MAs call themselves Nurses at my office..opinions please?

  1. 0
    Hi,

    I have been an LPN for 2 1/2 years and am a new Grad-RN since 9/2011. I got a job working at a Dermatology Office last November. It's the only job I could get, and I am making the best of it. They have me training to work with all the providers...general pathodermatologists, cosmetic dermatologists and the Moh's Cancer surgeon. It was not my first choice, but I am very grateful for the opportunity and grateful to all who are helping train me.

    My question is this...while I have the GREATEST respect for the Medical Assistants who work there and really know their stuff, they refer to themselves as nurses to the patients in person and when making phone calls to patients. I have to say, as someone who worked SO hard for my RN, this really bothers me. I'll reiterate...I respect them, BUT they are not nurses. I wouldn't even think of referring to myself as a PA or MD. One of the MAs said it just makes it easier to refer to all of us as nurses.

    May I have your opinions on this matter? I don't want to rock the boat as a newbie. There are other RNs who work in the office. I haven't asked them if it bothers them. Would it bother you? Thanks!!!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Feb 9, '12 : Reason: Reformatting post
  2. Poll: Is it okay for MAs to refer to themselves as nurses?

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  4. 90 Comments so far...

  5. 9
    Most states have laws which protect the use of the title "nurse" and forbid anyone not registered as a Registered Professional Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) from portraying themselves as a nurse or using the title “nurse” or any abbreviation or reference. Title protection is another means by which the public is assured that the individual, who is providing care, has met the standards for licensure by the particular state and is guided in practice and quality of those professional services by the Scopes and Standards and Code of Ethics developed by the American Nurses Association.

    In short.......referring to oneself as a nurse if not registered as a nurse is illegal.
    sharpeimom, wooh, lindarn, and 6 others like this.
  6. 5
    I see that you are from PA.

    This is from the PA State Nurses Association:
    Usage of the title “Nurse” to unlicensed individuals misleads and often endangers the public. This poses a serious threat to patient care and safety. Reserving the title “Nurse” for only those meeting the legal and educational standards allows the public to consult with professionals required to adhere to professional codes of practice and ethics.
    Despareux, lindarn, Esme12, and 2 others like this.
  7. 3
    This topic comes up periodically. I do not believe that it is alright for an unlicensed individual to refer to him or herself as a nurse. As has been mentioned, it is illegal. If the CNA's or MA's that practice this had worked there way through nursing school, they would understand why people like me are dead against it.
    HazelLPN, lindarn, and lisaannjamRN like this.
  8. 5
    Thank you all for taking the time to comment. I do appreciate it. Besides being insulting, it is illegal for a reason to protect the public, as mentioned. I am going to bring this up with the practice manager to make sure she is aware of the situation so it can be put to an end. Thank you all.
    HazelLPN, BuckyBadgerRN, lindarn, and 2 others like this.
  9. 3
    You can also refer her to 2 bills, House Bills # 469 and 470, that are currently in the PA House of Representatives and the Senate regarding this very thing, addressing consumer protection and licensur, and penalties for violations.
    lindarn, lisaannjamRN, and Esme12 like this.
  10. 2
    As a former medical assistant, I have seen this soooo much. It would grate on my nerves every time. I knew I would in the future be pursuing my RN degree and would be very specific about referring to myself and my fellow MAs and medical assistants. Our workstation was even referred to as the "Nurse's Station" -- UGH! I don't blame you for taking issue with this, but IMHO it's been done for so long that I don't know if it will change, at least in my neck of the woods.
    lindarn and lisaannjamRN like this.
  11. 6
    You are setting yourself up for disaster. I would wait for a while and get more established. It is endemic in MD offices and the docs do not care. They like just calling everyone my nurse. And when the MA's find out (and they will) you will need to watch your back.

    Once you have been there a while and established good relationships would be the time to take this on. Not when you are brand new.

    They should not be called nurses, but if you address this too soon I bet you will regret it.
    macgirl, lindarn, lisaannjamRN, and 3 others like this.
  12. 2
    I agree with Crunch. Although it is illegal you will be setting yourself up for a very bad time at work.

    When I see a doc these days (for my own healthcare needs) I frequently ask the person taking my vitals or sticking my finger what her background is. At the clinic I go to, they are careful to disclose the truth.

    And many places have easy to read name badges.
    lindarn and Meriwhen like this.
  13. 6
    Docs tend to refer to MAs as nurses, whether out of ignorance or to make their lives easier by calling everyone by the same title. Patients don't always know better (or think to ask) and assume anyone in the office performing nurse-like duties must be a nurse, and so call anyone they see a nurse.

    Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about these two populations calling MAs "nurses"...because I bet even if you correct them, they'll keep doing it.

    As far as the MAs referring to themselves as nurses...Merlee and Crunch are onto something. Yes, it is illegal for them (the MAs) to do that...but since you're new, you could be setting yourself up for a hostile work environment.

    So instead of outright attacking with the "it's illegal and stop!" stick, how about suggesting to your manager name that the facility issue badges with their credentials listed? You can stress how it would help identify staff and their role to patients, minimize confusion and help reduce liability. Then you can refer her to the bills.
    HazelLPN, wooh, lindarn, and 3 others like this.


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