Working as a nurse without a license

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the board and I wanted to say hello. I also have a question. I recently read a post from someone who graduated from a pn program in 1998, failed the nclex the first time out and never retook it. She states she has been employed as an office nurse and medical assistant since then.

    I asked if she knew that it is illegal to practice nursing without a license and she replied that she is allowed to work as an unlicensed nurse because she is covered by her employer's malpractice insurance.

    Has anyone heard of that before? It surprised me because I have always thought that you had to be licensed to practice nursing regardless of what state you live in. I live in Mass. and if you are not licensed then you don't work as a nurse. Our BON even eliminated the graduate nurse status.

    I can't help but think in the back of my head, if it came down to brass tacks, the physician could say that he/she hired her in the capacity of a medical assistant and not a nurse.
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   Gomer
    I agree...she's a medical assistant not a nurse...well, maybe the MD classifies her as a nurse's aid. If you really want to get nosey...ask her what her duties are.
  4. by   dingofred
    Welcome Mint, and I agree also. She's looking
    for trouble I think.
  5. by   James Huffman
    "Office nurse" is a term frequently taken by medical assistants, and other unlicensed folks. Depending on the locality's nurse practice laws, I suspect she's in little danger unless she's using the RN or LPN title. From a BON perspective, there are bigger fish to fry, and arguing whether someone who is basically a medical assistant is practicing nursing is just not worth the trouble.

    Jim Huffman, RN

    www.NetworkforNurses.com
  6. by   Teshiee
    Sounds like she is embellishing her job title. She is more of a medical assistant than anything else. I agree with the others ask her what her duties are!
  7. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    This person is a "wanna be". As the others said, she is a medical asst.
    My mother works for a urologist in private practice. She has had no medical or nursing education whatsoever, but is allowed to call herself a medical asst., because the doctor took on legal responsibility for training her, and she is working under his license.
  8. by   lpnga
    I know a lady who works at an area hospital in Chattanooga, TN and she is listed as a Medical Assistant (she moved up from a PCT 3) she does VS, catheters, starts iv's, Blood Sugars, etc...I guess it depends on the doctors and the hospital standards.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    She is NOT a nurse unless licensed to practice as one. She is misusing a title that is NOT due her and it could get her and that office in hot water one day. We have had this NON-nurses using the title "nurse" discussion before. It got quite heated. Point is, if she is not licensed to practice nursing as an LPN/LVN or RN, she is NOT a nurse, period. She may NOT call herself such anymore than I would call myself a doctor.
  10. by   jenac
    I'm a little confused. What exactly can a medical assistant do? I was under the impression that they couldn't give injections and what-not, but in an earlier post, one is listed as doing Iv's, starting caths, etc. Can anyone clarify this for me?
  11. by   Mint Julip
    I apologise if my post upsets anyone here. I'm not trying to stir the pot. The reason I posed this question is because although she did say that she has worked for both physicians doing mostly medical assistant duties, she also said that she performs some nursing duties as well and that she is the only staff member qualified to do both. I guess that is what threw me off.

    ~ Mint~
  12. by   Katnip
    If she's performing nursing duties as stated in her BON's Nurse Practice Act, then she's violating the law.
  13. by   nursbee04
    Welcome, Mint Julep (love that name!!) -

    I think we know you weren't trying to stir the pot, but most ppl here have a big problem with non - nurses using the title "nurse."
    I am still just a student, and it gets me pretty fired up, too. I'm sure you didn't mean to start an argument
    I agree that she is placing herself in a bad position, and if she can't pass boards I really don't think she should be preforming RN duties at all. And why wouldn't the doc just hire a licensed nurse?? Does he pay her less I wonder??

  14. by   lpnga
    JENAC,

    I went to keyword and typed in what does a pct do? and i found a website and this is what i pulled up...I am not sure what state this is for but here it is


    Patient Care Assistant Training: This 12 week program was designed with the cooperation and collaboration of the health care industry to prepare participants for entry-level, patient-care work in the acute care hospital setting. The students learn basic patient-care skills, human anatomy and physiology, basic system disease processes, medical terminology and AHA Basic Life Support training for healthcare providers. Areas covered in addition to the CNA program include: Identification of essential and critical observations to report to an RN, Pre-op and Post-operative care of surgical patients, maintenance of tubes (i.e. NG tubes, foleys, drainage tubes, etc.), bedside glucose monitoring, care of the pediatric population, and critical thinking exercises. A comprehensive skills competency checklist is completed during the program. Each participant completes 2 weeks full-time clinical internship at a local acute care hospital. Instructional methods focus on the cognitive, psychomotor, which encourages an affective domain of competent patient care.

    Moving from Care Assistant to Clinical Technician: This program is developed in cooperation with the regional health care industry to provide persons working as entry-level unlicensed assistive personnel in the hospital setting to obtain the skills necessary to advance to clinical technician. These advanced clinical skills do not require licensure by state or federal organizations. These skills include: Neurological: determine level of consciousness, management of seizures; Cardiac: performing 12 lead EKG's, application of anti-embolism measures, care of central lines; Respiratory: application of O2 therapy, airway management, suctioning, tracheostomy tube care, chest tube setup; Gastrointestinal: tube feeding maintenance; Urinary: Foley catheter insertion; Advance clinical procedures: sterile technique, wound care, specimen collection, phlebotomy, IV insertion and IV monitoring. Program includes 88 hours of classroom and laboratory practice. Participants in this program must have at least 3 months working experience as a care assistant and letter of recommendation from their supervisor prior to acceptance in to the program.

    where i live it is not called Clinical Technician it is called pct 1 2 or 3....Hope this helps

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