So, you’ve been looking into medical field occupations but are confused by the differences between medical assistants and nurses. While both jobs are extremely important to the smooth running of a hospital or doctor’s office, they both come with different duties, tasks, and responsibilities. To start off the explanation, it is important to note that a nurse is higher up on the responsibility list than a medical assistant, therefore a nurse will be able to do everything that a medical assistant can and more, while a medical assistant will be restricted in certain health care responsibilities. When you’re considering what you would like to do, it is important to know the differences between the two occupations and come to an understanding of what a nurse can do that a medical assistant cannot. From there, you can decide which field you feel best suits you and the way you would like to involve yourself in the medical field.
Here are some duties and tasks that a nurse can do that a medical assistant cannot.
More Advanced Patient Care
While medical assistants are able to look after patients and provide patient care, they are not able to do so in the extent that nurses are able to. Medical assistants are only allowed to care for patients when they work under the direct supervision of a doctor or a registered nurse. That means at no time can a medical assistant be working with assessing a patient by themselves. A registered nurse on the other hand is able to do this by themselves, as they are working under their own individual license. According to https://medassisting.org/ma-to-lpn/, nurses are able to assess the patient to provide further information to the doctor, while a medical assistant is not able to assess a patient by themselves. The nurse is generally the bridge between a medical assistant and doctor, as they will find themselves doing many of the tasks a medical assistant would do, but also doing more advanced work with a patient similar to that of a doctor, until the doctor comes to take over. If you’ve ever been left alone with someone who proceeds to assess you, you have been with a nurse and not a medical assistant.
Admitting and Discharging Patients
A major difference between medical assistants and nurses is that nurses are allowed to discharge and admit patients from hospitals and physician offices, depending the severity, while medical assistants are not allowed to. When considering the health of an individual and deeming if they are fit to go home or be admitted into the hospital, it is vital to look at all symptoms and perhaps hidden symptoms. Nurses, with the advice of other medical professionals, are allowed to evaluate all the facts presented to them and make an opinion whether or not the patient that is in their care is fit to go home. No matter the circumstances, a medical assistant cannot admit you into a hospital or discharge you, even if they have been told to do so by a higher medical authority. You must wait until the nurse comes to provide information about your discharge.
Interpret Patient Info, Make Decisions and Manage Flow
Both a nurse and a medical assistant will find them collecting information regarding the medical history of the patient to create their chart for the visit. From there, however, the nurse is able to interpret the patient info and make decisions on the form of treatment that they would need while a medical assistant is not able to do this at all. Along with this, not only is the nurse responsible for interpreting the health of the individual and ensuring their safety, they are also tasked with interpreting the health of their team around them and making sure that they are all healthy. A medical assistant’s responsibilities in this department end in creating the chart, and from there they must pass that information on to a nurse or doctor who will respond accordingly to it.
Nurses have more responsibility in the hospital and doctor’s office than a medical assistant. By giving them this extra responsibility, they are able to help the office move quicker, as they are able to perform basic tasks the doctor would be required to. When looking into both occupations, you need to ask yourself what job you would prefer and if the extra responsibility is something that you would want to take on. Regardless of the choice you make, both jobs are rewarding in their own sense, they just come with different tasks. Are you ready to take on the responsibilities of a nurse?