Is it legal for a 2nd semester student nurse to do home elder care work?

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    A friend has contacted me to ask if I could care for his elderly father a few days per week at his home. His father needs assistance with walking/transferring, preparing meals, elimination (bedpan), dressing, and grocery shopping. Basically, my friend wants me to do CNA work and he will pay me. Is it legal for me to accept this job in the state of California if I have no license? What are the possible repercussions of accepting this job? (I don't want something disastrous to happen which will prevent me from being able to attain an RN license before I even get it.)

    I have a valid AHA Healthcare Provider card and am currently enrolled in an ASN-RN nursing program in Southern California. I passed a class in first aid, completed the nursing fundamentals and psychiatric nursing courses, and am currently taking med-surg 1. My friend wants to hire me after I am done with my med-surg course.
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    This doesn't sound like anything you necessarily need a license for, as it would really be no different if someone had, say, asked you to babysit their 2 year old child in diapers and make dinner for the child. You are not performing any nursing-specific type work (dressing changes, taking out Foley catheter), that might require any type of specialized training.
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    The only thing that you might want to think about is getting some insurance. There are special rates for student nurses, usually, for malpractice insurance.. You just need to take care to protect yourself in this day and age. Best wishes.
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    Insurance, insurance, insurance!!!!

    And just be super careful that you don't cross the line over into practicing nursing without a license as it could be VERY easy to do so.

    One other thing to consider as this is an atypical situation. Be cautious about how you'll be compensated. Your friend may be able to declare your pay as tax-deductable dependent care for his father. You'll need documented payroll information so as to avoid IRS problems. Don't get into any trouble! To be honest, this was my first thought when I read your post and this could be tricky because you're friends. I don't know how this kind of tax thingey would work but you need to be careful as you would in any other employee role.
    Wise Woman RN likes this.
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    CNA's don't have licenses, so I don't believe that would be an issue at all. It sounds more to me like he wants a PCA for his father? Why doesn't he use an agency for that? It can turn out very badly (for the friendship) when friends employ friends =(
    Wise Woman RN likes this.
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    To Colleen - the fees charged by agencies would be mega costly! In the facilties, they charge mgt double what they pay the agency employee. So the cost would be astronomical. Also there's the reliability, honesty, qualifications, etc of the agency employee to be addressed. There's a lot of problems in the industry so I believe that is probably why the friend sought her out for providing care.

    In all my years, I never did any care for friends or family (my immed family excl) just because of the reasons posted here. I know many have never had any problems but I wasn't interested in taking the risk. But you are so right about the potential pitalls of friends working for friends. If the pt starts to delcline, sustain an unavoidable injury, becomes resistive and contrary, etc etc etc, then the friendship and employer/employee relationship becomes strained.
    Wise Woman RN likes this.
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    I know it would be, but depending on the depth of the friendship, agency fees could be a small price to pay, KWIM? =(
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    It's perfectly legal. You would not be working as a nurse and none of the tasks that you listed requires a license.

    However, as others have said, it could put a strain on your friendship. If you're concerned about that, I would suggest asking your friend to contact your nursing school director who could relay the opportunity to other students.

    When similar opportunities would come up in my area, out nursing school director would send an email to all students asking if anyone were interested.
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    VERY GOOD suggestion by Ashley.

    I would suspect that OP's friend probably DID consider the agency cost and hence his decision to approach OP. I just know agency care services to be very expensive, and that's just too cost-prohibitive.


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