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Key Differences Between Nursing Assisting and Medical Assisting

Posted On Jun 16, 2016

In the world of nursing two terms get thrown around a lot almost interchangably: "nursing assisting" and "medical assisting." Are these the same things? That is a fair question, since both of these require the practitioner to work with the patient as well as doctors and nurses, but a nursing assistant has slightly different goals from a medical assistant. This is a pertinent question for those considering career possibilities in Toledo OH, and this article will explain the difference in full.

Nursing Assisting

Nursing assistants have a lot of daily duties that they must perform. They act as an intermediate between the patient and a licensed practicing nurse. More specifically, their duties include:

  • Information- Nursing assistants often see the most of the patients. They take vital signs, blood pressure, temperatures, etc. They then pass this information on to the nurse or physician, so that they can get straight to work when they see the patient.
  • Book Keeping- While they do not do it alone, nursing assistants play a large role in recording patient history. This makes sense, as they are usually the ones retrieving the information!
  • Bedside Manner- It is important that nursing assistants be prepared to help patients with whatever they need and to keep them comfortable; this is especially true for disabled patients or those coming out of surgery. For this reason, it is important that a nursing assistant be kind and empathetic.
  • Availability- Being a nursing assistant means being available to patients at all kinds of hours. Because of this, nursing assistants must be prepared to dedicate a lot of time and late nights to their patients.

Become a Medical Assistant with Athena Career Academy!Why the Confusion?

It makes sense that some people would not be clear on the difference between these two professions, because there can be a lot of overlap. Both types of professional are responsible for complying with various healthcare laws and tending to patients. These jobs are very similar, in fact, but there are some slight differences in procedure.


For example, a nursing assistant will report to an RN or licensed nurse, whereas medical assistants report to office managers and physicians. Moreover, there is significantly less training involved in being a medical assistant than a nursing assistant. Luckily for nursing assistants, the training process can often have credits applied to a nursing school, whereas medical assistants will have to apply to nursing school from the beginning.

Another bonus for nursing assistants is that there is much more freedom for them than for medical assistants. They not only have more freedom in patient care, but also in choosing their field of employment and climbing the ladder.


While they perform similar duties, there are many differences between nursing assistants and medical assistants. For those considering these options in Toledo OH, it is important to remember that nursing assistants gain a lot more versatility and freedom in their careers. Only by being informed of these differences can anyone make an educated choice.

Schedule a Campus Tour at Athena Career Academy. We are the leading nursing school located in Toledo, Ohio.

While training to become an STNA at Athena Career Academy, is no longer offered, we do have two other programs that may interest you.

Clinical Medical Assistant

Choosing a career as a clinical medical assistant can open a lot of doors for those students who may want to work in healthcare but don't necessarily want to be a nurse. MA's are typically based in outpatient care, like a doctor's office or urgent care office. In a little over 7 months you can begin your career as a medical assistant.

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Licensed Practical Nurse

As a licensed practical nurse, you'll enter the exciting world of nursing at a higher rate of pay than an STNA, and be available to more management based positions. Your scope of practice is higher as an LPN, and you can coordinate care plans with doctors and registered nurses for your patients. Athena's Practical Nursing program can be completed in as little as 12 months. LPN's have a higher level of training and are typically compensated at almost double an STNA.

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So what are you waiting for? Call Athena Career Academy today to speak with an admissions representative to discover your new career path and financial aid options available for you. 

Athena Career Academy is located at:
5203 Airport Highway
Toledo, Ohio 43615
Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30AM to 4:30PM
Phone: (419) 329-4075

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Accrediting Agencies

Athena Career Academy is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. The school is registered with the Ohio Board of Career Colleges and Schools; State of Ohio – School Registration Number – 10-09-1943T and operates under the authority of the Ohio Board of Nursing. Please contact the Student Operations Manager for more information.

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