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A bit upset :(

Hi im Jen and am currently in my 3rd semester of my MA program.We just found out that we will not be doing blood draws on "real" arms...only the fake one they sent us in our med kits.I am a bit concerned that by using a rubber arm i will not get the full feel and practice thats needed out in the real world Is this common? I am going to try and speak to the dean about it. ALSO we were told by a teacher that once we are in the field we need our own liability insurance.Is this true ....Thanks Jen

Are You Still In School? yes

Are You Working? no

Re: A bit upset :(

Ahhh, the fake arm--so many memories...
I practiced so much on mine that the "veins" were leaking all the time. Finally, I had to get rid of it.
Practicing on the fake arm is similar to an actual draw...kinda.
On humans, you can actually see veins under the skin--you don't have to feel around for them all the time. Also, with humans, you get to "feel the pop" sometimes, when the needle enters a vein (it's a sensation that you'll never forget).
I think the fake arm is a great tool to start with. However, I definitely think that your school should let you practice on humans (other students, faculty, etc.) before sending you out into the field.
You REALLY don't want your first blood draw to be on an actual patient.
As far as liability insurance goes, I think it's a great idea. I have carried it for years, although I've never had to use it (thank GOD). It shouldn't be a requirement, though. Did your professor say that you needed it for externship? My school had a policy that covered all of the students, so that we wouldn't have to pay for it ourselves...

Your Professional Title/Credentials: RMA, BMO

Re: A bit upset :(

You need to practice on real people. I learned in school. We did it in class, we practiced on each other. A lot of students were not willing to let me do it. When I got to my externship, it was really bad, at first because I was so inepririenced at it. BUt they the office manager was ok with it, she understood I was not taught properly. When I finally got a job, I did everything ok except drawing blood. It was a busy office and they really needed someone who does it well. I was fired and now am jobless. Its very hard to find another MA position without expirience. If you don't practice on real people, you may be in trouble later, however, you also may work in administrative area, so you won't need the knowledge of phlebotomy. It's not needed everywhere, there are so many things that medical assistants do that you may be able to get away with it.

Your Professional Title/Credentials: RMA

Are You Still In School? no

Are You Working? no

Re: A bit upset :(

I agree about using people not those fake arms. I think it like compareing apples and oranges. You need to do it on each other. We have been since the first month. So now I have 6 months of experience doing injections and blood draws. I have over 50 draws and 20 finger sticks. I have to keep track so I can take the Phlebotomy Exam. I want to be registered for that as well. Please talk to your instructors about this!

Robyn

Your Professional Title/Credentials: SMA

Are You Still In School? yes

Are You Working? no

Re: A bit upset :(

Interesting, I've never heard of an MA needing liability insurance. Your school SHOULD cover you through externship since you haven't been taken on to a company. Has anyone else heard of MA liabitly insurance?

You do need a real arm!! It's very important to know how a real patient will react. More importantly, practicing on a fellow student allows you to fail on a real person. Your school is really doing a disservice to you: not only will you not know what it feels like to draw on a real patient but you won't know how it feels to be the patient being drawn on!

Your Professional Title/Credentials: medical assistant

Are You Still In School? No

Are You Working? Yes

Re: A bit upset :( UPDATE

OK I have talked to the head of our program. She said we can not practice on each other do to liability reasons:(.......BUt said some teachers will voulenter she also said that we will get our hands on training during our externship....BUT most places around here do not do blood draws in the office.AND we cant sit for the cert test till we have been in the field a year any way so i shouldnt worry ...ahhhh now im really upset

Your Professional Title/Credentials: student

Re: A bit upset :(

Why can't you take your boards after you finish your program?? Is it accredited?
We practiced on each other back in 1993, but now in nursing school we don't at all. Not even saline injections.

Your Professional Title/Credentials: CMA,RMA, CNA, SN

Are You Still In School? Yes

Are You Working? yes

Re: A bit upset :(

I have tried to look to see if its acredited and am not sure how too. But she( head of program) said i have to be in the field a year......my entrance counsler never said that.im paying 17,000. to go there too .I never knew my "certificate" would just be saying i passed their program!!!!!

Your Professional Title/Credentials: student

Re: A bit upset :(

Jen,

Any certification worth having is going to require an exam (AMT, AAMA). I've also never heard of it requiring a year in the field. I'd sure like to know what certification they're offering you. Is it not in your literature on the course from the school?

Some people do get their own liability insurance. It's pretty cheap from what I hear. If you work in a docs office though, they should have liability insurance on you. I know they do where I work. I've never heard of a school not carrying liability insurance on it's students! Of course if they're not letting you DO anything, that could be why!

Lorraine

Your Professional Title/Credentials: CMA, CNA

Are You Still In School? No

Are You Working? Yes

Re: A bit upset :(

I cannot believe that you are in a school that doesnt let you practice on real arms! Is it too late to bail out of that program? My class started out on the fake arm and then went right into practicing on each other. Yes the arm gave us the "feel" but the veins in the dummy's arm are thick and very easy to locate. This is definitely not the case on all humans! There are people in my class that you can barely see or feel the vein. Then you have "ghost" veins where you think the vein is there but its not.

Geesh! There is no way that I would want to start my first real blood draw on a real patient! People jump and move and you cant be prepared for that unless you've experienced it. Also, in order to be able to have empathy for the patient you need to be stuck a lot of times yourself! I'm telling you, we are being stuck 3 and 4 times a class and class meets twice a week. I've gotten to the point where I can tell the student practicing on me that they are in my vein just from the feeling.

My advice to you is to get out of the program if you can or at least try to transfer your credits elsewhere. Or do like I'm planning on doing and leaving the MA program altogether and go directly into nursing where the real money is.

Good luck!

Your Professional Title/Credentials: MA School 3rd semester

Are You Still In School? yes

Are You Working? no

Re: A bit upset :(

Liability!! Alot of schools aren't allowing it anymore due to liability. We do all our sticks in clinicals only. It's really not a big deal, practice is practice wherever you get it.

Your Professional Title/Credentials: CMA,RMA, CNA, SN

Are You Still In School? Yes

Are You Working? yes

Re: A bit upset :(

Practice or first-time draws shouldn't be done on sick or dying patients,which is what they are in clinicals. If it is a matter of a school being too cheap to afford liability,then the instructors should allow the draws on themselves.

Re: A bit upset :(

OK this may sound a bit stupid as i am a little fuzzy-minded at the moment( have been working on a paper the last 3 hrs strait )BUT and i do understant the liability stuff but then why are we doing finger sticks, blood smears,crits, hgbs, and even urin samples on each other? AND how is it OK for the teachers to let us draw on them? Ok back to my paper Jen

Your Professional Title/Credentials: student

Are You Still In School? yes

Are You Working? no

Re: A bit upset :(

The only thing we do on each other is assessments. No blood draws of any kind. I wouldn't think your first clinicals would be with seriously ill patients. I would think they'd have you drawing titers, CBC's, lipid panels, and things like that. We gave TB skin tests to the staff to practice our intradermals, and gave insulin shots and such. No one was that acutely ill, and this was in a nursing home.

Your Professional Title/Credentials: CMA,RMA, CNA, SN

Are You Still In School? Yes

Are You Working? yes

Re: A bit upset :(

A finger stick is a cut into a capillary and is not as invasive or serious as piercing a vein. Teachers are hopefully covered by the school's insurance and therefore shouldn't think of suing a student for a lousy draw that they may have taught them to make,nor the school that they work for.
Most MA externships are done in doctor's offices but a classmate did hers in an ER and saw everything. Phlebotomy CLINICALS,on the other hand,are done in hospitals and a lot of the times the students are doing first time draws of several things,like with a butterfly,if they did not get that practice in school. Sooner or later you are left alone and the patient could be someone who's obituary you read about a month later. The same can go for a MA externship if you are drawing blood on a regular basis but a lot of the sites don't even have you ever drawing blood.

Re: A bit upset :(

Well, I have a hematoma on one of my arms right now because of a blood draw in class yesterday. But so what? I am very happy that my school does allow us to draw on each other. The only real problem is that its only a few of us and getting 25 successful draws in 5 weeks means that we are all sticking each other quite a few times each class! ( I was stuck 5x's yesterday and 4x's two days before that) Good experience though, I guess we have good liability insurance at my school. We even go to other classes and recruit people to come give blood!

Re: A bit upset :(

This is an interesting thread,

I went to MA school in the early 8O's and we didn't have a fake arm, we only had each other. We did alot of draws on each other, and alot saline shots. One unique thing my school did - we could work at the flu shot and lab "stations" at the pharmacies (You know like when you can get a cheap CMP or Thyroid panel done at Walgreen’s) It was a 2 year program (you could do one, but it was one year front office, and one year back office (9 months class room and 12 weeks of externship for each front and back office) When I went to paramedic school in the 90's we did use a fake arm at first to learn IV's but not for blood draws, those we did on each other, and lots poor hapless victims in the county ER.

Has any one who is having trouble getting work and experience tried applying as a donor screener in a plasma donation or a blood donation center? As a donor screener you usually have to get the donors vitals a hematocit and at plasma centers you regularly draw for an “esp” (a serum protein). These may not be the most glamorous places to work but it is great experience and it looks good on a resume. Someone else on another post also mentioned working as a insurance examiner, great experience – looks good on a resume.

Also, see if you can encourage your school to have a health fair or to contact other community sponsors of health fairs to see if you can volunteer. Call your local county health clinic or fire department and see if they have health screening days. Even if you just end up doing blood pressures or handing out juice it counts - I think if you ask most people in the medical field, nurses, EMT’s, Xray tech, and especially the Dr’s – you give a lot of free hours to get experience. When I see that on a resume of a candidate it makes me think that this person doesn’t just want this MA position because they want a paycheck but that they have, or at one time had enough passion about being in the medical field to do it for free. I don’t look at an externship with as much weight as I would community volunteering because it’s required for your course work. Another thing to consider is that to get that better “experience” where you are allowed to do more things with less experience you are going to have to look in places where others don’t want to work – the free clinics and homeless clinics. If you call some places like Salvation Army, Catholic Social Services, or the like and tell them what your skills are they should be able help you find a place to use them.

Wow, sorry way to long – but since I wrote it guess I’ll post it

Your Professional Title/Credentials: M.A

Are You Still In School? no

Are You Working? yes

Re: A bit upset :(

Chil thanks for the wonerful ideas! That was a great post :) I think I will def. try out a few of your ideas Jen

Are You Still In School? yes

Re: A bit upset :(

Glad I could encourage, I am really enjoying this community .

Your Professional Title/Credentials: M.A

Are You Still In School? no

Are You Working? yes

Re: A bit upset :(

I recon every place is different, I was in nursing school for 9 months and we practiced on the fake arm and then when we got brave enough, we did it on each other. I also went through Phlebotomy school and we ONLY did it on each other.

Re: A bit upset :(

Here in Dallas at Southeastern Career Institute we only practiced on the fake arm till we felt comfortable and then we moved on to REAL people. I personally feel it is better to work on REAL people. After all not all arms are alike. Even the best in my class couldnt find my veins to get blood from. Hmmm maybe I am dead. Anyway I have veins that are truly hard to find. I almost had my daughter naturally back when cause they couldnt find my veins. They poked and prodded. Again not all arms are alike and I think it is best to practice on REAL arms. I know one thing -- I didnt get arms every time I did a blood draw on my externship, it was definitely easier than in the classroom. Maybe cause when on the job I had the Pt lay back instead of sitting up. Or maybe cause I didnt have an instructor breathing down my neck making me nervous. I am seriously thinking of moving on to phlebotomy instead of MA in an office.

Joyce

Your Professional Title/Credentials: NR-CMA

Are You Still In School? no

Are You Working? no

Re: A bit upset :(

We learned to draw blood on fake arms. I took an extra class through the hospital and they used fake arms too! I have not heard of anyone in my area (in the last 10 years at least) having learned on real people. After a certian point my my externship I could try it on real people and I found it to be WAY easier than some rubber arm! I have drawn blood from heroine addicts that were easier to draw than from so dumb rubber think with cool-aid. Just get the basics down and you will be fine when you do it on real people. The hardest part is when the doctor comes out and tells you he wants you to draw his blood for his yearly lipid panel. Talk about pressure!

Re: A bit upset :(

Hearts,

Drawing on the Boss is hard,I missed 1st try this year, yikes. I just keep teasing him that I did it on purpose and if his not nice next time it will be 3 times.

Your Professional Title/Credentials: M.A., EMT-P, MSNE,

Are You Still In School? no

Are You Working? yes

Re: A bit upset :(

when i performed my very first withdraw in class, I PASSED OUT. not them, ME!! regardless to say, i had to wait for new students who didnt know me so i could finish my iv course. after a few successful times, it came like 2nd nature. My whole point is this, you need a real arm to make sure you can do it. You dont want to pull a pass out trick like i did, you want a good venipucture. good luck!!!!!!

Your Professional Title/Credentials: MA

Are You Still In School? no

Are You Working? no