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Medical Assistant vs Certified Nursing Assistant – Compare & Contrast

Medical Assistant or Nursing Assistant: What’s the difference between?

Confusing the occupations of a medical assistant and certified nursing assistant is a very common mistake. While their jobs may seem similar, the range of their responsibilities and areas they can work are dramatically different.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are able to interact with a larger group of people, including physicians, healthcare professionals, staff and numerous patients, throughout the day. Their responsibilities require them to multitask as they are expected to perform a variety of both clinical and administrative duties, such as taking vital signs, greeting patients, managing medical records, explaining procedures and treatments to patients, scheduling, billing, and ordering lab testing.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

In contrast, certified nursing assistants spend most of their day providing direct patient care for a small number of patients. They provide bedside care including bathing, dressing, serving meals, eating, making beds, taking vital signs, and administering care and medication. They also rarely interact with the physician and, instead, work closely with registered nurses. People who want to advance into nursing careers usually begin their work as a certified nursing assistant.

In Conclusion

The major difference between medical assistants and certified nursing assistants is the environments in which they work. Medical assistants work in facilities alongside physicians such as hospitals, medical clinics, and surgical or outpatient care facilities. Certified nursing assistants, however, work in settings where a doctor may not be present such as nursing homes and home healthcare facilities, and report to registered nurses or licensed practical nurses.

If you are interested in making medical assisting your career, check out our medical assisting programs in Lawrence or Kansas City.