Representing yourself to the public as a nurse when you are not a nurse - page 2

by Penguin67

12,966 Views | 63 Comments

A family member was recently seen in an ER. One of her care providers introduced himself as a "med tech" and the family member asked "What does that mean?" and the response was " it is the same thing as a nurse". My family member... Read More


  1. 5
    You said that the things this person was doing were all things in the scope of a nursing assistant. Can I remind everyone that the things that are in the 'scope of practice' of a CNA are also in the scope of the RN, LPN, etc?
    Red35, nursetaminator, KelRN215, and 2 others like this.
  2. 5
    Quote from ScottE
    How did they represent themselves as a nurse? When asked the person stated they were a Med Tech.
    I agree. They may have said what they did was the same as a nurse, but they did not say they WERE a nurse. And like Jeweles26 said, all of his tasks are in the nursing scope of practice. I can't say I entirely agree with how he represented himself, but technically, he did not call himself a nurse.

    However, as this seems to bother you, then you should discuss your concerns with the manager and get their feedback.
  3. 6
    THIS should be our biggest problem in the nursing profession.

    Poor choice of words on the part of the tech, but not a big deal. If the patient in question then asked for pain meds, the tech would have had to "go get the nurse" anyway, and it would be pretty obvious he was not "the same as a nurse".

    Bigger fish to fry, I say....
    jadelpn, KelRN215, workingharder, and 3 others like this.
  4. 3
    I wanted to throw my two cents in. I don't think they represented themselves as a nurse. I agree with the poster that said if your family member knew the difference, why did they ask? I also agree with the people saying that the person did not say they were a nurse, they do stuff that is the same as a nurse. Also, I can't speak for the state of Florida, but where I live, in the ER, med techs/PCTs/CNAs, whatever they are called, actually do CNA/tech work and additional stuff that floor CNAs normally don't do (stuff that nurses probably would have done otherwise). In the ER, everyone seems to pitch in on patients because if the patient only had one nurse or one tech or whatever, then it's possible the patient would die in a true emergency. So, sometimes the lines are blurred and perhaps the med tech is in a role that the scope of practice (again don't know FL laws or anything) is greater than what you would normally think of on the floor.

    I'll give you an example. When I was in nursing school, pt came in with an MI. They swarmed the patient--nurse getting history, other nurse doing IV insertion, giving medications, etc. and tech doing EKG/ECG (pick your term, it's the same thing). Well, this past weekend, my dad had an MI. Again, they swarmed the patient (my dad). Nurse doing history, another nurse doing IV insertion and giving meds, a doctor in there, another nurse did the EKG/ECG. Note in the first case, it was a tech doing the EKG/ECG. In the second, it was a nurse doing the EKG/ECG. My point is, in the ER, med techs/PCTs/CNAs are more than your run of the mill tech. Their responsibilities are greater.

    Just a thought.
    jadelpn, proud nurse, and Meriwhen like this.
  5. 4
    To answer in your own words "introduced himself as a "med tech"" so what exactly is the problem here? if he introduced himself as a "nurse" then that would be misrepresentation, if he says same thing as or like a nurse, he could just mean in terms of taking care of a patient, in terms of talking to a lay-person. I find this whole enquiry a bit snoopy and deceiving of the family member not to strike up an honest conversation and continue to say, "hey there's nurses or whatever in my family and I know the difference"... instead of like spying on his every move...I find that to be so immature. Maybe the guy would have further explained himself if they had just stated he seems to be doing nurse assistant work...he might he just said, thats right, I'm a like CNA or something to that end I assume or could have said "really my XYZ has her BSN from ABC university, where did you go to school?" I sure he would have not only shown interest in what you had to say but also futher clarify his duties maybe even say yeah I plan to go to ABC for my BSN too, what are the requirements?..etc....
    When I was an EMT, because the service was so new to our country, many people we picked up in ambulance were continually calling us doctors, we did sometimes explain the difference hey we just here to take you to the doctor, but it gets to be a pain going through the explaination because they would call us doctors no matter what we say, I think its the same situation...he must have been asked that a million times...maybe the guy had aspiration to be a nurse one day, but we will never know, because the member as a patient just kept quiet and assumed he was misrepresenting himself...people are so honest nowadays...not! but honesty has to go both ways.
    Last edit by man-nurse2b on Oct 8, '12
    cp1024, Not_A_Hat_Person, MrsFrancis, and 1 other like this.
  6. 4
    Seems like the real issue here is the tired old problem that Nursing has an image problem since the dawn of time. The lay public have no real idea of what nurses do (on TV, the doctors do all the nursing tasks anyway). We talk about scope of practice, but 95% of patients don't know where the line starts for one kind of role, and ends at another. Sometimes we don't either. On top of that, the lines move from one department to another, between specialties, between facilities, between states, and that's just for registered nurses. Also, the majority of patients don't seem to care about rankings of qualifications - they usually assume that someone ("They") is overseeing all that important stuff so that appropriately-qualified people in scrubs are doing any given thing as part of their care.

    On my part, I would have to assume my tech had the best intentions. I generally try not to take offense (sometimes this does take effort) when I disagree with my coworkers: high dugeon only serves as a barrier to solve problems, and another problem I'll need help to solve is guaranteed to roll up on the next 5 minutes. And I can't blame anyone for wanting to shorthand a conversation loaded with excruciating technical & bureaucratic baggage. Having that conversation amongst ourselves is tricky enough, but ploughing though it with a patient while working and keeping all the balls in the air - no thanks.

    On the other hand, avoiding talk about this question just prolongs the problem...

    -at Meriwhen: LOVE your tagline quotes!
    Rizz, workingharder, wish_me_luck, and 1 other like this.
  7. 0
    I know there are some male nurses out there that have issues with being called a nurse and adopt what they think is a more masculine job title (aka registered medic) probably same thing with CNA and med tech ... they need to get over that or leave the profession altogether if the term "nurse" is too embarrasing for them to live with.
  8. 7
    A med tech is not a nurse, not even close. It is actually illegal to call yourself a nurse if you are not one. And I would have told the med tech that right after we left the room. It is not okay to say that a med tech is the same as a nurse. I don't tell people I'm "just the same as a doctor." Come on.
    Rizz, FecesOccurs, vintagemother, and 4 others like this.
  9. 2
    If your family member felt that he misrepresented his role then they should reflect that on their survey.

    I have had the experience of working with med techs in ambulatory care who didn't seem to understand the difference between themselves and myself as an RN...some, in fact, were sort of beligerent about it. More than one of them would "allow" clients/patients to think they were nurses and I know that one regularly introduced herself as the "nurse". Given that we were working with migrant hispanic agricultural workers most of our patients probably had no idea.
  10. 0
    I worked as a tech before becoming an RN, and faced this issue many times too. Patients would often introduce me to family members as one of their nurses, and I felt personally obligated to correct them and let them know I was their nurse's aide. I know a lot of other techs who would inform their patients they were "one of the nurses/ or part of the nursing team".. I think it's just a gray line, unless the employee says "registered nurse/ RN", then it's not technically a misrepresentation, right? In my former state, the RN had to inform the patient they were the REGISTERED NURSe.. not just nurse so that it would clear up any confusion.


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