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Medical Assistant Nurse

When visiting a private physician's office, a patient will likely encounter both a medical assistant and registered nurse or possibly another level of nursing staff. Some people mistakenly think the two titles can be interchanged. However, these two professionals are completely different and offer different services to the patient. A nurse is a health care professional with a degree that has spent years in school to learn all the skills to properly care for their patients. A medical assistant is an entry level position that requires little to no training and they deal with the more basic aspects of patient interaction.

The first difference between a nurse and a medical assistant is the amount of education needed to do the job. Registered nurses must attend four years of post-secondary education and receive their bachelor is science in nursing from an accredited college or university. They must also pass a certification exam to be licensed to practice in the state they are in. A licensed practical nurse must complete a course in practical nursing from a technical college or community college. They must also pass a licensing exam to be able to work in the health care field. The highest ranked nurse, a nurse practitioner, must have a master’s degree or a doctorate degree and pass the appropriate licensing and certification exams before working in health care.

A medical assistant must complete a course from an accredited vocational program that takes nine to 12 months to complete and no certifications are required for a medical assistant to gain employment. Another difference is the places where the two professions work. A medical assistant typically works in a physician’s private practice. Nurses on the other hand work in a variety of health care situations. They can be found in hospitals, urgent care clinics, health departments, nursing homes and other care facilities and a doctor’s private office. Also, a medical assistant frequently works under the authority of the nurses.

Nurses are responsible for the health care and treatment of the patient. The medical assistant is generally the person who shows the patient to their exam room, interviews the patients for symptoms or concerns and medicines taken and helps them into a gown if necessary. They also maintain the records, place calls to pharmacies for prescription refills and write doctor’s notes for people who need them for school or work. In some cases, they also take the patients weight and blood pressure before seeing the doctor.