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Graduate Nursing vs Medical Assistant

Graduate Nursing vs Medical Assistant

Are you interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field, but you're not sure which path to take? Two popular options to consider are graduate nursing and medical assisting. While both professions involve working in a healthcare setting, there are some key differences between the two. In this blog post, we'll explore what it means to be a graduate nurse versus a medical assistant, and help you decide which path is right for you.

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Introduction

The healthcare industry is experiencing rapid growth, and there is a high demand for skilled professionals in various roles. Graduate nursing and medical assisting are both rewarding careers that offer opportunities to make a difference in people's lives. However, the educational requirements, job descriptions, and career outlooks for these two professions differ significantly. Let's take a closer look at what it means to be a graduate nurse and a medical assistant.

What is a Graduate Nursing and Medical Assistant?

Graduate Nursing:

  • Graduate nursing refers to the advanced practice of nursing, which requires a higher level of education and training than a registered nurse (RN).
  • Graduate nurses, also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), have the authority to diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications, and provide primary care.
  • There are several specialties within graduate nursing, including nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists.

Medical Assistant:

  • A medical assistant is a healthcare professional who supports the work of physicians and other healthcare providers.
  • Medical assistants perform administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and managing patient records, as well as clinical tasks, such as taking vital signs and assisting with medical procedures.
  • Medical assistants work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

Difference between a Graduate Nursing and Medical Assistant

While both graduate nursing and medical assisting involve working in the healthcare field, there are several key differences between the two professions. Here are some of the main distinctions:

  • Education and Training: Graduate nursing requires a higher level of education and training than medical assisting. To become a graduate nurse, you must first complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and obtain a registered nursing (RN) license. Then, you can pursue a master's or doctoral degree in nursing. In contrast, medical assistants typically complete a one- or two-year certificate or associate degree program.
  • Scope of Practice: Graduate nurses have a broader scope of practice than medical assistants. They have the authority to diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications, and provide primary care. Medical assistants, on the other hand, work under the supervision of physicians and are not licensed to diagnose or treat patients independently.
  • Specialties: Graduate nursing offers a wide range of specialties to choose from, such as family practice, mental health, and pediatrics. Medical assistants do not have formal specialties but may choose to specialize in a particular area of healthcare, such as dermatology or cardiology.
  • Career Opportunities: Graduate nurses have more advanced career opportunities than medical assistants. They can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices, and can specialize in a specific area of healthcare. Medical assistants typically work in outpatient settings, such as clinics and private practices, and have fewer opportunities for advancement.

Graduate Nursing vs Medical Assistant: Job Description

Graduate Nursing:

  • The job of a graduate nurse varies depending on the specialty and practice setting. However, some common job duties include:
    • Conducting physical exams and medical histories
    • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
    • Prescribing medications
    • Developing treatment plans
    • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals
    • Educating patients about their health conditions and self-care

Medical Assistant:

  • Medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to support physicians and other healthcare providers. Some common job duties include:
    • Scheduling appointments and managing patient records
    • Taking vital signs and preparing patients for examinations
    • Assisting with medical procedures
    • Administering medications and injections
    • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
    • Providing patient education and answering questions

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Graduate Nursing vs Medical Assistant: Education and Training

Graduate Nursing:

  • To become a graduate nurse, you must first complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and obtain a registered nursing (RN) license. Then, you can pursue a master's or doctoral degree in nursing to specialize in a specific area of practice.
  • Graduate nursing programs typically include coursework in advanced nursing theory, research methods, pharmacology, and clinical practice. Clinical rotations and hands-on experience are also a crucial part of the education and training process.

Medical Assistant:

  • Medical assistants typically complete a one- or two-year certificate or associate degree program. These programs cover topics such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and medical office procedures.
  • In addition to classroom instruction, medical assistant programs often include hands-on training in clinical skills, such as taking vital signs, performing medical procedures, and using medical equipment.

Graduate Nursing vs Medical Assistant: Career Outlook and Salary

Graduate Nursing:

  • The career outlook for graduate nurses is excellent, with a projected job growth rate of 45% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This high demand is driven by factors such as an aging population, increased access to healthcare, and the need for primary care providers in underserved areas.
  • The median annual wage for nurse practitioners, one type of graduate nurse, was $114,510 in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The exact salary can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and specialty.

Medical Assistant:

  • The career outlook for medical assistants is also positive, with a projected job growth rate of 19% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is fueled by technological advancements in healthcare, an aging population, and the increasing need for support staff in medical offices.
  • The median annual wage for medical assistants was $35,850 in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The salary can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the type of healthcare setting.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in healthcare is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of your interests, skills, and goals. Graduate nursing and medical assisting are both viable options for those who want to make a difference in people's lives and work in a rewarding profession. While graduate nursing offers more advanced career opportunities and higher earning potential, it also requires a higher level of education and training. On the other hand, medical assisting provides a quicker entry into the healthcare field but may offer limited advancement opportunities. Ultimately, the choice between graduate nursing and medical assisting depends on your individual preferences and career goals.

Dreambound ensures accessibility to its educational programs by offering them in diverse locations. For a detailed exploration of the exciting opportunities within these two vocations, we encourage you to visit:

Marce Arnejo
Written by
Marce Arnejo

Marce Arnejo is part of the Sales team at Dreambound. Her role involves seeking out schools and institutions to provide valuable opportunities for students seeking a career in the healthcare sector. Beyond her professional life, Marce is passionate about music and gaming. She finds joy in exploring various genres of music and using gaming to unwind and immerse herself in virtual worlds. Her diverse interests enrich her personal life and contribute to her work by bringing new ideas and creativity.

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