When most people hear the term "medical assistant," they think about a nurse. Even though nurses and medical assistants can take on many of the same tasks in their workplaces, they are not the same people in the slightest. Before you jump into a medical career along these lines, you may want to make sure you know what each position is going to consist of. That way you can determine which one is right for you. Here is a look at the difference between medical assistants and nurses so you cab find your true path in life.
What Nurses Do
Nurses are responsible for patient care at a minute level. They check vital signs, administer medication, answer basic questions, and watch over patients under their care. They do not do any sort of examination like a doctor would, but they do work directly with the health of a patient. Without nurses, doctors would be on call 24 hours a day to monitor the patients they care for. Nurses are needed to do all of the little tasks that make a doctor's job easier when he or she comes to work.
What Medical Assistants Do
Medical assistants take on the clerical duties in healthcare. They are in charge of organizing documents, scheduling appointments, and making sure that patients get to where they need to be. Some medical assistants will check vital signs like a nurse would, but they mainly do the secretarial tasks in their place of work. Nurses write down the documents that medical assistants file away. That is an easy way to remember the difference between the two workers. Don't let the term "assistant" fool you. Medical assistants don't do much with regards to patient care.
Differences in Education
A medical assistant does not necessarily have to have an education related to the medical field. As long as he or she has a business administration background and some knowledge of medical terminology, he or she can get a job. Nurses have to go to school specifically for nursing. They cannot stray from a medically based education. Both workers may end up in the same environment, but their roles within that environment change the education they have to pursue. If you want to learn more about the business side of the medical field, medical assistance would be the right path for you.
Both educational programs only take two years to complete at the base level, so there is no major difference in commitment between the jobs. If you want to get into work quickly, either one of these programs should allow you to do that. Thus the only thing you have to determine is what you want to do at work in the future. This will help you decide which career is ultimately going to be ideal for you.
Getting the Best of Both Worlds
In some cases, you may be able to act as both a nurse and a medical assistant for an establishment if you have a good education. This will require you to take business courses and nursing courses in college, but it would allow you to work in both roles at once. This is not an ideal pursuit for everyone, but it could be right for you. You just have to think about what you want out of your life.
Take the time to really assess these career options, and determine which one you think you would do well in. You should be on your way to a rewarding career in no time.