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Medical Assistant vs. LPN

Are you considering a career in healthcare but unsure which path to take? Don’t worry—we’re here to help! Today, let’s explore the roles of Medical Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to see which might be the perfect fit for you.

Where Do Medical Assistants Work?

Medical Assistants typically work directly with physicians in various settings, including:

  • Doctors’ offices
  • Health clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Offices of other health practitioners

Where Do LPNs Work?

LPNs collaborate with physicians and registered nurses in diverse environments such as:

  • Nursing homes
  • Group homes
  • Home healthcare facilities
  • Prisons or jails
  • Rehab facilities
  • Clinics
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Hospitals

While both Medical Assistants and LPNs can work in similar settings, Medical Assistants primarily work in clinics, private practices, and outpatient care centers. LPNs, on the other hand, often have more variety in their workplaces, including nursing homes and home healthcare.

Duties of a Medical Assistant

Medical Assistants juggle a range of clinical and administrative tasks, which may vary by office size, location, and specialty. Some common duties include:

  • Preparing patients for exams and taking medical histories
  • Explaining treatments and medical procedures to patients
  • Assisting physicians during exams
  • Collecting and preparing lab specimens
  • Performing basic lab tests
  • Answering phones and scheduling appointments
  • Updating and filing patient medical records and insurance forms
  • Arranging for hospital admissions and lab services
  • Handling correspondence, billing, and bookkeeping

Duties of an LPN

LPNs focus on providing nursing care to patients. Their responsibilities may vary depending on their location and work setting, but typically include:

  • Administering medication
  • Assisting physicians during rounds
  • Monitoring resident care and supervising other nursing staff
  • Explaining procedures and treatment protocols to residents
  • Planning and managing patient care based on individual needs
  • Interviewing patients and recording their medical history
  • Helping patients with personal care tasks like bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Monitoring patients’ overall health during visits
  • Changing bandages, wound dressings, and catheters
  • Being on-call for healthcare emergencies

While both roles involve taking vital signs and working with medical technology, LPNs are more involved in planning and monitoring patient care, which Medical Assistants typically do not handle.

How to Become a Medical Assistant

Aspiring Medical Assistants generally attend post-secondary institutions to receive training, which often leads to a certificate or diploma within a year. Certification is not always required, but some states and employers prefer or mandate it.

Medical Assistant Training Program at Denmark College

Denmark College offers a comprehensive Medical Assistant diploma program that equips students with essential skills for employment in medical offices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. The program covers:

  • Infection control
  • Pharmacology basics
  • Administering medications
  • Specimen collection and handling for lab tests
  • First Aid
  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology

Graduates of the Denmark College Medical Assistant program can pursue further advancement in the medical field, potentially becoming certified Medical Assistants.

Ready to take the next step in your healthcare career? Learn more about the opportunities that await you in our Medical Assistant program at Denmark College. Explore your potential and make a difference in the lives of others!