Are CNA's considered "Nurses"?

  1. I am a new nurse but was a CNA for 15 years before going to school. I was never referred to as a nurse when I was a CNA. I recently went to work in a Doc office where the CNA refers to herself as a Nurse and all of the office personelle refer to her as a nurse. She does everything that I do. I was suprised at this. I have since found that many Doc offices utilize CNA's as nurses. Is this a new thing? I don't want to sound caddy but it just kind of seems like my blood, sweat and tears I put into Nursing school was for nothing if a CNA can do my job. Please don't think this is a smack to CNA's because I have much respect for them as I was one myself for so many years. I would just like to hear some opinions.
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  2. 121 Comments

  3. by   nurseunderwater
    last i heard....no (resounding no)
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    This one's a no-brainer: Anyone who passes him/herself off as a nurse without having the credentials is violating the law. I too was a CNA before becoming an RN, and even when the patients would call me "nurse" I was always careful to clear up any potential misunderstandings by pointing out that I was a nurse assistant, and my job was helping their nurse take care of them. No one should EVER represent herself as a nurse without actually being one.........this is not only stupid and dangerous, it can result in criminal prosecution, which will ruin any chance that CNA might have to ever become one. :stone
  5. by   leslie :-D
    if you are absolutely certain she's not a nurse then she should NOT be presenting herself as such. it is fraudulent, dangerous (if she is doing nursing tasks) and reportable to the bon. you need to take some sort of action that won't jeopardize your own job. think it through as to how you're going to proceed and best of luck sherry.

    leslie
  6. by   eak16
    Good God No!
    good CNA's are so valuable and often work incredibly hard but they are not nurses. I put myself through nursing school as a CNA, and I graduate in two weeks. (YAYY!!) What i will be doing as a nurse, even though it will be in the same hospital, will be completely different. The level of responsibility is vastly different, the level of critical thinking needed is on a different plane.
    If a CNA decides to call herself a nurse, or a doctor decides to, it is going to come back to bite them in the butt someday in the form of a mistake, lawsuit, citation by the BON, etc....
  7. by   nursesherry
    Quote from earle58
    if you are absolutely certain she's not a nurse then she should NOT be presenting herself as such. it is fraudulent, dangerous (if she is doing nursing tasks) and reportable to the bon. you need to take some sort of action that won't jeopardize your own job. think it through as to how you're going to proceed and best of luck sherry.

    leslie
    I don't want to get the girl in trouble or anything. I did question her about the things she is doing and she said she was told that she is working under the Physicians Licenses which makes it ok. I told her that if she works outside her scope of practice as a CNA and hurts someone, she will be the one standing before the BON in danger of loosing her certification not to mention the legal ramifications.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    glad you are around to educate her. i am hoping she heeds your warnings.
  9. by   moia
    This is why I hate all these dumb titles like nursing assistant...I am thankful we did away with them where I work...anyone whose responsibilties encompass the CNA role are called patientservice or care attendants...this way we avoid any chance of people passing themselves off as nurses...
    I think in the doctors office alot of MDs are too cheap to hire an RPN or RN but they don't want their patients to know...so they start the problem by saying to the patient "the nurse will be getting ...fill in the blank...the patient thinks they are being cared for by a nurse and the CNA probably has no idea about it until the patient says something...then what do you do? You SHOULD tell the patient you are a CNA and describe your role and training and you SHOULD tell the doctor to never refer to you as a nurse as it could get you in serious trouble but some people feel like its harmless because they aren't doing anything beyond their scope of practice...it's a slippery slope though... a doc cannot relegate certain tasks to a CNA even if they are willing to put their licence on the line..the CNA cant do certain tasks because it is illegal....if the CNA and Doc start letting the really basic rules slide they are sure to start doing things that are going to lead to disaster.

    I would ask to meet with the doc and I would make sure to bring along the standards...tell the doc what the repercussions could be in this situation...be really clear that it's not a national emergency..just let him know there are real reasons why the nurse title is restricted to only those who have completed certain education requirements and have passed a state exam...remind him that it would an equivalent of a nurse telling patients she is a MD and that patients can get really upset of they ever discover the fact that a CNA has been misrepresented as a Rn...it is not because any one did anything wrong in providing care..it is the patients perception that can cause problems...if they find out by chance they may think the doc has been less than honest...that can really hurt a practice and put everyones job at risk.

    People are cynical and suspicious about healthcare..it frightens them so we must do our best to make sure they have no reason to doubt what we say or do.


    I would make sure to focus your concerns about titles as a discussion about all of you as a team...make sure you are clear that you aren't being nitpicky but you are concerned for everyones welfare..let the CNA know that your concern was for them and the position the doctor put them in..let them know you are on their side and had real concerns if the confusion over job title continued someone was bound to discover it and use it against the practice.
    Last edit by moia on May 22, '04
  10. by   tattooednursie
    I am a CNA, and I never refer to myself as a nurse. I have not went through school yet to be a nurse, so therefore I will not call myself a nurse, nor tell my patients that I am a nurse. CNA's who do that do get on my nerves real fast. If they want to be nurses they need to go through school to earn that title. I hope everything goes ok for you.
    mandi
  11. by   tattooednursie
    And by the way, I do like how you posted that. Some threads on CNA's begin with some one just smacking them down. I do appreciate it.
    Mandi
  12. by   tmiller027
    I'm a CNA and I've been called "nurse" several times. In my facility, I think some family members just don't know the difference. I do my best to explain things to them. Because I'm male, a few patients have even called me doctor lol, but I REALLY explain to them I'm not the doc.

    My favorite was one family member who came up and asked if I was the therapist (she was referring to our physical thereapist who's name is also Tim). I answered: "No, but I need therapy". She got a good laugh from that.

    But it is wrong for this girl to pass herself off as a nurse, though it sounds like she's been completely mislead by the doctor.
  13. by   Chaya
    Tread cautiously, Sherry. Try to find from your state's scope of practice regulations if there is anything specific that a nurse can do but a medical assistant with other certification is not allowed to do. Can you clarify whether she is truly working inder the Doctor's license? Just make sure she isn't doing anything under YOUR license that is questionable.
  14. by   rstewart
    Quote from Chaya
    Tread cautiously, Sherry. Try to find from your state's scope of practice regulations if there is anything specific that a nurse can do but a medical assistant with other certification is not allowed to do. Can you clarify whether she is truly working inder the Doctor's license? Just make sure she isn't doing anything under YOUR license that is questionable.

    Working under the .......'s license.


    This phrase is oft used which is odd because quite simply nobody works under another's license.

    On this board many RN's will state that they are worried because an LPN or CNA works under their license and not doing a good job. LPNs have their own license and must practice within the scope of that license. RNs may delegate duties to the LPN, but those duties must be within the scope of that LPNs practice and level of competency; conversely they may not delegate duties outside of the LPNs scope of practice with the understanding that they are being performed under the RN's license. Should they do so the RN could be disciplined for improper delegation and the LPN for practicing out of their scope of practice. The key here is since both have a license (and years of education invested) there is a viable means of control.

    In the case of unlicensed providers, the situation is much the same whether it is a physician or a nurse performing the delegation. A doctor can not legally tell a CNA to go perform brain surgery as an extreme example. In the hospital environment the issue does not arise because the hospital requires privilages/credentialing of their non-employee providers, and since they won't grant the right to perform brain surgery to CNAs it doesn't happen. In the physician's office the responsibilities appear less clear cut when in fact they are not. Only the level of oversight has changed. The physician can delegate however he/she sees fit without a problem-----until someone complains or something goes wrong. But even then the unlicensed person is not working under the physician's license although they have none of their own. They (CNAs) may be sued or even arrested if applicable; most often they are not sued because their assets are so few it's not worth it.

    So yes, I am aware that physicians ask others to do all sorts of things----but their license or even presence does not give them carte blanche rights to delegate tasks to individuals under that license.

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