Table 3

Perceived Benefits of Nurses and MAs in Family Medicine Offices

GroupClinician PerceptionsMA Perceptions
Nurses (RNs and LPNs)Starting IVsStarting IVs
Ability to answer patient questionsRNs only (not LPNs): ability to answer patient questions
Assessing and triaging patient clinical concerns
Teaching patients
Ability to provide clinical information (eg, results) to patients
Independence to work with less supervision
Less on-the-job training needed
MAsLower salaryLower salary
Trained in clerical office workTrained in clerical office work
Able to serve in back and front officeAble to serve in back and front office
More malleable to on-the-job training
Often from lower SES; may connect with lower-SES patientsSufficient knowledge to handle all office-based medical questions, education, and care
  • IV = intravenous line; LPN = licensed practical nurse; MA = medical assistant; RN = registered nurse; SES = socioeconomic status.