Are you considering a career in the medical field, but you are not sure whether to be a medical assistant or nursing assistant? These two careers can be confusing, especially when you are not sure about each professional’s roles.
The debate about medical assistant vs nursing assistant has been running for decades, and you need to know the difference. The difference between a medical assistant and a nursing assistant can be best explained based on their roles in the medical field.
Although both professionals work with nurses and patients, they do not perform the same duties. However, their services are needed in every medical facility.
This guide helps you understand what each one of them does and how to become one.
What a Medical Assistant Does
The main responsibility of a medical assistant is to complete administrative tasks in the doctor’s offices. They also carry out the same tasks in other departments in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. Their duties vary depending on the office they are working in and the medical facility’s services.
The roles of a medical assistant include the following:
- Preparing treatment rooms
- Scheduling appointment
- Handling lab specimens
- Administering medications
- Keeping patient records
During training, medical assistants are equipped with skills to work in the back and front office. However, some of them chose to specialize, so they may only work on administrative or clinical tasks. For back office medical assistants, duties such as drawing blood and examining patients are part of their daily schedule.
What a Nursing Assistant Does
These medical workers are also called nurse aides because they provide basic care and support nurses in hospitals and clinics. Unlike medical assistants, their job is more physical, and that is why they are some of the busiest people in a medical facility. They often perform duties such as bathing patients, moving them and monitoring their progress.
It is easy to spot a nursing assistant than a medical assistant when you walk into a nursing facility. It is because they are all over the place answering patients’ call signals and performing a wide range of duties. These duties include the following.
- Repositioning bedridden patients
- Help patients who cannot perform daily living activities
- Monitor food intake
- Monitor fecal and urinary output
Nursing assistants are more involved with patients than medical assistants, and therefore, they should have special patient management skills. They should also be more attached to the patients to understand their needs. Sometimes, they spend a lot of time with patients providing care services.
Job Outlook for Medical Assistants
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists medical assisting as one of the fastest-growing careers in the country and is likely to employ more people in the near future. The bureau attributes this growth to the growing number of seniors who need medical and non-medical care. They also say that the increased usage of technology in healthcare is a leading factor in this expansion.
The bureau expects an increase in the number of physician offices across the country. Outpatient facilities are also sprouting fast, an indication that more medical assistants are needed. They estimate that at least 140,000 new jobs will be created in this industry by the year 2024.
Job Outlook for Nursing Assistants
Like medical assisting, nursing assisting is one of the fastest-growing careers in the healthcare industry. It is because these two professions complement each other, and therefore, they are needed in equal measures.
This field is expected to grow by over 17% through 2024, according to statistics from the bureau.
The growing number of senior care homes is an indication that nursing assistants will be needed to take care of those with physical problems. For instance, they have to help them move even when they are too weak. They have to monitor their health and help them take drugs too.
Medical Assistant vs Nursing Assistant: Make a Choice
If you are thinking of becoming a nursing assistant or medical assistant, you need to know what awaits you once you are sure through with training. As stated above, these two careers are distinct, even though you will be working in the same facilities. It all starts by identifying what you are passionate about and the contribution you would like to make to the healthcare industry.
If you choose to be a medical assistant, you should have an eye for detail and be alert all the time. It is because you will be recording vital data and managing information that determines the success of treatments for patients. In addition to that, you need good analytical skills to analyze patient information from charts and other sources before making a report.
On the other hand, nursing assistants provide vital services to critically ill patients and the elderly. Because of the demand of their job, they have to be strong both physically and emotionally to withstand the conditions. These professionals often stay with patients for a long duration because they are supposed to be their caregivers.
Therefore, you can answer whether to become a medical assistant or a nursing assistant by looking at the job outlook. Check if the outlook is good for your career and if it is something that you can do for a long time. You may also want to know if you want to work in the healthcare industry for your entire career or you only want to start there and move on to other roles.
Start Your Medical or Nursing Assisting Career with Training
After knowing everything about these two professionals, you should be able to choose between medical assistant vs nursing assistant. However, you have to start by getting the skills that will help you to become a professional in this industry. Take a detailed course from a trusted source and get straight into the profession that you have always wanted.
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