Difference Between a Medical Assistant and a Nursing Assistant

Medical Assistant and Nursing Assistant are both medical careers that provide aid to patients, whether in-patient or outpatient.

Most people would think that a medical assistant and a nursing assistant have the same job description since they both work in the same place and practically give the same amount of care for each patient. But the truth is, they perform different tasks whether they are in an office or a healthcare facility.

Let us try to breakdown the difference between a Medical Assistant and a Nursing Assistant.

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Medical Assistant Training vs. Nursing Assistant Training

A medical assistant is required to complete an accredited medical assistant program, either online or through a traditional school setting. The program usually takes about one to two years combining school learning set-up and practical or hands-on training.

A nursing assistant’s training program takes about six months to couple of months to be completed. Training programs for nursing assistants are available at community colleges, technical schools and even online. Theories and clinical application are part of the training program.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant and Nursing Assistant

A medical assistant performs administrative and or clinical tasks depending on his or her training. As an administrative medical assistant, he or she performs office work such as setting appointments and welcoming patients; filing records and filling out insurance forms; and, basically making the patient comfortable while they are waiting to be seen by the physician. A clinical medical assistant works more closely with the physician. He or she helps in getting the patient’s vitals and prepares them for laboratory examination, if needed.

Nursing assistants act as a liaison between patients and nurses. They secure the patient’s vital signs to give the nurse or doctor a clear picture of what the patient may need. A nursing assistant also helps in updating the patient’s record before turning it over for coding. Accuracy is important when updating the record. It is also expected of a nursing assistant to provide bedside care for patients who are disabled or recovering from procedure. This may include, but is not limited to, bathing, feeding or serving meals and administering medication.

Medical Assistant and Nursing Assistant Work Hours

A medical assistant has a more solid work structure, usually working forty hours a week. A nursing assistant, on the other hand, works 12-hour shifts at any given time but sometimes still works even during off-time or off-schedule. This makes a nursing assistant’s work schedule irregular and hectic at times.

Medical Assistant Salary vs. Nursing Assistant Salary

The average salary of a medical assistant varies between $28,000 and $38,000 per year, working full time. A nursing assistant’s salary ranges from $51,000 to $76,000 per year, working full time.

With the abovementioned differences between a medical assistant and nursing assistant, you can now gauge which medical career will suit you best. Both require hard work and determination combined with passion to care for other people.