straight catheterization for chronic conditions.• Data gathering skills:
    (i) Collect clean-catch urine specimen;
    (ii) Perform tests on urine specimens;
    (iii) Empty, measure, and record output from drainage devices;
    (iv) Perform hemocult test for occult blood;
    (v) Perform capillary blood glucose (CBGs); and
    (vi) Bladder scanning.
    • Designated tasks:
    (i) Apply pediculicides;
    (ii) Turn oxygen on and off at predetermined, established flow
    (iii) Change simple, nonsterile dressings using aseptic technique
    when no wound debridement or packing is involved;
    (iv) Clean ostomy sites and change dressings or appliances for
    established, non-acute ostomies;
    (v) Apply topical over-the-counter creams and ointments for
    prophylactic treatment of skin conditions;
    (vi) Discontinue foley catheters;
    (vii) Perform clean intermittent straight urinary catheterization
    for chronic conditions;
    (viii) Insert over-the-counter vaginal suppositories and vaginal
    (ix) Assist with incentive spirometer;
    (x) Suction oral pharynx;
    (xi) Interrupt and re-establish suction (with the exception of
    chest tubes)

    This is only 80 hours of additional training past CNA1.They do not pass meds, unless they also take the very short CMA course as well. Not passing meds is the biggest difference between and CNA 2 and a Certified Medical Assistant and an LPN in the state of Oregon.

    In Washington state- I do not know about the Certified Medical Assistant laws- but I do know they regard LPNs a bit higher. They also do not have a CNA2. RATHER, you do a self study nurse delegation course and take a quick test. This allows you to work in the hospital and pass meds. They can not do as much as am Oregon CNA 2 though.

    That being said some of you LPNS and RNs need to climb off your high horse. Not sure the states you work in, but in Oregon you wouldn’t be able to do your job without your aides. I think CNAs should be called nurses OR certified nurses (drop the assistant). But I also think RNs should be called RNs (and should only get the RN title once they complete their BSN. Until they hold a BSN, they should be called LPNs or Associate Nurses or something. And the 9-16 month LPN programs just need to be factored out.)

    • Olivia says:

      I live in FL in which our RN licenses carry over to most states. BSN is only a few more online classes which most nurses do while working under an AN after the graduate. If MA’s would like more credit then simply go back to school. I’ve read several comments here from MA’s speaking of the length of their program. It’s not about the length of the program, but about the clinical hrs and the hefty NCLEX that nurses are required to pass after all of the grueling class time clinical hrs. Also, if you make a mistake, it’s not your certification that’s affected, it’s that nurse’ license.

    • carmel maalouf says:

      When I graduated it was a 3-year hospital-based program called a diploma program, but we were taking care of actual patients within 2 months of starting school, not the 2 years in most BSN program. Our school was more highly selective than other BSN programs and %100 of our class passed our state boards.What we did not have were a few English comp courses. We had all our science, psych, ethics at a private catholic college. Now the program is a 2-year associate’s to 4 year BSN with an option to get a masters NP after that. I think in practice what you learn in preparing for national certification in your specialty is more important for your practice than learning some of the public health and management that BSN. degrees entail (I am MSN. prepared). Way back 40 years ago they thought that the only way people could believe that nurses were professionals was to make them go through a 4-year degree based program of study. It is just recently that the hospital in which I worked has made the commitment to having all RN.s get that 4-year degree as a Magnet hospital. Patients are sicker and the care involves more technical training and in-depth understanding of pathophysiology, ethics, and nurse practice acts and legalities but I can say truthfully much of this knowledge is certification based and based on each nurse’s commitment to patients and career.

    • Christina says:

      You do realize that the vast majority of the “skills” you listed are setting things up for the RN to complete whatever task needs to be done? If you want to be called a nurse, go get a nursing degree and take the NCLEX. If you were truly proud to be a medical assistant, you wouldn’t be making such a ridiculous argument.

  21. John-117 says:

    Plain and simple a CNA and CMA are not nurses. I don’t know why people are arguing over this. The training and education are worlds apart. I don’t care how dedicated a CMA or CNA is to their job, it doesn’t earn them the credentials of another profession. If a CMA or CNA wants to be a nurse they need to go to nursing school. If they claim to be a nurse, they need to be disciplined, especially if they are practicing nursing without a license.

  22. Penny says:

    Wow. Just wow. As a nationally certified medical assistant working for 4 years in a practice with 11 other nurses here in Georgia, this animosity amazes me. I am currently the only NCMA working in a neurology practice with 10 LPNs and 1 RN. We also have 4 NPs, a PA, a DO, several MDs and a couple of our MDs also have a PhD. One of our MDs is actually also a pharmacist. I did my externship with this practice and at that time, there were 2 other MAs working there too. They offered me a job after I graduated and passed my certification exam. I’ve been there ever since, working side by side with all of the LPNs. I do the exact same job as they do. I’m sure I make less than they do because I’m “an MA and not a nurse”, but what has struck me as quite odd is that while talking with these nurses and getting to know them, especially when we hire a new nurse that has just graduated themselves, is that my clinical training in school seems more in depth than theirs. I went to school for 2 years and had a very hard exam to pass with a rigorous externship to get through just like the LPNs, but I was taught how to give injections. I was also taught phlebotomy. We practiced on each other and dummy arms while in school. We were taught correct placement and lots and lots and lots of math to make sure we knew how to calculate to give correct dosages. I was also taught medical law and ethics and pharmacology. Most people don’t realize that they don’t teach all of this in nursing school for LPNs. The only RN we have in the office does our IV infusions and she was once a medical assistant herself, for 7 years before she decided to go back to school and get her RN. We have nothing but mad love and respect for each other. The only thing I can’t do that the LPNs in my office can do, is start an IV. And they don’t even do that. There’s only one LPN that I work with that actually can do it. And she only covers for the RN when she is out. The others, some who have been nurses for years, don’t know how. I was also trained in billing and coding and transcription and a ton of other administrative duties, so I’m cross trained, where LPNs are not. I actually have more in depth, more extensive training than our LPNs. I assist in procedures, administer medications, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes I feel under appreciated or looked over because someone acts like “oh she’s just an MA” but I get to smile on the inside every time one of those “nurses” has to ask me how to do something. I know how hard I worked in school to be able to do the job I do. Just like I know how hard every nurse worked for the same thing. Medical assistants are paid less than nurses, in most places, and don’t usually get the respect they deserve. At least that’s the way it is here in my neck of the woods. And judging by this post, it’s worse than I thought.

    • Olivia says:

      The difference is not only the education between a CMA vs LPN and RN but the liability. That’s why there is a license in place, thus if you make a mistake, it’s on that nurses’ license, not your certification.

      • Rob says:

        Good point. MA need to be supervised by a medical professional. But just because they are dependent employees of a medical organization, it does not mean that they are protected from being sued or even exonerated from liability in a malpractice. A healthy medical organization works properly when all the individuals are focused on providing care, communicate with one another and know their limitations. Animosity towards each other is not healthy anywhere, let alone in an organization that must work together to save lives.

    • Proud MA says:

      As a medical assistant for 10 years, I totally agree with this statement. I’ve seen plenty of nurses screw up and ask me for help. I’ve seen them ask questions when the answer was clearly in the chart, but because they’re going by the book and not by experience they can’t see the obvious. I work in a large OBGYN office staffed with only medical assistant, clinical and administrative. Not only do we know the back-office clinical version, we also know front office administrative collection and billing. I’ve also taken anatomy and physiology 1 and 2, pathophysiology, medical billing and coding, law and ethics, medical terminology as well as my prerequisite classes. With my college background as well as my 10 years of clinical front and back office experience, I am honored to be called a medical assistant. I do sometimes correct my patients when they call me a Nurse or when they ask me am I a nurse, I let them know that I am a medical assistant, but I do not correct physicians when they address me as their nurse. I choose to be a medical assistant because I have the enjoyment of having my clinical hours of 9 to 5 and having my weekends and holidays off. The article it very childish and to be honest our checks let us know we are not nurses.

      • Francesca says:

        ProudMA you have written a great comment. To the point and factual. No nasties, just plain old run of the mill, boring everyday facts. People need to get over themselves, their egos. People like you, multitaskers, are the type of person that make great NURSES. Keep up the good work and the good attitude.

    • Sue Brennan says:

      People, stop getting your panties in a bunch! If you’re a MA and proud of it, good for you! The issue here is with MAs and CNAs who go around claiming to be something they’re not! I know a person who dropped out of nursing school in one state, moved to another, and worked as a nurse for years in a private practice. When I called her out on it, she said no one ever checked her credentials; they just took her word for it. So, for years she pretended to be an LPN, but now she claims to me (because I know the truth) that she’s a “GPN”, claiming she graduated from nursing school, but didn’t get her license, and that it’s perfectly legal to call herself a nurse, but I know she’s lying.
      So, this nurse is only taking issue with those medical professionals who claim to be something they are not. If you’re an MA, stop saying you’re a nurse. It’s just rude, wrong, and illegal. I am so sick of hearing her say “I should know, I’m a nurse” when I know she’s not. I am considering turning her in, but she hasn’t actually worked as a nurse in the last 5 years, so the point is probably moot. She still, however, insists she’s a nurse to everyone she meets, and it’s just an outright lie.

  23. Rob says:

    This is very sad. Someone even defended her “condescending” stance too.

    I understand your frustration and respect the California laws. But not all states have the same laws either. I think your attitude is misguided. Many MA refer themselves as nurses because colloquially people call anyone that is not a doctor, a nurse. If they try to explain their positions, it often creates confusion or even trouble (when a patient declines protocol until they see who they want). Some patients come from other countries (even in english speaking countries, the terms change) where the position may not exist.

    MAs are not out there planning on stealing your jobs. You have your hard earned degree and experience that they simply cannot compete with. However, it is also true that MAs have ALSO earned their technical degree through hard work and tears. Not everyone is afforded with your opportunities. My mother is a MA who has worked under the supervision of several doctors for 40 plus years. She has a lot of wisdom and experience that she shares with new doctors and knows how to make her medical organization successful and profitable. Many M.D. alumni have invited her to their new practices because they truly appreciated her professionalism. (She’s not out bad mouthing other professionals either). As I mentioned, she was not afforded with the opportunity to go to a more advanced nursing school. But as a single mother, she was successful to afford me with the opportunity to pursue my two master degrees, one being in organizational behavior.

    Listen, you are LPNs, LVNs, or RNs. You are all nurses (yes, I read the part where it is regulated in California) but your “LP, LV, & registered” are titles that no one can take away. If you think that the broad term “nurse” is overused, or misused, then have your government entity REGULATE the term. Punish people to call you and only you a nurse and punish those who call themselves a nurse. Seem a bit drastic? Well, it certainly is not how you build a healthy community either. If you talk down to your support team and they leave, you will be expected to do a lot more of the “low work ” to make up for it. So perhaps, voice your frustration a bit differently.

    As a NURSE, you will experience a lot of the ego, chauvinist, “glass ceilings” and hierarchical obstacles that exists in the medical field. Why would you want to create more? There are more important things to deal with than repeating the cycle of condescending behaviors.

    If a MA introduces himself as a nurse to a patient, go ahead and correct, but do it in a way that is not condescending. If it happens several times, document it. But I assure you, if you correct with respect, they will respect you back.

  24. Chris says:

    Wow ,this is why medical assistants think its OK to call themselves nurses.Most medical assistant programs are not two years many are 6-9 months.Some have just on the job training.The problem are the city school and tech schools that want to sell their program.They make it a two year degree and it give the perception that you are similar to a nurse.I run into many MA’s state they have the same two year degree that an RN does.It’s not ,if it was then why are not hospitals,walk in centers ,home health organizations using MA’s. There are need’s for MA’s ,however they are not even close to being a professional Nurse. Just because you have a degree(you can have a degree in basket weaving at the community college ‘s or tech school) it does not mean your prepared the same.These programs take these students money and tell them they will be like nurses and when they get out and graduate they are struck with a 15,000 dollar bill and are making only a few dollars more an hour they would have made without the MA education. I have seen several MA graduates work for 1 year and go back to work where they worked before going through the MA classes. A RN is a step up and any MA that states it is not ,look at the pay,the organizations,the scope ,the dynamic education ladder,the professional liability and the professional duties related to RN’s.An Ma cannot function without M\D ,RN,NP or PA supervision.If you want to be a nurse go back to school and go through a legitimate RN program. Next will be the CNA two year degree program,I am sure someone offers this somewhere!!!Any one can offer a MA program and unfortunately many people think it is an easy backdoor entry to the nursing field and when they start working they realize they have been duped!!!

  25. adchappell says:

    This whole debate is ridiculous! It is obvious that each have their roles and all are important to patient care. What matters most is how the law and government define each title and each scope of practice. Well meaning or not neither the MA, CNA, RN, LVN, LPN, etc can use their titles interchangeably. So lets stop being prideful and taking offense when truth is spoken. Really?

  26. Bk says:

    I am an MA and im proud of it. I would not call myself an RN because that is not my job. However, we do have a pretty demanding job. Ive worked for an endocrinologist for almost 4 years. I instruct patients (many of our patients are nurses) on how to properly give insulin injections, testosterone injections, how to use a glucometer, insulin pump training, putting on and downloading CGMS, phlebotomy, running US machine, etc. I do not claim to be anything other than an MA. I am damn proud of it. It shouldn’t threaten you or your position because i have the upmost respect for nurses in the hospital. So one would think that nurses in the hospital would have some respect for the MA in the office. These are 2 completely different jobs.

  27. Lynn Decker says:

    I have been an RN for over 40 years, so I have seen many changes over the years. I have a relative who is a surgical tech-she knows the name and the look of surgical instruments and knows which instrument to pass to the physician in what order. For years she has been calling herself a nurse for many years. Her rationale is that she takes care of patiients. She just does not understand that just because she is in the room while a patient is having surgery, she is caring for the patient. I cannot remember the last time that I was taken care of in a doctor’s office by an RN. An MA works a whole lot cheaper than an RN. Either the MAs I have run into never took a pharmacology class or they have forgotten what they learned. It is a little scary when I, as the patient, have to spell the name of my meds and explain what they are for. Another issue is that after working 40 years in various ERs, I made the erroneously assumption that I would get a job in a doctor’s office or clinic. I certainly was surprised to find no jobs available because MDs would prefer to hire a young lady (cause they usually are) who has 6 months of school, being taught technical skills, some of which are online classes or for profit schools. They are taught the how but not the why, what to watch for as far as adverse effects. So hence, I do NOT agree with MAs who call themselves nurses and it is an insult to nurses..

  28. Christina says:

    I am a school nurse and am frequently asked by students if I help the nurse. I’m split between two schools while I have 1 clinic aide at each school full time. What do you think of a clinic aide calling them self a nurse? It makes me mad, and principal and teachers do it too! That’s why I call the teacher assistants ” teachers”… yes I’m petty.
    Oh I have said something before but I was told the children don’t know the difference Between the two and we shouldn’t have to keep correcting them.

  29. Lg0214 says:

    Ok so you say that MAs can perform ANY and ALL duties an RN or LPN can? I think not. Can you insert foleys? Can you push meds like fentnyl, dilaudid, epi, sodium bicarbonate, or any other ACLS medications? Can you suction traches or do nasopharyngeal suctioning? Can you insert NG tubes? Can you start cardizem drips, insulin drips, heparin drips, or nitro drips? I’m not saying that MAs cannot perform nursing care for a patient. I am not saying you are not educated, but to say that you can do any and all things an RN or LPN can is just wrong. As a former PCA (patient care assistant) I have the highest respect for all people involved in giving care to patients. We should work in coordination with each other but we should NEVER claim to be able to do things that are out of our scope of practice. I feel like if you are an RN you should call yourself an RN, if you are a PCA or CNA you should refer to yourself as such, and if you are an MA then you should use YOUR specific title given to you upon certification. I agree that the term nurse is not “owned” by RNs. We all perform some sort of nursing care to patients. There are MANY aspects of nursing and not just RNs are involved in providing that care, but there has to be clarification for patients that do not understand the difference in our education and areas of expertise. No one should lead patients to believe their knowledge and ability in practice is greater than it is. Not only is it unsafe it’s unfair to the patients that trust us. At the end of the day we are responsible for ourselves and our licenses…we need to be sure we use our appropriate titles regardless of what type of nursing care we provide.

  30. Maria G. CMA (AAMA) LRT says:

    I am a proud Certified Medical Assistant with Limited Radiographer License. I am often called a nurse by patients and I kindly remind them that I am not a nurse but a CMA. I appreciate all the differences in our scopes of practice. I looked into nursing before going to college to become a MA and I realized nursing wasn’t for me. I love being a CMA as most of my patients are ambulatory and I love working in clinics where you can see multi generations of families and build relationships with your patients. I appreciate the very important roles of RNs CNAs etc. When I was in school I was strongly encouraged to never misrepresent myself as we need to educate others of all the different roles in patient care. I know many providers also struggle with this as in PA-Cs and ARNP vs DOs and MDs. I get it we all had schooling and are different that is what makes health care so exciting, it is forever changing and growing. I am a proud CMA and I respect nurses whether CNA, LPN, RN, RN-BSN.

  31. Barb says:

    I am an RN with 31 years of experience. I work in psych. The problem I’m having is that the LPTs (Licensed Psychiatric Technicians) I work with call themselves nurses as well. We all work in the “nursing department” including the Medical assistants. I make way more money than the others, but management makes no distinction between the roles ( except the MA’s can’t do many of the tasks the others with a license can do). LPTs are in their own distinct category and extremely important but have little if any training or education in the medical department. Management allows them to do all the same duties as the RN; interpreting labs, educating patients about health issues,and even has them doing admission assessments and care plans. (Completely wrong by the way….because they’re not trained properly for these duties that require more critical thinking skills and judgment like an RN is). I didn’t go to school and develop years of experience to be shown no respect for my RN license. I can show my supervisor the scope of practice for LVN and LPT but it wouldn’t matter. They may not perform assessments in my state or develop the care plan by making nursing diagnoses and giving interventions. I was appalled when an LVN and then an LPT flat out refused to do something I kindly assigned to them and for a good reason. But management doesn’t allow me to delegate, make assignments, or use my unique skills and education and therefore no room to advance whatsoever. That’s why I’m quickly moving on to another company who actually values me for what I am…a Registered Nurse. This company will drown when survey time comes around in a couple of months. No use fighting a losing battle here…

  32. Marissa says:

    Being called a nurse instead of a medical assistant is in no way shape or form a “slap in the face” because there is no such thing as “taking the extra effort” because there are many different types of nurses and they are no more important than an MA. It is also not illegal because we’re referred to as nurses by patients quite often. What you stated is disrespectful to medical assistants because this article makes it seem as if we don’t know as much or we didn’t have as good an education as a nurse.

  33. Angel says:

    So newbie here. I have a goal to be a phlebotomist…then medical assistant…to back me up in my psychology field. Im about to finish my masters in pychology in 2 months. I chose that in the future i will be a medical assistant so i would be well rounded in my knowledge. If something ever happened to ppl i work with in the future, my psychology knowledge and medical knowledge could save someones life. This post was very informational on how the world is. My mom was a CNA for years so i know the struggle. However, patients and clients are the most important reason for joining the healthcare field. If you are gonna be a CMA, be the best damn CMA you can be. If you gonna be a RN, LPN, AN, or BSN, be the damn best at it you can. Alert patients in the nicest way what you are there to help them with, what your title is, and be proud to work with a team of your colleagues working together to achieve the goal of helping others.

  34. Michelee says:

    I am new to Florida. However, in establishing medical care for a recent melanoma diagnosis I have discovered that it is common practice for Medical Assistants to be presented as a “nurse”. Not only do the providers tell you, you will have an appointment with a nurse, but then this particular provider also text message’s and emails the same information. Imagine how surprised you are as a Registered Nurse of 20 years, to get seen by a Medical Assistant. I contact the provider who referred me to the surgeon’s office and speak with the Nursing supervisor. While speaking with the Nursing supervisor, I find out that this person is actually a Medical Assistant! I worked my hind end off to attain not only my ADN, but then my BSN, and studied long and hard to pass the NCLEX, to attain my nursing license, only for people to just come along and claim the title of nurse as a Medical Assistant! WOW! That is not just a slap in the face, it is misleading, and misrepresentative of care. I read a response from someone else that this article is disrespectful to Medical Assistants! Wow, no Miss, it is disrespectful to represent yourself as a Nurse when you are not a Nurse. It does not matter how good your education was as a Medical Assistant. You did not go through nursing school, and you are not licensed as a nurse. You did not earn the title of nurse unless you did, and to say you are a nurse when you are not in fact licensed as such is a misrepresentation of your skillset, and education, and IS disrespectful to Nurses everywhere around the world. It should also be illegal, but I am discovering unfortunately that it has become standard practice in the state of Florida. This tells me that licensed Nurses are not respected as a profession in this state.

    • kingnotkane says:

      To Michelee – in Florida, it is illegal to identify or present yourself as a “nurse” if you are not licensed as an RN or LPN/LVN. Florida Nurse Practice Act Title 32, Chapter 464, Part 1. Your medical providers might need a gentle reminder to be more honest, or to be informed about the law, regarding the roles they assign their staff. I’m an RN with 33 years experience. We all have our duties, we all have our titles. Just do the best job you can (being mindful of your legal scope of practice), so you can be proud of any title you possess.

  35. Anne says:

    Let’s put it this way: CNAs–if you wanted to become a nurse and call yourself a nurse, you needed to go to nursing school, not CNA school. CNAs, while providing a necessary service, are not nurses.

    If you want to be a nurse and to call yourself a nurse, then go to school for nursing. Calling yourself a nurse when you are not opens the door for lawsuits. It IS a crime to professionally pose as something you are not.

  36. L says:

    Before I went to university to become an RN, I attended a certified school to become a Medical Assisistant. I also worked in various settings as a CMA before becoming & working as an RN. Bottom line… There is a huge difference between a Medical Assistant and an RN, from knowledge base to responsibility. Don’t kid yourselves MA’s! Go to school for your RN degree & license and you will change your tune. I also became an EMT prior to both MA & RN schooling. There are bigger differences between all than there are similarities.

  37. L says:

    P.S. I should also mention there is more to being a Registered nurse than tasks, which is basically what Medical Assistants do. RN’s are trained to be analytical in patient care, and base our observations etc. on determining a nursing diagnosis and Careplan for
    The patient.

  38. RM says:

    Interesting, because all the talk now is that nurses go to nursing school and then their whole goal is to call themselves doctors by obtaining a “doctorate” degree but instead of telling patients they are doctors of nursing they prefer to just call themselves doctors, do you think that could be confusing for a patient who wants to know exactly what type of training their healthcare provider has? The training is completely different. Maybe she should start harping on those in her own field of nursing about this instead of trying to call out medical assistants.

  39. Kim says:

    I’m a CMA in a family practice office. We recently hired a girl who is still in college completing her RN. She has not taken her boards yet, or graduated from the RN program, she is telling patients and using the RN title on some patient paperwork. What are my options to address this? I know this is illegal. She has also used the RN title when calling insurance companies to get authorization for patients procedures.

  40. H. Henderson says:

    I work for an office that has around 8-10 employees that they directly call nurses in front of the patients….. This would not be a problem if not for the fact that only one of them is a certified Nurse. We are MA’s. Two are actual CMA’s. Most of us have lot’s of experience but I feel very uncomfortable when the Doctor will say “My nurse will be in shortly to show you this, do this, prescribe this, etc”. What do you recommend I do? How do I approach the Doctor and the Manager? I love my job. But I do not wish to miss-represent those who have studied further than my Associates.

  41. Lorenzo says:

    As a registered nurse with his BSN in nursing I have no issue with the fact that SOME medical assistants consider themselves Nurses. I don’t even know why this article was written, their is no educational facts, just someone who probably has an issue with a M.A. at their hospital. Medical Assistants in my experience of 14 years, do every amount of work a Nurse does and sometimes more. You could of tried to see from their point of view. Though their are close-minded people in every profession.

    • Kelly D says:

      I am a medical assistant and I think the problem is that we are skilled in pt care but we are just assistants. I think that medical assistants should be called medical nursing assistants. I think that this would be a welcome change. We do work hard and we are cross trained in a lot of different things. I the practice i was in i did front office as well as clinical duties. Plus i performed fibo scans and worked in recovery along with LPNs. I have recently found out that in my state of WV, we can also place IVs unser Dr supervisor. Bit anyway my point is that we are trained in a lot of different areas and I believe we deserve to be called Medical Nursing Assistants.

  42. Val says:

    Personally, I take issue with the CNA, MA, and PCT, which I have encountered, referencing themselves as a nurse because they lack the experience to critically think allowing for life saving decisions. There is a big difference when the nurse inserts an indwelling catheter as oppose to supportive staff who still refers to as a foley insertion. The nurse is assessing that skill as it relates to all other systems…..the supportive staff is task oriented. They don’t consider pressure gradients nor take in consideration the risk for aspiration for someone who should not be supine for an extended period of time. I am not down playing what they do as a whole but the fact of the matter is the Registered Nurse is a highly skilled professional….with the inferences on highly skilled. As for those of you who think they are doing just as much if not more than the nurse, THINK AGAIN!

  43. Macey says:

    I’ve gone to hospitals where MA treat me and my family better than a nurse. Some nurses aren’t even in it for the patients just the title . If you so concerned about other professions and other people’s titles you are in it for the wrong reasons. MA work really hard just as hard as nurses. Only difference between nurses and MA’s is nursing are CNA’s and MA’s mushed together . I’m so sick of stuck up nurses talking bad or talking down to other professions. It’s not okay. You go into a health care profession to help people and care for them not for a title and def not to put others down for their title.

  44. anonymous says:

    If you are a REGISTERED NURSE, a LICENSED VOCATIONAL/PRACTICAL NURSE, or a NURSE PRACTITIONER you can call yourself a “NURSE” legally, ethically and morally. If you are not one of these, you are something else. Use your correct title. If you want to be called something other than what you are, GO TO THE TROUBLE OF OBTAINING THE SCHOOLING AND LICENSE NECESSARY TO USE THAT TITLE. Nurses are not Physicians. Medical ASSISTANTS are not Physicians or Nurses; regardless of whether or not you are Certified. Nursing ASSISTANTS are not Physicians or Nurses; regardless of whether or not you are Certified. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU ARE THE SMARTEST HUMAN ON THE PLANET!!!!! If you have not obtained a license in a particular field of study, you are not legally qualified to practice as such nor purport yourself as such. GET A GRIP!!! There is a reason we have “NURSING ASSISTANTS” Nurses often need assistance to give the best care possible. Physicians need assistance to give the best care possible and that is why we have a multitude of HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONS AND PRACTICES. I would hope that all of you do your very best WITHIN YOUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE every single day of your career. Patients do not need you to come to work to prove you are the “SMARTEST HUMAN ON THE PLANET”. They need you to perform YOUR role in their care in the best way possible. They don’t need the nurse practicing medicine. They don’t need the CNA or CMA performing the role of the RN. They need YOU to perform YOUR responsibilities in a competent manner.

  45. Teresa Bright RMA CWCA says:

    I find it this interesting, because if we are to look up the word nurse in the dictionary it states, ” a person trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital.” That being said we are not to introduce our self’s as RN’s, however nurse is meant to be a blanket term for caregiver. At least this is how I take it. Correct me if I am wrong because I have long thought that RN’s have taken a slang term as their title. I am proud to be a RMA CWCA and support pt’s and staff.

  46. RIRI says:

    If you have to take the NCLEX, you should call yourself a nurse. Otherwise, you are not a nurse!

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