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This is a discussion on Is this Ethical? in Nurse Colleague / Patient Relations, part of General Nursing ... I was just hired as a medical assistant at a small infertility clinic. While I'm planning to go to...by spencer475 May 12, '12I was just hired as a medical assistant at a small infertility clinic. While I'm planning to go to nursing school next year, I'm not yet certified in anything and my experience really comes from working as a veterinary technician. That said, yesterday after a very intense day of appointments, my boss told me I needed to learn to use a speculum. He asked the only other employee in the office, a young woman in her 20's to be the model. She said no. I was really surprised that he asked at all. A few minutes later he asked again and offered her $50 cash, to which she said yes. A few minutes later I was practicing using the speculum with her and then he had me perform a transvaginal ultrasound. Everything was very clinical. A few minutes after we finished she started crying and left for the day, assuring me that she was fine on her way out the door. I tried to follow up with her last night but got no response. Today she told me that she had been crying because she has a poly cystic ovary disease and it was hard for her to see it on the ultrasound. Now I'm really torn. I'm glad she's okay about the whole exam but I still feel like it was totally unethical. Should I walk away from this job that pays me so well and that will give me a ton of hands on experience?
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- May 12, '12 by Flo.This is unethical. The job pays so well because the doctor is buying your compliance.
- The only thing that put it into some sort of grey area for me is that the girl seems to feel okay about it. But at the same time, she doesn't really have medical experience and she's quite young and may not realize how unethical it really was. I'm also afraid that I'll encounter this sort of stuff at other jobs. I love medicine and I love working with people, I'm not at all afraid of the strange medical things I'll encounter throughout my career but I am afraid I'll keep encountering these situations that ask me to compromise my sense of right and wrong.
- May 12, '12 by VivaLasViejasThis entire situation stinks to high heaven.
Right away, a MA doesn't "use a speculum". That's a doctor's or NP's job. Then asking another employee to be the guinea pig and then paying her cash to do it??!!! I don't think so!!
This gives a nasty new meaning to the term "hands-on experience". Something is definitely rotten here.
- May 12, '12 by Suburban.Raider.11What???
I would get away from that place quickly. You don't want to associate yourself with people like that. How long will it be before he asks you to play the test dummy?
- That was my honest gut instinct. The whole thing was just so crazy. I won't be returning to the job but I just needed some reassurance. I'm making the switch over from veterinary technician work and this was my very first day working with humans EVER. I'm not nearly as naive as this story makes me sound, I was just so shocked by the whole thing I really needed to get some reassurance from other people with more experience.
- Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comments. I know it seems insane that I would even question whether or not this was okay but I've gotten such mixed responses from other people I've asked. Most women have responded with shock and horror and most men seem to think it lies in some grey area. An MD I spoke with said that his behavior wouldn't pass an ethics committee but that lots of private practices get away with crossing lines when training employees. Has anyone else had questionable experiences in their training? My feeling is that I'm brand freakin' new at this and I should following a trained nurse around probably helping her with paperwork and fetching her coffee, not using a speculum on the office receptionist!
- May 12, '12 by Ashley, PICU RNInteresting...
Now, my nursing school pays students to be models for our graduate NP students learning to do vaginal and prostate exams. But it's more of a financial compensation for their time, rather than a bribe.
Since she said no originally, I do think that it was unethical for her to be offered money. It's a form of coercion. It's not ethical to coerce someone into doing something they are uncomfortable with.
As others have said, you shouldn't be using a speculum or performing vaginal exams as an MA. I really hope that this was just an old-school physician trying to get you some practice, and not a sick form of sexual perversion.
- May 12, '12 by BandaidePractice for what? She shouldn't need the skill as an MA, and it sure wasn't taught in my nursing school. Since it happened on her first day, the chance of the Dr. being a pervert seems the most likely to me.
- May 12, '12 by tokmomEwww, makes you wonder what he did with himself after you both left for the day.