MountainPharmD

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Medical Assistant or MA –Otherwise know as the incompetent person the receptionist transfers you to when you call a Doctor concerning a prescription.

In an updated version of an article originally published by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) in 1996 and updated in 2003 it is noted that only seven states: Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, Maryland South Dakota, and Washington have specific regulations that govern a medical assistants scope of practice. In most instances an MA is allowed to perform any technical procedure not prohibited elsewhere as long as the supervision physician deems the MA properly qualified and trained to perform.

Education and training. Medical assisting programs are offered in vocational-technical high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. Formal training in medical assisting, while generally preferred, is not required. Many medical assistants are trained on the job, and usually only need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

What responsibilities can be included in a medical assistant's job description?

A. Duties vary from office to office depending on location, size and specialty.
Administrative duties may include...
· Using computer applications
· Answering telephones
· Greeting patients
· Updating and filing patient medical records
· Coding and filling out insurance forms
· Scheduling appointments
· Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
· Handling correspondence, billing and bookkeeping

Clinical duties vary by state, but may include... · Taking medical histories
· Explaining treatment procedures to patients
· Preparing patients for examination
· Assisting the physician during the exam
· Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
· Performing basic laboratory tests
· Instructing patients about medication and special diets
· Preparing and administering medications as directed by a physician
· Authorizing prescription refills as directed · Drawing blood
· Taking electrocardiograms
· Removing sutures and changing dressings
 

MountainPharmD

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Just so everyone is clear. MA’s or medical assistants make up the majority of the staff at Doctor’s offices. They are cheap and require little or no training and do not have to be certified or licensed and are only governed by a regulatory board in seven states.

A Medical Assistant can give injections, take blood, perform laboratory tests, counsel on medications and special diets, authorize refill requests and transmit or call in new prescriptions to a pharmacy. All this with minimal or no training beyond a high school diploma and a requirement to be licensed in only 7 states.

I have a huge problem with this. When you are delegating tasks to people who have little or no medical training the chances for errors skyrockets. When I call a Doctor’s office about a prescription I am almost always directed to a Medical Assistant. More times than not this person has absolutely no clue what I am talking about yet attempts to answer my question anyway. I find this very disturbing and out right dangerous. Because of the lack of regulatory and licensing requirements for MA’s guess who is left holding the bag if there is a problem or error?
 
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illegallysmooth

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I find it disturbing when anyone, no matter the title, attempts to do anything beyond their knowledge. I have had a problem several times with MAs or even receptionists attempting to answer my questions on the phone and being completely wrong.

However, I am an MA, and you should realize that even the bolded parts of your post are well within my range, and many other MA's range. It completely depends on the person. The physicians in charge should have a solid knowedge of the MAs limits and enforce those limits. The physicians or supervising nurses are really to blame in the case an MA is doing things he or she shouldn't.

I have received no formal education for this position, but I am graduating with a masters in biomedical science and my boss knew that I was applying to medical school when she hired me. I also had a year of experience as an Immediate Treatment Assistant, for which I did EKGs and drew blood regularly.

Nurses (LPNs) would frequently defer to me when parents of pediatric patients wanted to lean more about the H1N1 vaccine. My knowledge in most areas of medicine is beyond theirs. And as far as in-office lab tests go, you could train a monkey to do most of it :)
 

MountainPharmD

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I am graduating with a masters in biomedical science and my boss knew that I was applying to medical school when she hired me. I also had a year of experience as an Immediate Treatment Assistant, for which I did EKGs and drew blood regularly.
So how many MA's do you think have the qualifications you do? Nice post and I respect your opinion and experience but I am taking about the middle of the bell curve here not the extreme outliers. Most MA's have graduated from a little vo-tech school or worse only have a high school diploma and zero medical training. I find it disturbing and scary they are so poolrly regulated if regulated at all.
 

Sparda29

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Medical Assistants, I hate them with a passion. Whenever I pick up the doctor's line, I ask them if they are the physician, if they are not the physician, I tell them I'm not going to take the prescription and to transfer me to the physician.

For example, we had an incident before involving a 2 year old patient where the secretary called in a prescription.
What the MA said.

Zithromax 200 mg/5ml
Give 1 1/2 Teaspoons QID for 5 Days

The QID part immediately throws up a flag in my head. So I call back and the MA picks up the phone. I ask her to clarify the prescription and tell her what the prescription says and to clarify with the physician. She answers back, "yeah yeah, that sounds right".

I call back a second time and just ask her to let me speak to the physician. The physician corrects the order, apparently it was just 1 1/2 tsp QD for 5 days, exactly what I thought it would be. Then I hear the physician yelling at the MA about it. The MA was the physicians wife. :thumbdown:
 

MountainPharmD

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Medical Assistants, I hate them with a passion. Whenever I pick up the doctor's line, I ask them if they are the physician, if they are not the physician, I tell them I'm not going to take the prescription and to transfer me to the physician.

For example, we had an incident before involving a 2 year old patient where the secretary called in a prescription.
What the MA said.

Zithromax 200 mg/5ml
Give 1 1/2 Teaspoons QID for 5 Days

The QID part immediately throws up a flag in my head. So I call back and the MA picks up the phone. I ask her to clarify the prescription and tell her what the prescription says and to clarify with the physician. She answers back, "yeah yeah, that sounds right".

I call back a second time and just ask her to let me speak to the physician. The physician corrects the order, apparently it was just 1 1/2 tsp QD for 5 days, exactly what I thought it would be. Then I hear the physician yelling at the MA about it. The MA was the physicians wife. :thumbdown:
I have something similar to this happen at least twice a week. I had an MA who flat out told me she was not going to clarify with the Doctor, that I needed to fill the prescription as the Doctor wrote it and then she hung up on me. I do not often really lose my temper as in BP goes 200/100 I see red lose my temper, but this was one of those times. The Doctor was the one who hired the MA so when I finally got him on the phone I went off. In the end the Rx was wrong, I got the clarification and the MD apologized and said he would take care of the problem. I was so hot I had to leave the pharmacy and go sit outside.

If a Doc wants to use an MA then I think it needs to be mandatory that the are certified and licensed by the State. There should be minimum standards and qualifications to be an MA. Currently any idiot off the street can be hired to work as an MA. In fact I think most of the idiots in the world have been hired and are working as MA’s. It is scary
 

rxlea

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Good post. I am not sure about other states but, like you said, MAs are regulated here in Arizona- they have to do externships for a certain amount of hours and then get a license/certificate (not sure which). I don't think we have vocational "high schools"- only post-secondary vo-tech schools but, from what I have seen, most of the MAs go to the community colleges and get an AA.
 

illegallysmooth

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How do you propose changing the system? If someone can pass a vocational program and become an MA, they would likely be able to pass a state certification test. What additional training do you think someone needs to become an MA and do those duties - answering phones, drawing blood, etc? I've interacted with dumb MAs, yes, but also dumb nurses, pharm techs, secretaries, etc.
 

rxlea

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How do you propose changing the system? If someone can pass a vocational program and become an MA, they would likely be able to pass a state certification test. What additional training do you think someone needs to become an MA and do those duties - answering phones, drawing blood, etc? I've interacted with dumb MAs, yes, but also dumb nurses, pharm techs, secretaries, etc.
I think it is a matter of practicum hours. In the RN programs, they have to have so many hours where they follow a nurse and basically learn how to administer meds, draw blood, and everything else. They do this for, at the very least, an entire semester. I think MA should be similar. I am not sure if an MA should be doing all of those jobs (counseling patients on medication and stuff like that), especially right out of school. In my opinion, these vo-tech programs should be replaced with AA degrees from a college. It actually costs less to go to a community college and at least the standards are regulated in some way (certain credits required and certain curriculum taught in each class). Here in Arizona, the community colleges have a pretty high standard. I went to both the state university and the community college and I feel like I actually got a better education at the community college.
 

illegallysmooth

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I think it is a matter of practicum hours. In the RN programs, they have to have so many hours where they follow a nurse and basically learn how to administer meds, draw blood, and everything else. They do this for, at the very least, an entire semester. I think MA should be similar. I am not sure if an MA should be doing all of those jobs (counseling patients on medication and stuff like that), especially right out of school. In my opinion, these vo-tech programs should be replaced with AA degrees from a college. It actually costs less to go to a community college and at least the standards are regulated in some way (certain credits required and certain curriculum taught in each class). Here in Arizona, the community colleges have a pretty high standard. I went to both the state university and the community college and I feel like I actually got a better education at the community college.
Fair enough.

In general, I don't believe most MAs are doing injections or counseling pts on medication. The only medication we can administer here is albuterol/ipratropium txs. As far as "lab tests" - mostly that means strep swabs, urinalysis strips and fingersticks. Really, you could train a monkey to do most of it. The majority of the job, no matter where you go, is going to be things like vital signs, hygiene care, weights and measurements, answering the phone etc.

I agree with the OP in that MAs (and secretaries) in some cases are overextending their job duties, but I think the fault really lies with the supervising MD/DO or nurses.
 

Sparda29

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Fair enough.

In general, I don't believe most MAs are doing injections or counseling pts on medication. The only medication we can administer here is albuterol/ipratropium txs. As far as "lab tests" - mostly that means strep swabs, urinalysis strips and fingersticks. Really, you could train a monkey to do most of it. The majority of the job, no matter where you go, is going to be things like vital signs, hygiene care, weights and measurements, answering the phone etc.

I agree with the OP in that MAs (and secretaries) in some cases are overextending their job duties, but I think the fault really lies with the supervising MD/DO or nurses.
I'm fine with them answering the phone. But they should absolutely NOT relay messages between the pharmacist and the physician. If I call the physician's office, I don't want to speak to the MA, give the phone directly to the physician to answer the question. Same with calling in prescriptions, MA's should NOT be calling in prescriptions.
 

rxlea

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I'm fine with them answering the phone. But they should absolutely NOT relay messages between the pharmacist and the physician. If I call the physician's office, I don't want to speak to the MA, give the phone directly to the physician to answer the question. Same with calling in prescriptions, MA's should NOT be calling in prescriptions.
100% agreed.
 

CK8652

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Clinical duties vary by state, but may include... · Taking medical histories
· Explaining treatment procedures to patients
· Preparing patients for examination
· Assisting the physician during the exam
· Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
· Performing basic laboratory tests
· Instructing patients about medication and special diets
· Preparing and administering medications as directed by a physician
· Authorizing prescription refills as directed · Drawing blood
· Taking electrocardiograms
· Removing sutures and changing dressings
I have a buddy who is an MA and he does all of this and even gives pap smears. He sees the patient 90% of the time, relays it to the physician who goes in for a couple of minutes to talk to the patient and diagnose. If there's any kind of testing or medicine administered, he(MA) does that too. He makes $15/hr with all on the job training - almost all of the patients think that he's the doctor.

It's was kind of amazing to see the responsibilities he had at the clinic. He had more face time and got to know patients better than the doctor. I did sit in on one of his 'exams' and the patient had a BP of about 180 and he forgot to mention it in his notes to the physician. I had to remind him about it as the physician was on his way in to talk to the patient. Slightly scary.
 

rxlea

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I have a buddy who is an MA and he does all of this and even gives pap smears. He sees the patient 90% of the time, relays it to the physician who goes in for a couple of minutes to talk to the patient and diagnose. If there's any kind of testing or medicine administered, he(MA) does that too. He makes $15/hr with all on the job training - almost all of the patients think that he's the doctor.

It's was kind of amazing to see the responsibilities he had at the clinic. He had more face time and got to know patients better than the doctor. I did sit in on one of his 'exams' and the patient had a BP of about 180 and he forgot to mention it in his notes to the physician. I had to remind him about it as the physician was on his way in to talk to the patient. Slightly scary.
...Which is why it should require more education and training (IMO) OR just have it done by a nurse (which, in my state, does require an associates degree and a lot of clinical/practicum hours).
 

illegallysmooth

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You don't need anything more than on-the-job training to take vital signs or communicate information from one doc to another. That's what secretaries and unit clerks have been doing for decades, if not centuries. As a secretary in an ED, I frequently communicate lab values to the physicians and clarify orders with the pharmacy techs who call. It is in my job description to enter all hand-written orders into our computer system and make sure tests are entered to be done at the appropriate times. Of course if someone is asking something complicated or beyond my knowledge, it would be inappropriate to make sh!t up, and that goes for every single person involved with healthcare. 99% of it is crap like: "Can you add a patient identifier and re-send the orders?" and "Does the patient have their own _____ from home?" and "Can you fax over a home medication sheet?"

As far as phone calls - I guarantee you it's the doc who doesn't want to be bothered to chat on the phone with the pharmacist or scan order forms because he's supposed to be seeing a new patient every 15 minutes. They simply cannot spend their time on simple tasks like this.

There's a lack of perspective here. I feel like most people here making comments about medical assistants are not people who have spent many hours on site at the clinic or on the floor, working amongst nurses, doctors and MAs.

Forgetting to mention a BP to a doc is not a reflection of lack of training, it's being forgetful or getting sidetracked. The doctor still must look at the chart. Yesterday a nurse put a baby in a room with a 104.2 rectal temp and forgot to tell the doc about it because she was busy (of course, the doc picked up the chart 5 min later and ordered tylenol). This does not mean she needs to go back to school, it means she needs to pay more attention. Also, if the patient described before had a chronically high blood pressure every time, it wouldn't be something to alert the media over. If he's asymptomatic, it's not a hypertensive crisis. If the BP was 230/120, yes he should immediately tell the doc.

The point I'm trying to make here is that most of the day-to-day duties of an MA are not duties that require anything more than on-the-job training. Mistakes happen to everyone, but are not necessarily a reflection of poor training. When an MA (or anyone else on the site for that matter) overextends his or her duties, it's usually the supervising physician's fault for not having the time or wanting to take the time to do something (like chat on the phone).

Also, if an associate's degree is REQUIRED for this kind of work, you eliminate the most highly qualified people - pre-medical students and nursing students. Very few of them would have the cash or time to get an associate's degree for this purpose. Additionally, there are tons of people working in nursing homes, taking vital signs and wiping butts all day, who would lose their jobs or never get a job in the first place.

Perspective, people.
 

rxlea

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MA does not equal PCA, which are the people that are "wiping butts all day". There isn't a problem with MA answering the phones and taking care of simple tasks; the problem arises when MAs call in prescriptions, relay information back and forth between other practitioners and the doctor, and perform tasks outside of their expertise (i.e. doing pap smears^ wtf!). I believe the intent of the OP was to point out that the duties of an MA are not regulated. There are no laws/specifications about what an MA can and cannot do. If you impose those regulations by LAW, a doctor will not allow their MA to do those things. It works the same for pharmacy techs who, by law, cannot counsel patients or be in the pharmacy without the presence of a pharmacist, among other things. This isn't a topic about how competent or incompetent an MA can be or to share anectodes about "exceptions the the rule" (even though there aren't rules, apparently lol). If there were laws and regulations about the duties of an MA, then a certain kind/amount of education will be required to prepare a person for those duties as prescribed by the law/regulating body.
Proper education = grants license
Go against rules of that license = possibility of losing the license.
Possibility of losing license = adhere to regulations
 

illegallysmooth

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MA does not equal PCA, which are the people that are "wiping butts all day". There isn't a problem with MA answering the phones and taking care of simple tasks; the problem arises when MAs call in prescriptions, relay information back and forth between other practitioners and the doctor, and perform tasks outside of their expertise (i.e. doing pap smears^ wtf!). I believe the intent of the OP was to point out that the duties of an MA are not regulated. There are no laws/specifications about what an MA can and cannot do. If you impose those regulations by LAW, a doctor will not allow their MA to do those things. It works the same for pharmacy techs who, by law, cannot counsel patients or be in the pharmacy without the presence of a pharmacist, among other things. This isn't a topic about how competent or incompetent an MA can be or to share anectodes about "exceptions the the rule" (even though there aren't rules, apparently lol). If there were laws and regulations about the duties of an MA, then a certain kind/amount of education will be required to prepare a person for those duties as prescribed by the law/regulating body.
Proper education = grants license
Go against rules of that license = possibility of losing the license.
Possibility of losing license = adhere to regulations
The terms NA/MA/PCA/ITA are used according to different definitions that vary by site and region. The site determines what level of education they require based on what the job duties will be required on that site. I agree that any of the above positions should not include pap smears, but I think that's a failure of common sense on the part of the supervising doc. As I said, relaying information has been the job of secretaries and various patient aid positions since the dawn of healthcare. If someone has a high school degree, they should be able to write down a message and read it back. Obviously literacy and communication skill should be assessed in a pre-employment interview. That task should not require a certification or lic. It would be a waste of time and resources.

Just my opinion, which comes from working both inpatient and outpatient and with people holding all of the above noted positions for the last 5 years. If a certification becomes a requirement, then it should at least be available to be attained after a period of on-the-job training.
 

rxlea

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The terms NA/MA/PCA/ITA are used according to different definitions that vary by site and region. The site determines what level of education they require based on what the job duties will be required on that site. I agree that any of the above positions should not include pap smears, but I think that's a failure of common sense on the part of the supervising doc. As I said, relaying information has been the job of secretaries and various patient aid positions since the dawn of healthcare. If someone has a high school degree, they should be able to write down a message and read it back. Obviously literacy and communication skill should be assessed in a pre-employment interview. That task should not require a certification or lic. It would be a waste of time and resources.

Just my opinion, which comes from working both inpatient and outpatient and with people holding all of the above noted positions for the last 5 years. If a certification becomes a requirement, then it should at least be available to be attained after a period of on-the-job training.
The OP mentioned that he could not get ahold of the doctor because the duties I mentioned above were given to the MA. This presents a problem when a pharmacist catches an error or there is some sort of drug-drug interaction in which he/she must speak directly to the doctor- OR when a 'script is just completely wrong. What if an MA calls in a 'script incorrectly? What if they tell the doctor only part of the information or don't understand what a pharmacist is saying? This isn't supposed to be a debate. IMO, MAs should be licensed and their duties regulated just like pharmacy techs, radiology techs, RNs, respiratory techs, and pretty much every other member of healthcare. This certification should be obtained pre-job because it assesses the person's basic knowledge of laws, duties, etc. When it comes to CLINICAL DIRECT PATIENT CARE, someone's life is at stake. With a license/certification, that person has accountability. There is a national certification test for many of the above mentioned jobs. Yes, states vary, but they have similarities in terms of the fundamental tasks of each job.
 

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IllegallySmooth, I understand your trying to defend MAs because you are one but you need a little reality check:

Pharmacists are legally liable for the accuracy and safety of every prescription that enters the pharmacy, whether it be written, eScribed, faxed, or called in by phone. It does not matter if a doctor, nurse, or MA called in the script, the pharmacist must ensure the safety of that prescription. Whether or not the individual from the doctor's office is calling it in accurately has no impact on the liability of the pharmacist in terms of accurately filling the prescription to the physician's orders.

Here is a scenario:

A patient is started out on warfarin 3 mg. The doctor has his MA call in a script to the local pharmacy, and since the script is handwritten and messy, the MA reads it as warfarin 8 mg QD. The patient is new to the pharmacy and has no record, so there is no compelling reason to the pharmacy's stand point why that patient should not be on warfarin 8 mg. Granted, most patients are started on 5 mg but I'm using this as an example. The pharmacy fills warfarin 8 mg as prescribed. The patient 2 weeks later hemorrhages into their brain and dies.

The physician's office has a record of warfarin 3 mg. The pharmacy has a record of warfarin 8 mg. Will the pharmacist's word protect them in a court case? Think about that long and hard.

I have received a plethora of phoned-in scripts from incompetent MAs who have 0 knowledge of pharmacology, and many times 0 knowledge on latin abbreviations. Last week I got a phoned in script for Lyrica 75 mg 1 capsule for every hour of sleep. I once got a script for Zocor "50 mg", the patient was supposed to be Cozaar. I had another MA call a script in for warfarin 1 mg. I called back, got the prescriber and found out it was supposed to be warfarin 3 mg MWF and 4 mg TThSatSun. The real piece of cake? A script called in for novolog 3 mL TID. Wow. These are the obvious ones....imagine the more subtle scripts that get past my nose.

Patient safety is simply hugely compromised when the pharmacist does not have actual assurance the person phoning in the script is competent at reading and phoning in scripts. Having an understanding of pharmacotherapy is vital to be able to interpret and communicate prescriptions effectively. That is why I don't mind nurses phoning them in; they have some understanding. Also very important to pharmacists, we need to cover our ass. If a MA is going to take a script, FUBAR it, and try to phone it in to us, we are being placed in a precarious position by that medical practice, and THAT IS WHY WE DON'T APPRECIATE IT. So that means when the pharmacist calls to clarify orders, we get pretty pissed off when the receptionist or MA cuts us off and sends us to the refill message system. You've already inconvenienced us and the office thinks we're inconveniencing them? I don't want to talk to an MA or a receptionist. I'm a PharmD, I have 8 years total of college education, I am a professional, so get me another professional (whether it is the physician or a nurse) so I can discuss this person's drug therapy. I'm not going to try to explain something to someone who has no clinical training.

If a physician is too f-ing busy to ensure proper patient safety, then they need to get out of the profession. I have spoken with many physicians who absolutely refuse anyone besides them or their most trusted nurses for calling in scripts.
 
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rxforlife2004

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I'm a PharmD, I have 8 years total of college education, I am a professional, so get me another professional (whether it is the physician or a nurse) so I can discuss this person's drug therapy. I'm not going to try to explain something to someone who has no clinical training.

If a physician is too f-ing busy to ensure proper patient safety, then they need to get out of the profession. I have spoken with many physicians who absolutely refuse anyone besides them or their most trusted nurses for calling in scripts.
yeah...nice!
 

illegallysmooth

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I could reiterate my last post, but there's no point. You've now fixated on calling in scripts, convinced that every MA is incompetant and that everyone's life is at stake. Do you have any idea how many times I've had to double and triple check doctor's orders with other people because they were so poorly written? I'm talking about my duties as a SECRETARY, a step down from the MA even. You're acting like this is new information. As someone said (to me)- reality check. Again, unless you've spent years working on the floor and in an outpatient office, you have no perspective on the issue. Especially when it comes to patient care and contact.
 

rxforlife2004

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I could reiterate my last post, but there's no point. You've now fixated on calling in scripts, convinced that every MA is incompetant and that everyone's life is at stake. Do you have any idea how many times I've had to double and triple check doctor's orders with other people because they were so poorly written? I'm talking about my duties as a SECRETARY, a step down from the MA even. You're acting like this is new information. As someone said (to me)- reality check. Again, unless you've spent years working on the floor and in an outpatient office, you have no perspective on the issue. Especially when it comes to patient care and contact.
shut the hellll up....like you know more than pharmacists? tell ur MD talk to me, not you...and until u're done with ur MD then we can discuss...right now, a plain pharmacist and u are not even at the same level. you're at the lower level, otay?

I don't work outpatient, but i used to intern during clerkships and calling MD office was such a pain...talking to an MA , who had vocational training, is like talking to a dog. They have no f*ing clue what low molecular weight heparin is, no clue of vitamin K antagonist is, no clue how lipitor works, cannot distinguish between Wellbutrin XL vs SR...and they call in prescriptions for the MD? Wtf is this? Worse, u call the office, they put u on hold forever...since they were too busy talking/gossing about how big the doctor's wife boobs, or who the doctor went out with last night....
 
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GreyFox2002

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I could reiterate my last post, but there's no point. You've now fixated on calling in scripts, convinced that every MA is incompetant and that everyone's life is at stake. Do you have any idea how many times I've had to double and triple check doctor's orders with other people because they were so poorly written? I'm talking about my duties as a SECRETARY, a step down from the MA even. You're acting like this is new information. As someone said (to me)- reality check. Again, unless you've spent years working on the floor and in an outpatient office, you have no perspective on the issue. Especially when it comes to patient care and contact.
Please re-read my post.

You are making the outlandish statement that pharmacists have no perspective on the issue of prescriptions being documented into their pharmacy via the telephone or messaging system. How is that possible? How is the LICENSED individual who has a PROFESSIONAL OBLIGATION of ensuring that the prescription the patient is receiving is both safe and accurate in terms of drug, dosage, route, and directions notperspective? The pharmacist has as much liability in the process of the provision of prescription drugs (toxins essentially) as the prescriber. A misfill can lead to malpractice claims, termination, revocation of licensure (even permanently), and now even jail time. That is PERSPECTIVE my friend.

You have NO perspective on this issue. You claim a busy practice necessitates the phoning in of orders by unlicensed individuals with no training in pharmacology, pathophysiology, or pharmacotherapeutics. This compromises patient safety whether you like it or not based on MY PERSPECTIVE. Re-read my post that describes some of the real-life examples I have encountered that could have resulted in substantial harm and even death to the patient, as the individual phoning in the script clearly misinterpreted orders and described them incorrectly to the receiver. Please re-read my post so you can understand the increased liability that pharmacists are subjected to due to these misunderstandings, with no fault to the pharmacist. The pharmacist is essentially required to be a mind-reader in these types of situations, and be forced to put complete faith in the ability of the unlicensed individual to announciate the orders proficiently.

Yes, I am fixated on calling in scripts because A: many MAs do this, and B: this is what pharmacists give a damn about. If doctor's want to let MAs administer injections, check blood pressure, document items in the chart, etc. then let them do it, I personally don't give a crap. That is 100 % within the domain of the physician and such he or she is only risking their own personal liability. However, once physician's let untrained, unlicensed individual's perform the task of phoning in prescriptions, you are intersecting the domain of the pharmacist with the domain of the physician in terms of professional responsibility. At this point, pharmacists have plenty of perspective as it is their license that is on the line.

Another comment about a physician being too busy to have him or her, or their nurse, phone in scripts. I got about 300 prescriptions to fill, patient's to counsel, and problems to fix. I'm just as busy as they are, and I do it without a break or a lunch, and I do it for 12 hours on my feet. Spare me the sad story about how physicians are too busy to perform very important tasks. I could care a less. Patient safety is most important to me, followed shortly by my license. You think just because 300 + scripts need to be filled for 100 + patients that I don't check each and every prescription because I'm too busy?
 

GreyFox2002

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shut the hellll up....like you know more than pharmacists? tell ur MD talk to me, not you...and until u're done with ur MD then we can discuss...right now, a plain pharmacist and u are not even at the same level. you're at the lower level, otay?

I don't work outpatient, but i used to intern during clerkships and calling MD office was such a pain...talking to an MA , who had vocational training, is like talking to a dog. They have clue what low molecular weight heparin is, no clue of vitamin K antagonist is, no clue how lipitor works, cannot distinguish between Wellbutrin XL vs SR...and they call in prescriptions for the MD? Wtf is this? Worse, u call the office, they put u on hold forever...since they were too busy talking/gossing about how big the doctor's wife boobs, ~
 

Sparda29

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shut the hellll up....like you know more than pharmacists? tell ur MD talk to me, not you...and until u're done with ur MD then we can discuss...right now, a plain pharmacist and u are not even at the same level. you're at the lower level, otay?

I don't work outpatient, but i used to intern during clerkships and calling MD office was such a pain...talking to an MA , who had vocational training, is like talking to a dog. They have clue what low molecular weight heparin is, no clue of vitamin K antagonist is, no clue how lipitor works, cannot distinguish between Wellbutrin XL vs SR...and they call in prescriptions for the MD? Wtf is this? Worse, u call the office, they put u on hold forever...since they were too busy talking/gossing about how big the doctor's wife boobs, or who the doctor went out with last night....
 

illegallysmooth

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I'm talking about perspective from working IN a doctor's office and ON an inpatient floor. You've all got your panties so wadded in a bunch you're twisting very statement I make and you've completely thrown logic out the door. Your pharm-centric view of the healthcare arena does not give you the perspective to make the kind of statements you're making about an entire profession of people. To say that you're generalizing would be the understatement of the year. I know that if you had worked on the sites where I have worked for just a few days, you'd realize how wrong you are. I refrain from talking about the duties of pharm techs and pharm interns because - guess what - I've never worked in a pharmacy. I'd never tell you what the duties and qualifications SHOULD be for a pharm intern, so I see it as equally ridiculous for people who've never worked as or with MAs/ITAs/PCAs/NAs to tell me what their duties and qualifications should be. In a clinic, writing scripts or calling in scripts for medication is one tiny portion of the day-to-day business. Yet, that's all you connect to. That's all you focus on, and you extrapolate this one little connection to start making judgement calls on people based on their title and their role in this connection. Furthermore, the LPNs I work with are NO better trained for duties in the office (including calling in scripts) than the MAs. I know LPNs I wouldn't trust to take my temperature. How do I know this? Experience. I'm willing to bet many of you talking about MAs on the phone were in fact speaking to receptionists or nurses.

I don't know more than a pharmacist about pharmacokinetics, and the pharmacists here do not know more than me about the duties of in-office or ED clinical assistants and how they should be trained (unless, of course, they have years of prior experience doing the job and working on the site). Again, communicating information from doctor to doctor has been the duty of secretaries and assistants since the dawn of healthcare. OBVIOUSLY in many situations it is required for the MD/DO to speak to the pharmacist, and I never indicated otherwise. But there's no need for a certification or a degree to be able to read something over the phone, to take blood pressures, to administer an albuterol treatment, etc. No vocational training or associate's degree is going to make someone so familar with medications they are more qualified than anyone else who can read. In 10 years many of those medications will change anyway. I laugh at the commericals on TV for vocational or AA training as MAs, because I could teach anyone with half a brain all of the duties they display on the commercial in a couple hours, tops (that includes drawing blood). The hysterical part is that upon hiring at many sites, all the "certified" MAs have to go through the same on-the-job training period as the non-certified MAs. It's a b*llsh!t money-making (for the "school") "certificate."

Rx4Life, your language makes you look incredibly stupid, crude and arrogant. Just an FYI. I'd think you were in high school, not a medical professional.

This thread is an exercise in futility. ZOMG, people with no degree are communicating between doctors?




Oh, by the way - The doctors I spoke of who are usually too busy to speak to pharmacists on the phone (actually, it's usually pharm interns and techs who call...hmmm...) and should "get out of the business" - they work at a low cost public pediatric clinic and their yearly salary is less than 1/4 of what my total debt will be after I graduate. They have to see a new kid every 15 minutes to keep the clinic afloat. Don't bash doctors for being busy, take a look at what keeps them this way.
 
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Carboxide

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I'm talking about perspective from working IN a doctor's office and ON an inpatient floor. You've all got your panties so wadded in a bunch you're twisting very statement I make and you've completely thrown logic out the door. Your pharm-centric view of the healthcare arena does not give you the perspective to make the kind of statements you're making about an entire profession of people. To say that you're generalizing would be the understatement of the year. I know that if you had worked on the sites where I have worked for just a few days, you'd realize how wrong you are. I refrain from talking about the duties of pharm techs and pharm interns because - guess what - I've never worked in a pharmacy. I'd never tell you what the duties and qualifications SHOULD be for a pharm intern, so I see it as equally ridiculous for people who've never worked as or with MAs/ITAs/PCAs/NAs to tell me what their duties and qualifications should be. In a clinic, writing scripts or calling in scripts for medication is one tiny portion of the day-to-day business. Yet, that's all you connect to. That's all you focus on, and you extrapolate this one little connection to start making judgement calls on people based on their title and their role in this connection. Furthermore, the LPNs I work with are NO better trained for duties in the office (including calling in scripts) than the MAs. I know LPNs I wouldn't trust to take my temperature. How do I know this? Experience. I'm willing to bet many of you talking about MAs on the phone were in fact speaking to receptionists or nurses.

I don't know more than a pharmacist about pharmacokinetics, and the pharmacists here do not know more than me about the duties of in-office or ED clinical assistants and how they should be trained (unless, of course, they have years of prior experience doing the job and working on the site). Again, communicating information from doctor to doctor has been the duty of secretaries and assistants since the dawn of healthcare. OBVIOUSLY in many situations it is required for the MD/DO to speak to the pharmacist, and I never indicated otherwise. But there's no need for a certification or a degree to be able to read something over the phone, to take blood pressures, to administer an albuterol treatment, etc. No vocational training or associate's degree is going to make someone so familar with medications they are more qualified than anyone else who can read. In 10 years many of those medications will change anyway. I laugh at the commericals on TV for vocational or AA training as MAs, because I could teach anyone with half a brain all of the duties they display on the commercial in a couple hours, tops (that includes drawing blood). The hysterical part is that upon hiring at many sites, all the "certified" MAs have to go through the same on-the-job training period as the non-certified MAs. It's a b*llsh!t money-making (for the "school") "certificate."

Rx4Life, your language makes you look incredibly stupid, crude and arrogant. Just an FYI. I'd think you were in high school, not a medical professional.

This thread is an exercise in futility. ZOMG, people with no degree are communicating between doctors?




Oh, by the way - The doctors I spoke of who are usually too busy to speak to pharmacists on the phone (actually, it's usually pharm interns and techs who call...hmmm...) and should "get out of the business" - they work at a low cost public pediatric clinic and their yearly salary is less than 1/4 of what my total debt will be after I graduate. They have to see a new kid every 15 minutes to keep the clinic afloat. Don't bash doctors for being busy, take a look at what keeps them this way.
As someone who is still Pre-Med, you shouldn't be making assumptions about ANY profession, including MAs, because you lack the perspective to see how it affects those who are ultimately responsible. Perhaps you should wait a few years to decide that we are all stupid and you are right.
 

illegallysmooth

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As someone who is still Pre-Med, you shouldn't be making assumptions about ANY profession, including MAs, because you lack the perspective to see how it affects those who are ultimately responsible. Perhaps you should wait a few years to decide that we are all stupid and you are right.
I lack the perspective? Really? I've spent the last 5-6 years working in busy EDs, on inpatient floors and in outpatient clinics. I've been an ED and floor unit secretary, an ITA, an NA and an MA. I see the docs, I see the pharm techs/interns, I see the patients. I see the duties of everyone on the clinical site, and I've done many of those duties. I've seen LPNs and RNs make mistakes calling in scripts. I've seen RNs and LPNs make mistakes intaking pts. I've seen MAs make mistakes like forgetting to document. I've caught doc's mistakes on admitting orders. I've settled discrepancies between info delivered to the ED and to the pharmacy. Please tell me again how I have no perspective?

And for the record, I never called anyone stupid. I singled out one person for their insulting and crude writing.
 

Sparda29

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Interns are legally allowed to call doctor's offices. Tech's aren't allowed. (Ask people here, they were bashing me about a year and a half ago because I said I took doctor calls as a tech.)

Hell, a pharmacy technician is more trained to do MD calls for prescriptions than a MA is. The fact is, MA's do not have any pharmacologic/pharmacokinetic background. If you want MAs to call in prescriptions, any mistakes that occur as a result of the MA calling in the prescription should have 100% liability on the part of the MA.
 
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illegallysmooth

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Interns are legally allowed to call doctor's offices. Tech's aren't allowed. (Ask people here, they were bashing me about a year and a half ago because I said I took doctor calls as a tech.)

Hell, a pharmacy technician is more trained to do MD calls for prescriptions than a MA is. The fact is, MA's do not have any pharmacologic/pharmacokinetic background. If you want MAs to call in prescriptions, any mistakes that occur as a result of the MA calling in the prescription should have 100% liability on the part of the MA.
I completely agree with you. People should be held accountable for their mistakes, and that includes nurses and everyone else. On the subject, MAs don't necessarily have any background beyond what they are taught on the job. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to write down the name of a drug to communicate to someone else. This is receptionist stuff. Not having classes in physiology doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to take a blood pressure. What I was saying before is that even an LPN degree is not sufficient to know so much about medications that they would know if they were making a mistake. Nor do they necessarily know so much about the immune system that they could answer a parent's question about vaccines correctly. It's a technicial job, not an academic one. Yes, there are problems associated with this, and it's the duty of physicians and pharamacists to make sure the people in their employ are well trained to do the jobs assigned to them.
 

rxforlife2004

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Rx4Life, your language makes you look incredibly stupid, crude and arrogant. Just an FYI. I'd think you were in high school, not a medical professional.

This thread is an exercise in futility. ZOMG, people with no degree are communicating between doctors?




.
Until you earn your Pharm.D or MD degree, or at least a doctorate degree ,or at least spending 8 or more years in college, then we are the same level. For now, i still look down on you and whatever you said to me is just simply equivalent to a pile of mess i make every morning down the toilet...which is meaningless.

RN make mistakes...of course they do. They don't know jackshiet...besides listening and following MDs order like robots. And yes, I do look down on them. Why? because we're NOT at the same level. They need more training to be where i am now. Both financial and status wise...They dont know drugs. How many times do i have to repeat to them that Vancomycin trough needs to be drawn 1/2 prior the 3rd or 4th dose and they keep messing it up and getting confused....so ******ed. And some even have the ball to call and ask ,"My patient BP is 70/55...should i hold the lopressor dose?" WTF?

Yes, yes, yes, u work in ER, u see all the docs, u smell all their farts..blah blah blah...good for u. But u apparently have no f*ing clue how a pharmacy runs. We are the strictest profession on earth alive...and if u don't believe me, go look it up yourself. We're liable for so many laws and regulations...that's why it takes so long to fill a presciption and so long for a medication delivered on the floor. Don't tell us that we don't deal with life and death situations because a lot of time, without a pharmacist, a patient is already dead due to med errors, or allergic reaction from allergy, etc...u name it...we might not be there and do CPR, bagging for a patient, but we're behind the scene stopping that scene happening from the very first place. Get it? now, f* off!
 

illegallysmooth

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Until you earn your Pharm.D or MD degree, or at least a doctorate degree ,or at least spending 8 or more years in college, then we are the same level. For now, i still look down on you and whatever you said to me is just simply equivalent to a pile of mess i make every morning down the toilet...which is meaningless.

RN make mistakes...of course they do. They don't know jackshiet...besides listening and following MDs order like robots. And yes, I do look down on them. Why? because we're NOT at the same level. They need more training to be where i am now. Both financial and status wise...They dont know drugs. How many times do i have to repeat to them that Vancomycin trough needs to be drawn 1/2 prior the 3rd or 4th dose and they keep messing it up and getting confused....so ******ed. And some even have the ball to call and ask ,"My patient BP is 70/55...should i hold the lopressor dose?" WTF?

Yes, yes, yes, u work in ER, u see all the docs, u smell all their farts..blah blah blah...good for u. But u apparently have no f*ing clue how a pharmacy runs. We are the strictest profession on earth alive...and if u don't believe me, go look it up yourself. We're liable for so many laws and regulations...that's why it takes so long to fill a presciption and so long for a medication delivered on the floor. Don't tell us that we don't deal with life and death situations because a lot of time, without a pharmacist, a patient is already dead due to med errors, or allergic reaction from allergy, etc...u name it...we might not be there and do CPR, bagging for a patient, but we're behind the scene stopping that scene happening from the very first place. Get it? now, f* off!
You're not very good with following logical discussion, are you? You sound like a complete dolt. I don't mean to make this personal, but hey, you did it first :)

Until you earn your Pharm.D or MD degree, or at least a doctorate degree ,or at least spending 8 or more years in college, then we are the same level.

Until I do that, then we're on the same level? Great. By the way, I'm at 7. Do I get a point for being published?

For now, i still look down on you and whatever you said to me is just simply equivalent to a pile of mess i make every morning down the toilet...which is meaningless.

Elegantly put. "I ignore what people say to me and therefore make nonsense reponses." I couldn't have put it better.

RN make mistakes...of course they do. They don't know jackshiet...besides listening and following MDs order like robots. And yes, I do look down on them. Why? because we're NOT at the same level.

We've already established your arrogance. You don't need to keep emphasizing the condenscending attitude with which you view other healthcare workers.

They need more training to be where i am now. Both financial and status wise...

What does this even mean? They are not TRYING to be where you are now. Why the incessant comparisons? Why are you comparing finances and status? I know plenty of RNs who could compose a more intelligently worded reponse than you. Maybe you should spend less time patting yourself on the back, eh?

They dont know drugs. How many times do i have to repeat to them that Vancomycin trough needs to be drawn 1/2 prior the 3rd or 4th dose and they keep messing it up and getting confused....so ******ed.

Yeah, and you don't know patient care to the extent they do. You're comparing two different professions and calling them ******ed because you're better at dealing with drugs than they would be at dealing with drugs? How about next time a code rolls in, you throw yourself in the middle of it. Let's see how many times you need orders repeated before you know exactly what to do. Or, perhaps, let's have you in charge of the care of 6 patients on the floor. Let's see how long it takes you to forget one draw when you have 6 primary docs to listen to, 6 or more specialists writing orders, multitides of labs to keep on top of, medications to dispense, vitals to review, etc. Also, next time you're telling them about the vanco, try to avoid forgetting the words "hour" and "to."

But u apparently have no f*ing clue how a pharmacy runs.

I never stated otherwise, nor do I particularly care. We're not talking about people who work in a pharmacy. Furthermore, you apparently have no clue how a doctor's office runs.

We are the strictest profession on earth alive

Your profession is not alive. (EDIT: Geez, I didn't mean to say the profession is dead, LOL. I was calling attention to the laughable construction of the above phrase. You wouldn't say "this is the hardest class on earth alive!" Well, maybe rx4life would.)

We're liable for so many laws and regulations...that's why it takes so long to fill a presciption and so long for a medication delivered on the floor.

Congratulations. There are many regulations in medicine too... :laugh:

Don't tell us that we don't deal with life and death situations

Did I say that? Are you now making things up to respond to?

we might not be there and do CPR, bagging for a patient,

Right, so I don't think you should be judging the qualifications of the assistant in the room. Which is my whole point.

but we're behind the scene stopping that scene happening from the very first place. Get it? now, f* off

What do you think this is? Pharm vs. Medicine throw down?? WHO SAVES MORE LIVES... DUN DUN DUN! What are you talking about? You don't need to defend your profession to me. Christ. You are ridiculous.
 
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rxlea

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The original topic of this thread was a simple rant about how MAs are unregulated in most states. I think it is a fair concern considering their apparent role at a doc's office. Maybe they are competent, maybe they are not. Either way, without a license/regulating body, they may not be held accountable for their mistakes and may be stepping outside of their boundaries. What an MA should or should not do should be up to a licensing board or something similar just as it is for other technicians. As for medicine vs pharmacy, I have no idea why that was brought up. But, the field of pharmacy is not "dead". On the contrary, the roles of pharmacists are expanding more everyday and I wouldn't be suprised if they take on more "family practice" type responsibilities in an outpatient setting. Guess we just have to wait and see.
 

illegallysmooth

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HAHAHAHA.



i dropped out....i'm too dumb for pharmacy school..lol...



i am a college dropped out , but i know enough to hire/not hire a pharmacist. And while u here whining and bitcching about residency....i recommend u do some network and be nice to college dropped out like me...:laugh:

HAHAHAHAHA. Shut up.
 

StaviZFingerZ

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HAHAHAHA.


HAHAHAHAHA. Shut up.
Come back once you get a professional healthcare degree and licensed. Then let's discuss whatever you want to about your profession vs. mine.
 

illegallysmooth

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Come back once you get a professional healthcare degree and licensed. Then let's discuss whatever you want to about your profession vs. mine.
Are you jumping on the ridiculous train too? Why don't you please go back and re-read the whole thread. Please, see who brought up "your profession vs. mine."

And, LOL, I don't know if you missed that post but rx4life is going on and on with all these threads speaking like he or she is a pharmacist. Is rxl4life allowed to talk about the issue, given that he/she dropped out and IS NOT a graduate of pharmacy school?

In 4 years I will have a professional degree, in addition to the undergraduate and graduate degrees in biomedical science I currently have. I've already been working in healthcare for 5 years. I'm not speaking from naivete. If you're talking about medical assistants, well, I've been working AS and WITH them for 5 years. Not at the other end of a phone line. I don't talk about what happens at a pharmacy, but you're damn straight I know what I'm talking about when it comes to MAs/NAs/ITAs/PCAs, clinical receptionists, secretaries, nurses, and the day-to-day work of an outpatient office or inpatient floor. I don't believe the M.D. is going to grant me any more insight into the field of MAs than I have now, ha.

The mistake here is thinking that your expertise (degree, license) in one field makes one an expert on all aspects of the delivery of healthcare. It does not.
 
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StaviZFingerZ

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HAHAHAHA.

HAHAHAHAHA. Shut up.

illegallysmooth said:
Get it? now, f* off!

That's really mature..

Your effort in trying to defend MA using an outlier logic doesn't work especially on a Pharm Forum.

If you enjoy arguing with pharmacists and pharmacy students ranting about MA, then go ahead and waste your time.
 

illegallysmooth

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that's really mature..

Your effort in trying to defend ma using an outlier logic doesn't work especially on a pharm forum.

If you enjoy arguing with pharmacists and pharmacy students ranting about ma, then go ahead and waste your time.
You're quoting me quoting rx4life! I see you're a pharmacist. Maybe try reading the discussion a bit more carefully if you care enough to contribute.

Yeesh.
 

StaviZFingerZ

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Are you jumping on the ridiculous train too? Why don't you please go back and re-read the whole thread. Please, see who brought up "your profession vs. mine."
you brought it up by fueling the fire.

And, LOL, I don't know if you missed that post but rx4life is going on and on with all these threads speaking like he or she is a pharmacist. Is rxl4life allowed to talk about the issue, given that he/she dropped out and IS NOT a graduate of pharmacy school?
You have no idea what rx4life is doing. He's trolling and just messing with you. And you fell for it. He's a licensed RPh.

In 4 years I will have a professional degree, in addition to the undergraduate and graduate degrees in biomedical science I currently have.
I'm so impressed. Now come back in 4 years.

I've already been working in healthcare for 5 years. I'm not speaking from naivete. If you're talking about medical assistants, well, I've been working AS and WITH them for 5 years.
Wow...5 years!! You must know it all!!

Not at the other end of a phone line. I don't talk about what happens at a pharmacy, but you're damn straight I know what I'm talking about when it comes to MAs/NAs/ITAs/PCAs, clinical receptionists, secretaries, nurses, and the day-to-day work of an outpatient office or inpatient floor.
:sleep:

I don't believe the M.D. is going to grant me any more insight into the field of MAs than I have now, ha.
Tell that to an MD and let's see what they say?

The mistake here is thinking that your expertise (degree, license) in one field makes one an expert on all aspects of the delivery of healthcare. It does not.
And the mistake on your part is you have no idea what I do in healthcare.
Don't assume and think you know what I know and and I don't.
 

illegallysmooth

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you brought it up by fueling the fire.

You're stating that I brought up a completely different issue (medicine vs. pharmacy) by adding my opinion on a separate subject with which I am very familar? So, not the person who actually started talking about who saves more lives? Nice logic. Talk about a prejudice...

You have no idea what rx4life is doing. He's trolling and just messing with you. And you fell for it. He's a licensed RPh.

I was quoting him from other posts, parading around while speaking as a pharmacist and then in other posts admitting he flunked out of school. He is, apparently, trolling? Why do you tolerate this nonsense? He does nothing but ramble like a drunk guy hitting his head on the keyboard while managing to ignite arguments.

I'm so impressed. Now come back in 4 years.

And exactly what do you think will have changed?

Wow...5 years!! You must know it all!!

Nope, just enough about a particular subset of medical care to know what I'm talking about in this thread. The mistake is thinking that as a pharmacist you know everything about the day-to-day of other professions on other job sites. Do you really not see the distinction here?

Tell that to an MD and let's see what they say?

Way to miss the point. Do you honestly think 2 years of clinical rotations are going to change my opinions on MAs when I've spent the last 5 years working AS an MA and WITH MAs?

And the mistake on your part is you have no idea what I do in healthcare.
Don't assume and think you know what I know and and I don't

Once again, reading comprehension issues. I never commented on your specific knowledge. I was stating that one's expertise in an area of healthcare does not make one an expert in all areas of healthcare.
.

Arguing with people on this board is like
 
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WVUPharm2007

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Are you jumping on the ridiculous train too? Why don't you please go back and re-read the whole thread. Please, see who brought up "your profession vs. mine."

And, LOL, I don't know if you missed that post but rx4life is going on and on with all these threads speaking like he or she is a pharmacist. Is rxl4life allowed to talk about the issue, given that he/she dropped out and IS NOT a graduate of pharmacy school?

In 4 years I will have a professional degree, in addition to the undergraduate and graduate degrees in biomedical science I currently have. I've already been working in healthcare for 5 years. I'm not speaking from naivete. If you're talking about medical assistants, well, I've been working AS and WITH them for 5 years. Not at the other end of a phone line. I don't talk about what happens at a pharmacy, but you're damn straight I know what I'm talking about when it comes to MAs/NAs/ITAs/PCAs, clinical receptionists, secretaries, nurses, and the day-to-day work of an outpatient office or inpatient floor. I don't believe the M.D. is going to grant me any more insight into the field of MAs than I have now, ha.

The mistake here is thinking that your expertise (degree, license) in one field makes one an expert on all aspects of the delivery of healthcare. It does not.
Look, tiger...we don't care about you or your abilities as an MA. If you can do it well, that's great. You are an asset to the people you are working for. And we're all impressed by your pretentious use of grammar. We really are. We promise. And your bizarre debating style on the topic of drug dispensing that appears to rely solely on appeal to authority arguments in the face of people with doctorates in the discipline that is centered around drugs. It amazes me that a person would even attempt such a thing.

However, as pharmacists, we have also experienced MAs that are complete idiots. The type that make you wonder if they can dress themselves in the morning. The type that really do affect care. I don't know what parallel universe you visit us from, and, clearly, it must be a special place. I would love for all of my scripts to be called in correct by whatever phone jockey is calling me. But in my personal realm of existence, our MAs are prone to mistakes here and there simply due to their ignorance of drug therapy.

Now - being as though we assume 100% of the risk in taking a script over the phone, I would say that its reasonable that we expect the other person on the other end of the phone to have some sort of registration that gives us some sort of institutional guarantee that we aren't talking to an idiot.

Physicians and other prescribers GET that luxury. It is illegal for a person that isn't a registered pharmacist or pharmacy intern to accept prescription or discuss them on the phone with anyone. In some states, only pharmacists can talk drugs on the phone with offices.

With that in mind, I don't think its unreasonable for us to expect the same courtesy for our profession.
 
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illegallysmooth

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Look, tiger...we don't care about you or your abilities as an MA. If you can do it well, that's great. You are an asset to the people you are working for. And we're all impressed by your pretentious use of grammar. We really are. We promise. And your bizarre debating style on the topic of drug dispensing that appears to rely solely on appeal to authority arguments in the face of people with doctorates in the discipline that is centered around drugs. It amazes me that a person would even attempt such a thing.

However, as pharmacists, we have also experienced MAs that are complete idiots. The type that make you wonder if they can dress themselves in the morning. The type that really do affect care. I don't know what parallel universe you visit us from, and, clearly, it must be a special place. I would love for all of my scripts to be called in correct by whatever phone jockey is calling me. But in my personal realm of existence, our MAs are prone to mistakes here and there simply due to their ignorance of drug therapy.

Now - being as though we assume 100% of the risk in taking a script over the phone, I would say that its reasonable that we expect the other person on the other end of the phone to have some sort of registration that gives us some sort of institutional guarantee that we aren't talking to an idiot.

Physicians and other prescribers GET that luxury. It is illegal for a person that isn't a registered pharmacist or pharmacy intern to accept prescription or discuss them on the phone with anyone. In some states, only pharmacists can talk drugs on the phone with offices.

With that in mind, I don't think its unreasonable for us to expect the same courtesy for our profession.
If this thread started on the topic of drug dispensing, I would have never even added two cents to the discussion. But it wasn't. It was about MAs, the various duties assigned to them, and their incompetance. As the discussion continued, more and more just focused on the pharm-centric part of the duties, because people realized that's all they could really talk about with any amount of experience (as most of the people on this board spend their time on the pharm side of things and not in a primary care office or on the patient care floor). I never responsed with the intention of speaking about my ABILITIES. I was speaking out my DUTIES as an MA because this directly related to the topic of discussion.

Thank you for making an intelligent response on this thread. I'll ignore the asides, because I find it sorta funny when my "pretentious use of grammar" is criticized in THIS thread, with the flagrantly ridiculous logic thrown about. In regard to your statement about the MAs' mistakes being related to ignorance of drug therapy, I would have to agree to a certain extent. But again, I don't believe any sort of AA or vocational program is going to give MAs the depth of education that would grant them the knowledge to know if they are making a mistake while calling in scripts. They aren't going to know why someone with a PCN allergy shouldn't have zosyn. Hell, an LPN the other day advised a mother that her child may be getting lead poisoning from the earring she bought at the mall. It is my opinion that an associate's degree which is suitable for an MA will not give the MA sufficient pharmacologic knowledge to really avoid most mistakes with scripts. Perhaps the better option would be to ban anyone with less than an RN from calling in scripts?

I can relate to working with the dense MAs you describe. But for me is has not been limited to MAs, not by a longshot. I think it's reasonable to expect to speak to a nurse when scripts are being called in, but not for very simple clarifications. In the ED, sometimes that is not just feasible. I'm not going to track down a busy nurse or doctor so they can look at the same screen I'm looking at and tell the pharm tech on the phone what dose of ___ the pt was given at ___time. Most of my responses have been in an effort to illustrate this very point. However, apparently, no one wants to think an MA could possibly know anything about working as an MA.
 
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StaviZFingerZ

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You're stating that I brought up a completely different issue (medicine vs. pharmacy) by adding my opinion on a separate subject with which I am very familar? So, not the person who actually started talking about who saves more lives? Nice logic. Talk about a prejudice...
What do you think you'll get when pharmacists are ranting about MA and you come to defend MA?

I was quoting him from other posts, parading around while speaking as a pharmacist and then in other posts admitting he flunked out of school. He is, apparently, trolling? Why do you tolerate this nonsense? He does nothing but ramble like a drunk guy hitting his head on the keyboard while managing to ignite arguments.
I tolerate it because I've known him for a long time and he's just messin around.

And exactly what do you think will have changed?
come back in 4 years and tell me your opinion has not changed. Then I will say you're a liar.


Nope, just enough about a particular subset of medical care to know what I'm talking about in this thread. The mistake is thinking that as a pharmacist you know everything about the day-to-day of other professions on other job sites. Do you really not see the distinction here?
I know more about why OP is frustrated with idiot MA than you will ever pretend to know.

Way to miss the point. Having the letters M and D after my name in 4 years will not make any difference on my opinion of MAs. I HAVE BEEN ONE FOR A LONG TIME. I HAVE WORKED WITH PLENTY. You cannot possibly know more about a profession by any other method than BEING someone IN the profession AND working among them for years. Do you honestly think 2 years of clinical rotations are going to change my opinions on MAs when I've spent the last 5 years working AS an MA and WITH MAs?
Nope, didn't miss a single point. You have no idea how your opinion will change once you're in a position to hire MAs if you get your MD. To think you know it all now and your opinion won't change in the future shows how little you know. The real problem is you have no idea what you don't know.

Once again, reading comprehension issues. I never commented on your specific knowledge. I was stating that one's expertise in an area of healthcare does not make one an expert in all areas of healthcare.
And you lack the reasoning ability to understand that you have no idea how little you know about healthcare with 5 years of experience as an MA and unit secretary and especially when it pertains to pharmacy's dealing and frustrations with MA and why you defending MA is futile on this forum.
 

WVUPharm2007

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If this thread started on the topic of drug dispensing, I would have never even added two cents to the discussion. But it wasn't. It was about MAs, the various duties assigned to them, and their incompetance. As the discussion continued, more and more just focused on the pharm-centric part of the duties, because people realized that's all they could really talk about with any amount of experience.

Thank you for making an intelligent response on this thread. I'll ignore the asides, because I find it sorta funny when my "pretentious use of grammar" is criticized in THIS thread, with the flagrantly ridiculous logic thrown about. In regard to your statement about the MAs' mistakes being related to ignorance of drug therapy, I would have to agree to a certain extent. But again, I don't believe any sort of AA or vocational program is going to give MAs the depth of education that would grant them the knowledge to know if they are making a mistake while calling in scripts. They aren't going to know why someone with a PCN allergy shouldn't have zosyn.

I can relate to working with the dense MAs you describe. But for me is has not been limited to MAs, not by a longshot. I think it's reasonable to expect to speak to a nurse when scripts are being called in, but not for very simple clarifications. In the ED, sometimes that is not just feasible. I'm not going to track down a busy nurse or doctor so they can look at the same screen I'm looking at and tell the pharm tech on the phone what dose of ___ the pt was given at ___time.
Knowing about penicillin allergies isn't even what i'm talking about. That is our job. (And, actually, using Zosyn in strictly penicillin allergic patients is usually ok due to the large side chain on the molecule making cross-sensitivity less likely...people are way too conservative about that...but I digress...)

I'm talking about things way less complex than that. I'd like to have someone that can pronounce drugs and just have a basic idea of what drugs actually exist. I've heard more invented drugs than I care to remember. Sometimes they pronounce drugs in an incorrect fashion so that it sounds like another drug. Or what they call in might just mystify me. A decent grasp of medical terminology would be desirable, too. It could all be self taught rather easily. But if we could assure that they have a basic understanding of what it is they are doing, we feel it would be beneficial to us.

I understand the time constraint thing - but keep in mind that we deal with just that type of constraint on a daily basis. Only a pharmacist can handle calls...unless you live in a town with a pharmacy school...then you might be fortunate enough to have an intern take the calls. If its that bad, scripts could be faxed or sent via ePrescription over the internet. Actually, I don't know why more people don't use eScripts. The physician types out what they want...it's sent...zero chance of error except on the physicians' part. That's the future, though. In 10 years, there won't be any calling in of scripts at all. We will all be connected electronically.
 
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Sparda29

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Knowing about penicillin allergies isn't even what i'm talking about. That is our job. (And, actually, using Zosyn in strictly penicillin allergic patients is usually ok due to the large side chain on the molecule making cross-sensitivity less likely...people are way too conservative about that...but I digress...)

I'm talking about things way less complex than that. I'd like to have someone that can pronounce drugs and just have a basic idea of what drugs actually exist. I've heard more invented drugs than I care to remember. Sometimes they pronounce drugs in an incorrect fashion so that it sounds like another drug. Or what they call in might just mystify me. A decent grasp of medical terminology would be desirable, too. It could all be self taught rather easily. But if we could assure that they have a basic understanding of what it is they are doing, we feel it would be beneficial to us.

I understand the time constraint thing - but keep in mind that we deal with just that type of constraint on a daily basis. Only a pharmacist can handle calls...unless you live in a town with a pharmacy school...then you might be fortunate enough to have an intern take the calls. If its that bad, scripts could be faxed or sent via ePrescription over the internet. Actually, I don't know why more people don't use eScripts. The physician types out what they want...it's sent...zero chance of error except on the physicians' part. That's the future, though. In 10 years, there won't be any calling in of scripts at all. We will all be connected electronically.
As per the e-prescribing I would hope that when they send an electronic prescription, that they include the diagnosis of the patient.
 

confettiflyer

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lol, this turned into quite the pissing match.

I've seen MA's that should continue on and be NP's, PA's, hell...MD's and PharmD's (but they don't for various reasons).

I've seen MA's dumber than rocks...in fact, comparing them to rocks would be insulting.

but yeah i'm gonna side against illegallysmooth here, even though he's probably one of those smart MA's an MD would trust to do more than the average MA. Until you're on par professionally with the person you're communicating with when passing the care of a pt to another entity (office --> pharmacy), you're not in the position to do so.

You can be the greatest MA in the world, but you're still an MA (the weakest link in the continuity of care).
 

rxlea

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lol, this turned into quite the pissing match.

I've seen MA's that should continue on and be NP's, PA's, hell...MD's and PharmD's (but they don't for various reasons).

I've seen MA's dumber than rocks...in fact, comparing them to rocks would be insulting.

but yeah i'm gonna side against illegallysmooth here, even though he's probably one of those smart MA's an MD would trust to do more than the average MA. Until you're on par professionally with the person you're communicating with when passing the care of a pt to another entity (office --> pharmacy), you're not in the position to do so.

You can be the greatest MA in the world, but you're still an MA (the weakest link in the continuity of care).
This reminded me of The Weakest Link game show when it used to be that older crotchety woman.. "so and so, you ARE the weakest link...Goodbye!"
 

UES Girl

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Why the heck does this obnoxious idiot pre-med still hang out in the pharmacy forums ? He had flat out tell me I should stick to helping people with their colds or something along these lines and now is bordering on personal atttacks. When are the mods going to ban this guy for trolling ?
 

WVUPharm2007

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Why the heck does this obnoxious idiot pre-med still hang out in the pharmacy forums ? He had flat out tell me I should stick to helping people with their colds or something along these lines and now is bordering on personal atttacks. When are the mods going to ban this guy for trolling ?
Pre-meds haven't yet had their personal delusion of grandeur beaten to death and buried by the more intelligent people they will meet in medical school and beyond.

I think they are cute.

If the pre-meds on Student Doctor were as brilliant as they all think they are and we locked them in a room with Stephen Hawking, an introductory physics book, and a few cases of Red Bull, we would have unified field theory figured out by tomorrow afternoon...easy...hell, we'd have time travel and flying cars, too.

They usually get a dose of reality and and an understanding of where they belong in the grand scheme of things by about November or so of their first year.
 

GreyFox2002

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Medical snobbery trends like this: Maximum snobbery as a pre-med, minimal snobbery as an attending. Its generally a linear curve. There are outliers sometimes, but this is how it usually goes.

Premeds have yet to experience the real-world. They think they are going into a profession (if their accepted, first of all) that is at the mountain of achievement, looking down at the rest of the world. It takes years of being told, and proven, that you know jack, that nurses don't care that your MS3 or Dr. whomever, that a 50 year old pharmacist with 25 years in the field doesn't give a damn that your some 28 year old first year hot shot who thinks your always right. By the time the doc has been through the gauntlet and gets attending status, they've learned.

I know this, because half the time I call an MD to discuss a script, they just tell me the situation and ask me for my recommendation, and I'm just an intern. This does not reduce my respect in a prescriber one bit either, and actually this earns them more respect, as their willing enough, and intelligent, to recognize a pharmacist's expertise.