Work Stuff

The Difference Between a CNA and a CMA

In case anyone was curious to know the difference between the two positions:

CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)

The requirements for becoming a CNA vary from state to state. So you may need to certify again if you move or take a job in another state.

CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) – This is me

If you’re earning your Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA), your certification will be nationally accredited and not tied exclusively to a state-run certification or license. That said, some states have specific scope of practice, training or other licensing requirements to perform specific skills such as x-rays. You should make sure you know whether your state is one of them.

CNA tasks are mostly clinical

Certified nursing assistants perform mostly clinical duties related to the patient. Common duties of a CNA include:

  • Collect laboratory specimans
  • Provide bedside assistance
  • Assist with daily activities of living (bathing, dressing, eating)
  • Monitor, record & report changes in patient health
  • Maintain a clean patient environment
  • Provide comfort to patients

CMA tasks can be either clinical or administrative or both – (This is what I do)

Medical assistants perform both clinical AND administrative duties. They are one of the most versatile members of the ambulatory health care team. Common duties of an MA include:

  • Check patients in and out upon arrival and departure
  • Answer phone calls and questions
  • Perform basic billing and coding procedures
  • Assist providers with exams and procedures
  • Assist with minor surgeries
  • Administer injections or medications
  • Work in the electronic health record (EHR)
  • Perform EKG, phlebotomy and laboratory procedures
  • Take patient vital signs
  • Help patients stay up-to-date with preventative testing
  • Perform health coaching or patient education

It’s hard to outline a “typical day” for an MA because each day is different, and there’s little repetition. Moreover, MAs work in a variety of settings and help many different types of patients. If you’re someone who likes variety in your day, becoming an MA could be a good fit for you

CNAs work with nurses

Certified nursing assistants, also called nursing aides — as the title implies — primarily assist the registered nurse (RN) or licensed practicing nurse (LPN). Because they serve as direct caregivers, they are most often employed by nursing homes, residential care facilities and hospitals.

CMAs work with a variety of providers

With a broader skill set, medical assistants assist a variety of providers including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They typically work in medical offices, clinics, urgent care centers and may work in general medicine or specialty practices. It isn’t typical to see MAs in the hospital, but with the need for healthcare workers increasing the opportunities for MAs are growing and changing rapidly. (Source)

It still surprises me that I’m a Certified Medical Assistant. I never had any desire to go into healthcare, never envisioned myself doing the job, and yet, here I am.

I don’t even like people that much, ya’ll! How did this happen?

And yet – why do I enjoy it so much!?