But she's not a nurse!

  1. I just started a new position running a clinic. The clinic is staffed by myself and one CNA. I am so happy to be working with this CNA as she has over 15 years experience working in this clinic and is a wealth of knowledge and help to me. I adore her. She is very nice and cooperative. I only have one problem with the entire situation. Everyone who comes to the clinic calls her, Nurse Judy. All of the employee handouts and printed information and brochures have her listed as Nurse Judy. They have me listed as Nurse Diane. As if we were one in the same. I am a RN and of course her supervisor. She is 20 years my senior and I really do have alot of respect for her. I just can't live with her using the Nurse designation. I know it is against the law and I'm thinking that is the angle I will try and to set the record strait. Other people who work in the company would never let thier assistants be called thier own professional titles. All of the other staff are non medical. They have worked with Judy for years, they trust her and love her. Any ideas on how to handle this?
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  2. 154 Comments

  3. by   Q.
    Ahhhh.... the confabulations of clinic nursing.

    I feel your pain, my friend. The MAs here are ALL referred to as nurses.
  4. by   kittyw
    You're right that if she is going by "nurse", she is holding herself out to be a nurse and can be held legally to a nurse's professional standard even though she does not have the training. I bet she doesn't know that..... I know personally I wouldn't want the liability w/o the training and pay!!

    She will probably be resistant to change ... esp since she's been there for so long and it hasn't been a problem in the past. But hopefully if you let her know that this is for HER benefit (and your & the facility) and explain to the nonmedical personnel that you're just trying to avoid lawsuits (blame it all on lawyers!!! --- :chuckle I've been to law school) then over time people will catch on.... maybe you can think of another nickname for her?

    Good luck!!
    Kitty
  5. by   nurseratchett29
    I fully understand!!!!!I work in a physician's office where I supervise 3 MAs. We basically do the same job except I do the triaging, meds, and other things that require a license. MY thing is not that they get called nurses, I GET CALLED A MEDICAL ASSISTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire
    I did not go to school and work my butt off to be labeled MEDICAL ASSISTANT!!!!!! Assist THIS, that's what I say!!!!!
    Last edit by nurseratchett29 on Jul 31, '02
  6. by   canoehead
    Can you have the designation nursing supervisor added to your name? Or campaign to have a more professional designation in the pamphlets, say your actual education- "Nurse Judy" gives me visions of the 50's when nursing was more about bedmaking and flower arranging. (I have an old textbook to prove it!)
  7. by   ceecel.dee
    Good idea Canoehead! That would work!
  8. by   NurseDennie
    I had exactly the same question. I called the BON in Tennessee and asked if it was legal to be referred to as nurse when you are in reality a NA. I was told in Tennessee it IS legal!

    They can't call themselves Registered nurses or LPN's but they can decide at any point that they are a nurse.

    I don't understand why doctors feel like they're getting a better deal with the MA's. They're all working under the doc's license, unless you're supervising them in which case they're under YOUR license. Scary

    Best luck

    Love

    Dennie
  9. by   mattsmom81
    This is against the law in most states...Tennessee allows it, eh? Oh well!!! Dennie, you'll have to start gettin' that changed right away, girl.....LOL!

    I guess I would consider asking the doc to rewrite the brochure introducing YOU as the nurse and the CNA as 'your assistant'. If the doc bucks...look surprised and reply sweetly "Gee it's illegal (if it is in your state) for her to use this credential falsely...didn't you know that? It's just like impersonating a doctor....it's against the law...and the clinic could be held liable too...."

    It's possible this could make waves, doubly hard since you working so closely with her...this could taint your relationship if it rocks the boat too much.... <sigh> Good luck and let us know what you decide to do!!
  10. by   santhony44
    I agree that she should *not* be in the printed information as "Nurse." You might even succeed in getting the staff to refer to her as an "assistant." However, the patients will probably forevermore refer to her as "Nurse Judy."

    If she is filling the role they see as "nurse," then technicalities like licensure don't matter to them. I'm a FNP. I introduce myself that way, the office staff refer to me that way, the signs on the door and out front have those initials, as do my business cards. I'm still frequently called and referred to by patients as "doctor." I am always careful to point out that no, I'm not. Most patients don't care. A patient once said, "You do what a doctor does, you're my doctor!" I think many of them have that perception, and the distinction does not matter to them. So as far as they're concerned, if Judy does what a nurse does, she's a nurse!
  11. by   lgcv
    If she has been there 15 years and always been referred to as nurse Judy, changing it will create a lot of grief.
    Maybe just putting each of your credentials at the end, as in, Nurse Judy CNA, Nurse Diane RN. It's not a perfect solution, but considering this is a new job, you would not want to make waves that are too big....yet
  12. by   rebelwaclause
    maybe they call her "nurse judy" as a term of endearment because of her years in the field and age? i've heard other cna's say they are nurses too, but i get the impression this is more or less to dignify what they may personally feel about their jobs.

    i'm playing devils advocate here....what's the absolute bottom line reason why this bothers you so much? is it a little devil sitting on your shoulder saying "she's not a nurse, i'm the nurse and i'm gonna expose her as a fraud?", or, you just don't want her to get credit for something she is not? i don't know your feelings - only you do. i'm just putting it out there for you to consider your motives.

    otherwise, i agree with lgcv, use licensure identification at the end of your names. this way all will be informed of who's-who.

    -rebel, with a clause
  13. by   P_RN
    Grrrrrr. This is such a sore point with me.

    You worked for that RN you ought to be titled that way even if it's just in the brochure. Judy may be a nice person, and the patients will forever title her Nurse Judy, but that doesn't make it right, or necessarily even legal.

    Several months back a similar question led to a doctor's office changing their literature and even their website as a result of our notifying them they were doing just this very thing.
  14. by   caroladybelle
    The fact is that referring to her as a nurse is unethical. I am tired of people equating aides as nurses. It makes you better understand why people don't want to be a nurse.

    Would we accept a surgery tech. doing open heart? Would we allow a legal secretary to try a case because there is no difference between he/r and the lawyer. Would we permit the court bailiff to judge a case? And a sillier analogy, would we transplant an aorta instead of a heart (after all, it is associated with the heart - can't they do the same job)?

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