Is it legal? What's your opinion??

  1. I was recently surfing the net and came across the following web page -- http://www.pcpediatrics.net/officestaff.html

    As I read the bios of the office staff I couldn't help but notice that they referred to medical assistants as nurses. I've been under the impression that the only people who could use the title 'nurse' are LPN's or RN's. Also, I was wondering if it is legal for a medical assistant to do telephone triage. What are your thoughts?
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  2. 38 Comments

  3. by   fiestynurse
    I do not know what the laws are in Utah. But, in California it is illegal to call a medical assistant a nurse and only RNs can do telephone triage.
  4. by   RNPD
    The professional title "nurse" is reserved only for those with a RN or LPN (LVN) license. It is illegal in this country to refer to a medical assistant as "nurse." I therefore sent an email to the address I found on the wesite, informing the practice of this matter and asking that it be rectified. I will keep you posted if I receive a reply. I am also bookmarking the site to periodically check for any corrections.

    I am quite sure that if the NP or any PAs they might hire in the future were referred to as "doctor", the correction would be swift!

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I worked hard for my license, and work harder still to keep it, and I don't appreciate a medical assistant-albeit certified-to ride my coattails!
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    Under Utah nursing licensure laws @
    http://www.commerce.utah.gov/opl/58-31b.PDF

    "Unlawful conduct" includes:
    (1) using the following titles, names or initials, if the user is not properly licensed under this chapter:
    (a) nurse;
    (b) licensed practical nurse, practical nurse, or L.P.N.;
    (c) registered nurse or R.N.;
    (d) registered nurse practitioner, N.P., or R.N.P.;
    (e) registered nurse specialist, N.S., or R.N.S.;
    (f) registered psychiatric mental health nurse specialist;
    (g) advanced practice registered nurse;
    (h) nurse anesthetist, certified nurse anesthetist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or C.R.N.A.; or
    (i) other generally recognized names or titles used in the profession of nursing;
    (2) using any other name, title, or initials that would cause a reasonable person to believe the user is licensed under this chapter if the user is not properly licensed under this chapter; and
    (3) conducting a nursing education program in the state for the purpose of qualifying individuals to meet requirements for licensure under this chapter without the program having been approved under Section 58-31b-601.


    Think we all need to send letters to these doctors:

    Primary Care Pediatrics
    *Craig W. Armstrong, MD
    Glen F. Huff, MD
    2380 North 400 East Suite C, North Logan, UT 84341
    Phone (435) 753-7337 - Fax (435) 750-6779
    craig@pcpediatrics.net

    and copy of letter to:

    Utah State Board of Nursing
    Heber M. Wells Bldg., 4th Floor
    160 East 300 South
    Salt Lake City, UT 84111 Phone: (801) 530-6628
    FAX: (801) 530-6511
    Contact Person: Laura Poe, MS, RN, Executive Administrator
  6. by   Genista
    Thanks for sharing this website w/ us. I find that sort of misrepresentation extremely offensive to nurses everywhere. I too, have posted an email expressing my sentiments to the pedicatric office. I hardly think a CNA or phelbotomist equals a "nurse." Grrrrr!!!!! This is unacceptable behavior. If people want to be called a "nurse," then they can jolly well go to nursing school & pass the boards!
  7. by   Ryan11011
    Thanks everyone for your responses and attention to this. I too will be sending emails! I hope everyone who reads this post does also.
  8. by   BeachNurse
    Illegal, for sure! I would hope that would be the case in all states. I once did some Agency office nursing with a Pediatric office. Most of the "back office" staff consisted of Med. assistants. I was the only nurse but I noticed that the Med. Assistants introduced themselves as "nurse" to the parents. However, ONLY RN's were allowed to do telephone triage--they would'nt even let ME do the triage because I was agency. These people are setting themselves up for a lawsuit for sure. I guess they figure they can save about 10 bucks an hour using an assistant rather than an RN.
  9. by   sharann
    It seems to me after reading the employee bios that there is only ONE real nurse in that practice. An RN or LVN is a nurse, otherwise they are assistants,technicians etc... The office web site and office staff are clearly defrauding the public. I am not in Utah but if I were I would report them to the proper agency. Medical assistants are fine, I was one prior to getting my RN, but you don't see me saying I am a pharmacist or lawyer when I am a NURSE!
  10. by   NRSKarenRN
    Letter also sent to:

    Karen Dewey, MSN, APRN, CS
    Executive Director
    Utah Nurses Association
    3761 S. 700 East, Ste. 201
    Salt Lake City, UT 84106
    Phone (801) 293-8351 fax (801) 293-8458
    Toll free 800-236-1617
    una@xmission.com
  11. by   NRSKarenRN
    Subj: Re: Pediatrics Office Staff website identifying unlicensed Med assistants as nurses
    Date: 11/17/01 9:17:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
    From: askthedoc@pcpediatrics.net (Craig Armstrong)
    To: NRSKarenRN@aol.com

    Dear Ms. O'Hara:
    Thank you for your message. It was an unfortunate oversight on my part.
    The website has been changed.
    Dr. Armstrong
  12. by   P_RN
    Karen, WAY TO GO!!!!!
  13. by   BeachNurse
    Well...1)The website looks the same to me and 2)It doesn't change the fact that they have unlicensed personnel serving as "triage nurses".
  14. by   RNPD
    I also received the same message from Dr Armstrong this evening. However, the website has not yet been changed and I again emailed him to point out yet again his "unfortunate oversight". I also mentioned that he might want to check into the legality of having an unlicensed person do telephone triage, as I believe it is a duty of a licensed nurse. Will keep you posted! I intend to keep harrassing this man until the site is actually changed.

    But it seems as if we educated someone today! Maybe we can change the world-one small step at a time!
    Last edit by RNPD on Nov 17, '01

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