NA's not professionals

  1. I was the recipient of a complaint yesterday from another employee. An NA told me she had been called off before her shift and told on the phone that instead of having her work, the floor would run with "3 professionals." She took offence at the notion that she was being referred to as not being "professional." While I understand the callers true meaning was RN's and had nothing to do with "professionalism" it non-the-less offended the NA.

    I then wrote an e-mail to all the people who may be calling staff off and informed them that this might be offensive and we should monitor ourselves with what we say and to whom. I got a response back from a manager stating that this is an industry term and the NA needs to be "talked to." She also asked me to provide the name of the NA.

    Personally I know it that the meaning of "professionals" was not meant to be offensive and only referred to RN's. But, perhaps it's more offensive then I think? I would like to hear from some NA's if they would find it offenses that RN's are referred to as "professionals" and NA's are not.

    Tonight I have to decide how to respond to the mangers e-mail with out turning it into a huge issue, but still respecting the NA.
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  2. 116 Comments

  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I'm an RN. I used to be a CNA. I respected nurses and knew that they are considered to be members of a professsion, while CNAs and LPNs are considered to be members of an occupation or vocation.

    I don't know how you should respond. It is a delicate situation. But, I don't think even nurses are truly professionals. True professionals would never be treated the way we are. But, I digress.

    I recently read a post on the dialysis board in which a nurse spoke about the dialysis techs on her unit being offended because she referred to herself as a "nurse" and referred to them as "techs." They got all upset over it. They cheered up when she started referring to both herself and the techs as "team-members" only.

    It's pretty sad when nurses can't even call themselves nurses for fear of offending the UAPs.

    In most places I've worked, the nurses are referred to as "licensed staff", and everyone else is "unlicensed staff."
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Nov 16, '07
  4. by   leslymill
    I agree referring to them and us as licensed and unlicensed staff is more professional than professionals. In my opinion CNAs are professionals. That is just my opinion. Medical Assistants refer to themselves as professionals on their websites and they have less training and similar training than CNAs. I think LPNs are professionals though we are taught differently. To me, professional is an attitude not a title anyway.
  5. by   ShayRN
    I disagree. I am a Professional. I have a 4 year college degree for which I sacraficed a lot. I fully expect to be treated as such by my superiors and by physicians. I have absolutely called doctors on their behavior when it was inappropriate. I have never tolerated being spoken down to at work, nor have I ever treated anyone like less of a team member because they don't have the "title." All that being said, I do delegate when possible. Not because I am too good to wipe a dirty butt or to drain a foley, but because I am usually busy doing a med pass, or taking care of a pump. This would not be an issue in any other setting. Can you see an administrative assistant in an attorney's office protesting her boss being called a professional and not her? How about the data entry person at the accountant's office? Come on, we ARE professionals. We have earned the right to be called that and if someone don't like it, tough. I agree, the TECH needs to be spoken to, not the nurses. If she wants to be called a professional she can sacrifice 4 plus years of her life. She can give up her Saturday afternoons and nights in an anatomy lab going over and over the muscles of a cat. Lets see what she thinks about going 30 grand in the hole in student loans. We all gave up something to go to school. If she don't like being called a non-professional then she needs to go back to school. Until such time, she is what she is....a tech.
  6. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    This link is interesting. Here's a from how Wikipedia defines and illustrates the word "professional":
    Even Registered Nurses do not meet all these definitions of "professional."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profession
    Last edit by Tweety on Nov 18, '07 : Reason: for copywrite purposes please link, rather than make such long quotes, thanks
  7. by   Jabramac
    I don't mean to turn this into a debate about wheather nurses are professionals or not. I think the heart of the issue is whether or not it is insensitive to basically tell NA's they are not a professional. One of the thoughts I had is that I can't stand it when people assume that because I am a male nurse I am actually somehow "working up" to being a physician. Not all NA's are aspiring to be RN's. With this one NA in paticular she is excellent at her job and she is able to spend a lot more time actually talking with pts then the nurses on the floor get.
  8. by   joprasklpn
    I think management could have called her and just said hey we are booked tonight so you can have the shift off. I would not tell management who said it either, just tell them it has been taken care of unless they are persistant. Alot of times patients look up to anyone who provides them good care and it sounds like she does so tell her not to take it so hard. Its just a word.
  9. by   UM Review RN
    I am a licensed professional nurse. The LPN is the licensed technical nurse. The CNA is the certified nurse's aide.

    I have met career CNAs who are quite happy to be CNAs and who are excellent at what they do. And I thank God for them because they're focused on doing their best for the patient and not trying to do my job, like some of the student CNAs are.

    However, as Shay said, we worked hard for our nursing licenses because we wanted to be called "professionals" and only licensed nurses have the right to that title.

    Therefore, I would have to vote for discussing this with the CNA and explaining the difference between "profession" and "professional." I fail to see why she took offense at the term, especially if she's been a CNA for many years.
  10. by   Atheos
    Quote from ShayRN
    I disagree. I am a Professional. I have a 4 year college degree for which I sacraficed a lot. I fully expect to be treated as such by my superiors and by physicians. I have absolutely called doctors on their behavior when it was inappropriate. I have never tolerated being spoken down to at work, nor have I ever treated anyone like less of a team member because they don't have the "title." All that being said, I do delegate when possible. Not because I am too good to wipe a dirty butt or to drain a foley, but because I am usually busy doing a med pass, or taking care of a pump. This would not be an issue in any other setting. Can you see an administrative assistant in an attorney's office protesting her boss being called a professional and not her? How about the data entry person at the accountant's office? Come on, we ARE professionals. We have earned the right to be called that and if someone don't like it, tough. I agree, the TECH needs to be spoken to, not the nurses. If she wants to be called a professional she can sacrifice 4 plus years of her life. She can give up her Saturday afternoons and nights in an anatomy lab going over and over the muscles of a cat. Lets see what she thinks about going 30 grand in the hole in student loans. We all gave up something to go to school. If she don't like being called a non-professional then she needs to go back to school. Until such time, she is what she is....a tech.
    Does mean that the doctors that do 4 years of school 3 years of medical school and 2-7 years of residency are more professional than you?

    I am still a CNA, I am still at the beginning of my school. After sacrificing 4 years of my life to the military you think you are more of a professional than me? Pshaww.... I guarantee you the Arabic I had to learn was far harder than the anatomy you took. In fact my A&P 2 right now is, while hard, way easier than learning Arabic was. Shrug

    The fact that you still think merely having a degree makes you a professional show that you still need some experience in this world. A BSN or MSN, while a good accomplishment does not mean all that much. Experience and maturity make one a professional.

    Also remember nursing is blue collar (READ: an occupation/vocation). It has never been white collar (READ: a profession). Except maybe administration. *SHRUG* Technicalities.
    Last edit by Atheos on Nov 16, '07
  11. by   bethin
    I can see both sides.

    However, as I perceive it, in this context is that professional is used as an adjective. You can be a clerk at the gas station and be professional. Professional is how you behave.

    So yes, I would take offense. But as a CNA I'm used to it. I used to think that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent but eventually you get tired of fighting.
  12. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from bethin
    I can see both sides.

    However, as I perceive it, in this context is that professional is used as an adjective. You can be a clerk at the gas station and be professional. Professional is how you behave.

    So yes, I would take offense. But as a CNA I'm used to it. I used to think that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent but eventually you get tired of fighting.
    I do not understand why you are taking offense. By definition, the nurse is a professional. No emotions connected, just fact.

    I've been a CNA and was taught that from the get-go.

    Could you please explain why you are offended by that?
  13. by   Jabramac
    I think I am getting the answer to my question. Some of our colleagues take offence at the notion that they are refered to as not being a professional.
    Last edit by Jabramac on Nov 16, '07
  14. by   Atheos
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    I do not understand why you are taking offense. By definition, the nurse is a professional. No emotions connected, just fact.

    I've been a CNA and was taught that from the get-go.

    Could you please explain why you are offended by that?
    pro-fes-sion-al
      1. Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.
      2. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.
    1. Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer, a professional caretaker.
    2. Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football.
    3. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.
    n.
    1. A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
    2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house.
    3. A skilled practitioner; an expert.
    It's like me telling a nurse their job is easy. Shrug. Why would you insist on demeaning someone's work? While many people may respect CNA's or techs, they don't respect us enough. Without CNA's nursing would grind to a halt. I have seen CNA's that are better with patients than a nurse or doctor. So when you insist that because we are not as 'educated' as you we are not professionals it is offensive.

    I assure you that just because your job is more technical than ours, it is not harder. Not physically, mentally or emotionally. It is different but that's it.

    I am a professional. A professional caregiver, a professional human being and soon a professional nurse.

    Remember that the biggest 'facts' of the previous generations are almost always the nonsense of the next generation. Because you were taught a thing does not make it fact.
    Last edit by Atheos on Nov 16, '07

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