Jump to content

High Medical Assistant/Staff turnover


Recommended Posts

I'm a good 3 months into my 2nd job and I've noticed a big turnover rate in medical assistants at both the jobs I've had as a PA-C. Has anyone experienced this? It is super annoying because every other month or so, a new MA has to get trained up and caught up to speed and the workflow gets affected.

Also, as a related question (sorry for my ignorance), but do MA's require any sort of specific training? At my 1st job, I swear there was one MA that was literally out of high school and pretty sure she did not go to MA schooling. At my current job, there is an MA that I work with that is technically still in MA school and this is her clinical time but she's hired and gets paid to do it.. weird, no?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some states allow on the job training and home study for MA and then you take an exam to actually become certified.  But, I don't know if certification is required to serve as a "medical assistant" in a private practice office - maybe to do some procedures/injections, but for the computer stuff, BP, etc. I don't think so.

As for turnover, same here unfortunately.  Someone else offers $0.25 more per hour, or something, and "poof" they're gone!  One of the reasons I bonus my "MA" (she's actually a CNA) - plus she is good at her job and works hard for me.  I make a monthly bonus based on productivity and give her a portion of said bonus - I look at it as I would struggle to make the bonus if it wasn't for her productivity, so in my opinion she deserves a piece of it.  She's been with the practice for approximately 18 months (hired straight out of school and 6 months longer than me) and she is paid better than any of the other MA's because of the bonus I give her.  She appreciates the bonus and it keeps her from running for the next open position.  I also treat her well during the day and actually say "Thank you" when deserved.  It is so nice to have a competent MA who cares about her job.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Washington, an MA has to attend a 9 month school and pass a state exam to be called a CMA - certified.

Many do not last. Some are searching for a different career - waitress to MA, hairdresser to MA, stay home Mom to MA. Or a stepping stone to LPN/RN school. Many have no idea what they are actually getting into.

They are "registered" in Washington with attachment to the provider's license they work under. They are only allowed to 'parrot' what we say - no outside thinking or advice - "your provider says that if you are vomiting you should stop eating, try sips of clear liquid and go to an ER or UC if after hours and you vomit blood or can't stop vomiting.'

The private practice I left last year has an UNcertified MA working outside the law and they kept saying she is 'grandfathered' in by dates. NOT. Everything she does is illegal - giving injections, monitoring vaccines and fridge temps, every single thing.  One of the multitude of reasons I bailed.

An old ortho practice I was at still has completely untrained folks calling themselves MAs who were trained on the job. No certificate, nothing. Some draw up joint injections - which I threw away because I didn't see them drawn or the bottles - and put on casts etc. They hired a risk manager who pointed out all the pitfalls. Then they fired the risk manager.

MAs are short lived in many places as they constantly look for a few more dollars an hour somewhere or not working nights as a CNA in a nursing home. The turnover is HUGE almost everywhere.

After all these years, I finally have an LPN who is a rockstar AND an RN who is experienced - makes a world of difference in maintaining a panel of patients.

MAs have a role - but many are abused and overused or forced to work outside their license. We need to bring back the LPN.

Just my crusty old 2 cents.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

everything said above is true. I have worked with some great MAs and some not great MAs.  Ditto LPNs. an LPN is basically a CMA who can start an IV and give IV/IM meds. MA program 9-12 months after high school. LPN program 12-14 months after high school.

A great MA can do foleys, limited xrays, IM meds, 1st assist minor procedures, etc.  Really almost anything they have been trained to do.The last place I work cross trained MAs as ER techs and many were rockstars. one went on to PA school and she is a great PA.

I was an EMT at 18 and my first ER tech job in CA trained me on the job as an MA so that I could draw blood and give injections. I even got a certificate as it was a real pathway in CA in the 80s. After 3 summers there I did everything the RN did except push IV meds, start foleys, and hang blood. I started IVs, gave IM injections, 1st assisted procedures, gave neb tx, etc

Most MAs today make $15-20/hr. LPNs about $10/hr more. unfortunately, both MA and LPN programs are not cheap. For the money, I think emt to paramedic is a better path with more responsibility and a better scope of practice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had 2 positions where this was common. I worked for a community health center who hired new grads because they were cheap. When they had been there for a while, earned their keep and improved their skills they would request a raise and were told "we are a CHC and we don't do that." Hard job, no raise ever...buh bye.

My current employer just keeps cutting staff and asking people to work harder. We have lost 1/2 of our best MAs and LVNs because there is simply better money for less work elsewhere. We have lost 1/3 of our UC APPs for the same reason. 

The decisions are made by people sitting in an office looking at diagrams and flow charts who have no idea what we actually do. Until they feel some kind of bite nothing will change. When people waited 90 minutes for routine problems because we had 1 MA and 1 provider where we usually had 2 I gave them the email and phone number to admin. When I was told to stop I advised that if they thought I was going to get bitched at all day for their decisions while they hid in their offices they were nuts. I'm a marked man...

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest UVAPAC

Unfortunately in our office the MA's and front office staff get treated like crap (Primarily by office manager and MDs).  The people in these positions are looked upon as easily replaceable.  By the time we hire a new MA/Front Office staff, and they are up to speed and working efficiently they quit for one reason or another.  I really wish they were treated better, and given appropriate raises each year... otherwise the vicious cycle will continue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/24/2018 at 6:13 AM, UVAPAC said:

Unfortunately in our office the MA's and front office staff get treated like crap (Primarily by office manager and MDs).  The people in these positions are looked upon as easily replaceable.  By the time we hire a new MA/Front Office staff, and they are up to speed and working efficiently they quit for one reason or another.  I really wish they were treated better, and given appropriate raises each year... otherwise the vicious cycle will continue.

They are definitely underpaid for what they do. So many offices DEPEND on MA's for just about everything and they are treated like garbage. I never understood why practices do not value the MA as much as the provider. When it comes to the menial tasks (which are essential, like calling pts back, faxes, doing paper work), most of the practices I've been working at are understaffed. It seems like every practice could use at least 1 extra MA.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More