Representing yourself to the public as a nurse when you are not a nurse - page 4

by Penguin67

12,941 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. 3
    Quote from Patti_RN
    A Med Tech is not a nurse, most med techs have at least a BSN, sometimes an MS and others even more education, so the person was being dishonest from the start. Med Tech is short for Medical Technologist (a four year degree) or sometimes Med Techs are Medical Technicians (which is a two-year degree, but is being phased out in most parts of the country--they are mostly helpers for the technologists). Med Techs are the ones who run chem panels, type and cross blood, and do tissue typing--plus a lot more. They are mostly behind the scenes, working in the labs. The person was probably a Patient Care Tech (a term for 'Nurse's Aide' in many regions).

    It may be surprising to nurses, but Med Techs are generally insulted when anyone mistakes them for nurses!
    Or, a Med Tech may be a Medical Technician who has zero to do with any of the descriptions you gave. It just happens to be the title of a couple of my staff members, neither of whom holds a college degree but both of whom are responsible for the care, cleaning, and maintenance of our endoscopy scopes. Hence, the "technician" term; "medical" speaks for itself. It is the common title/job description of those in the endoscopy business who do that work. Sometimes called "scope techs". But mostly....med techs.

    So, as we can see, context is everything.
    FecesOccurs, wooh, and lindarn like this.
  2. 3
    I guess I'm not that territorial about the "nurse" title. At the end of they day, I know what my title is and what I can and cannot do. As long as your co-worker was not working OUTSIDE of his qualifications, I don't see any reason to be upset. Sometimes it's easier to give a quick answer then a long-winded explanation. Going out on a limb, I'm going to guess he gets asked this question a lot and probably gets tired of explaining himself.

    Let it go. Not that big of a deal.
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    I was a PTA before I was a nurse. I was always very mindful of telling everyone I was a PTA and not a PT. After a while I gave up, because no matter how many times I corrected my patients they would call me the PT.

    It gets really old and tiring after a while. If I am giving the info to someone that I think knows the difference I make sure I specify PTA.

    Now that I am an RN I just tell people I have a degree in physical therapy, but don't do that anymore. Obviously.
    It seems like 90% of hospital visitors can not keep all of us straight. Even in hospitals where each dept wears different colored scrubs.

    Most likely a large part of this is because the visitors are very stressed out over friend/family being in the hospital.
    I might be inclined to cut the guy a little slack, but since I wasn't there I don't know for sure.
    Last edit by gonzo1 on Oct 9, '12 : Reason: spelling
    lindarn likes this.
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    I am a nurse aide and "medication aide." At my facility, I am referred to as "a med tech." However, I don't know how to do any of the stuff that a "medical technologist" does. So apparently, there are different nuances of "med tech" ? Who knew...

    Recently I had MPFL reconstruction surgery. When I went to my follow-up appointment to get my sutures out, I was told that the PA would be removing my sutures. Fine, I thought. About 20 minutes later, a man walked into the room. I asked if he was a nurse, and he replied, "I'm an MA, which is the same thing as a nurse." My parents, who had driven me to the clinic, actually believed he was a nurse.
    Of course I knew the difference but didn't say anything because hey, benefit of the doubt.

    This guy had NO idea what he was doing. I understand that medical assistants are supposed to know how to remove sutures. I had to remind him that his gloves weren't on all the way and he was having trouble pulling off the steri-strips. He almost nicked me with the stitch cutter. He almost nicked me again with the scissors. He pulled off the steri-strip on my biggest cut carelessly and decided it wasn't fully healed yet. SO HE PUT THE SAME, BLOODY, STERI-STRIP BACK OVER IT and told me I could leave. This guy not only misrepresented himself as a nurse, but he also made his own profession of medical assisting look really bad. It may not seem serious to some of you guys, but I think it's scary that the public thinks anyone in scrubs and a hospital name tag is a trained professional. Not all of them are.
    lindarn and GrnTea like this.
  5. 0
    I think the person in question was probably a "medication technician", which requires no degree, just a 60-hour (more or less) course with maybe eight clinical hours. Huge difference between that and a Medical Technologist/Technician.

    Quote from Patti_RN
    A Med Tech is not a nurse, most med techs have at least a BSN, sometimes an MS and others even more education, so the person was being dishonest from the start. Med Tech is short for Medical Technologist (a four year degree) or sometimes Med Techs are Medical Technicians (which is a two-year degree, but is being phased out in most parts of the country--they are mostly helpers for the technologists). Med Techs are the ones who run chem panels, type and cross blood, and do tissue typing--plus a lot more. They are mostly behind the scenes, working in the labs. The person was probably a Patient Care Tech (a term for 'Nurse's Aide' in many regions).

    It may be surprising to nurses, but Med Techs are generally insulted when anyone mistakes them for nurses!
  6. 0
    Hey.. may be its just that there are too many Cheifs and not enough Indians .!!!!!lol.. is it really a huge point to be Misrepresneted or Misunderstood? Hmm..
  7. 0
    This reminds me of a situation that happened just after nursing school. I was at dinner with a group of friends and the waiter came up and asked if we all worked together. One person said; "No, but we're all nurses!" I was the only RN at the table, the remaining three people were all Vet Techs. And yes, they still refer to themselves as Pet Nurses. It's amazing how the word "nurse" is thrown around, so now when I'm asked I say; "RN".
  8. 4
    But this guy never said he was a nurse. He just said a med tech does the same thing a nurse does. Presumptutous and annoying? Yes. Misrepresentation? No.
    Ruas61, wooh, workingharder, and 1 other like this.
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    I think the real frustrating fact here is that companies (such as hospitals, LTC, ALFs, etc.) are finding ways to circumvent their way around employing the properly licensed staff. Sometimes, it is nurses who encourage this behavior - because the nurse has allowed more and more of their responsibilities to be delegated to subordinate staff. I'm not complaining though, it is this behavior that contributed to my position as an LPN.

    Maybe the man in the ER did not do a good job of explaining his title, but I don't think he misrepresented himself. Furthermore, it is evenly likely that many of these "med techs" are expected to function in a manner that is more in line with a nurse's responsibility than what is actually advertised.

    I would encourage all nurse's to take ownership of all the duties and responsibilities of what is expected of a nurse. This is one of our best defenses for maintaining the integrity of being a nurse. Nurses should also encourage their nursing organizations to fight for legislation that would limit and better define these types of positions. This action should help to educate the public and help them to make more informed about the practices of their health care providers.
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
  10. 4
    I resent a medical assistant, with a minimal post HS education, telling patients, that he/she, is the, "same as a nurse". Excuse me???

    And we wonder why the general public, thinks that we are overpaid babysitters who wipe buts, and pass out ice water.

    He was completely out of line to tell a patient that his job is the same as a nurse. I don't expect a nurses aide, to go into a detailed account of the difference between their educational background, and an RN, but I do expect them to be truthful about what their job is.

    That is why you have patients and family members, complaining to management, about, "the nurse came in and did not fix my IV that was beeping, or give me pain medication". And all along, it was the housekeeper who came in to the room. But the patient's nurse gets yelled at, and chastized for not providing, "good customer service".

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    CherylRNBSN, Maritimer, FecesOccurs, and 1 other like this.


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