the problem with those that have not earned the title "nurse" through education and licensure is that once they begin to think they are a "nurse," they begin to believe they can function as a nurse. there is a potential for danger when this happens. when lines become blurred they are often crossed. people start practicing outside their scope of practice and performing functions they lack the qualifications and expertise for.
the following above were originally posted by dutchgirl in this thread at allnurses involving use of titles:
the icn position on use of the title nurse:
protection of the title “nurse”
the title of “nurse” should be protected by law and applied to and used only by those legally authorised to practice the full scope of nursing.
persons receiving health care and those employing nurses have a right to know whether they are dealing with a legally qualified nurse. reserving the title “nurse” for those who meet the legal standard allows the public to distinguish legally qualified nurses from other nursing care providers.
persons who legitimately use the title “nurse” are individually responsible and accountable for their actions, and are required to adhere to professional codes of practice and ethics. nurses need to be educated about their legal rights to the exclusive use of this title, and the ensuing accountability and responsibilities related to the scope of practice assigned to those who are entitled by law to bear this title.
the unlawful use of the title “nurse” should result in criminal, civil, and/or administrative actions against the person and anyone who assists them in using the title “nurse”.
american association of lawyers:
there is never any room for false and misleading comments about one’s skills. personal integrity and one’s professional reputation must be protected at all costs. it is only legally acceptable for an rn or lpn/lvn to be titled a nurse.
this was found on the fsma site (florida society of medical assistants)
"office nurse" title for medical assistants is legally dangerous
by donald a. balasa, jd, mba, cae
aama executive director and legal council
in some circles, the term "office nurse" has come to be used interchangeably with "medical assistant." this practice is fraught with legal peril, and should be avoided at all times by medical assistants and employers.
most states license two categories of nurses: registered nurses (rns) and licensed practical (or vocational) nurses (lpns or lvns). state nursing practice acts frequently forbid any person not licensed as a nurse to practice nursing or to use the term "nurse" in reverence to themselves. if these laws are not obeyed, the persons calling themselves nurses may be subject to criminal penalties. furthermore, an employer who calls an unlicensed employee a nurse, or knowingly allows an employee to use the title, may also be courting legal sanctions.
it is unlikely that prefacing the term "nurse" with "office" will provide a safe haven from the legal quagmire. the titles of rn, lpn, lvn and nurse are legally protected; "office nurse" has not gained legislative recognition as a title distinguishable from rn, lpn, or lvn.
malpractice exposure can also be increased by a careless use of the title "nurse" or "office nurse". an allied health worker is held to the standard of care exercised by a reasonably competent practitioner of the profession. if it can be proved that a medical assistant held herself or himself out to the public as some sort of nurse, a civil court could hold the medical assistant to the standard of care of a nurse, which is different than that of a medical assistant.
aside from the ethical and professional considerations, it should be apparent that legal factors strongly militate against medical assistants using the term "office nurse." in addition, employers should be told politely not to refer to medical assistants as nurses take heed, for this is one situation in which ignorance of the law is no excuse!
it's not about what we feel we deserve to be called or what others think/believe they should be allowed to call us. it's about the title we have earned through our education and licensure. rns and lpns and have earned their titles along with the title nurse. mas have also earned their title and should be proud of that.
when ma's use the title nurse, allow themselves to be called nurses, represent themselves as nurses, or even allow others to assume they are nurses, they are perpetuating a fraud imho. even statements such as "i an ma) functions just like a nurse (lpn/rn)," or "i do the same job as a nurse (lpn/rpn) are misleading and inaccurate and provides a false impression of what an ma is and what they are qualified to do. it is also very dismissive in regards to the education and qualifications rns/lpns have earned, which is different from the education and qualifications an ma has earned.
i do not believe that doctors are referring to their mas and office staff as "nurses" because it is easier or out of simplicity. i think it is done to mislead their patients in regards to the credentials of whom is taking care of them. i also think mas should be proud of what they do and should be insulted by this behavior from mds because they are acting like an ma is something to be ashamed of and they need to "hide" them by calling them nurses. mas are qualified to do their job and their is no need to "hide" them.
what is wrong with a doctor introducing an ma as a medical assistant, it's not difficult to say. there is nothing wrong with an ma being proud of what they do and the title they have earned and stating "i am a medical assistant."