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

  1. 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 went on to watch everything this person did while she was there, and saw vital signs, linen changes, positioning changes, paperwork, and things in the scope of a nurse assistant. This family member happened to know the difference, and we talked about this when she came home from the ER.

    Is there a way to handle this, as I know this post is not the first one to discuss unlicensed assistive personnel representing themselves as nurses. The family member asked a nurse about it, and she just smiled and said that there was a difference and they did really need the help of med techs. (Which is nice, but doesn't solve the issue of representing oneself as a nurse when in fact they are not.) Should she mention this in the patient comment survey that she will most likely receive or not? Thoughts?
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    About Penguin67

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 285; Likes: 334
    RN; from US


  3. by   Happy2beICU-RN
    Maybe the med tech was just kind of in a hurry and didn't want to get into the differences. It may have just been easier to say that thinking he was speaking to a "lay person". I do not in any way condone misrepresentation of a med tech saying he is an RN, but in this situation he was forthcoming about his title, just seemed to embellish a bit after that.
  4. by   nurse2033
    A customer survey would be a good place to bring that to the attention of the management. A word to staff about inflating their roles might be all it takes for that staff member to understand they shouldn't misrepresent their role.
  5. by   itsmejuli
    He was probably busy and didn't feel like explaining the difference between nurse and med tech. I think most people have no idea about the difference and don't really care.
  6. by   FLArn
    Too busy to explain? How much longer to say "it's like a nurse's aide" rather than "same thing as a nurse" ? Too busy? Didn't want to take time to explain! Puh leeeze!!!
  7. by   TakeTwoAspirin
    I'm sorry, but if the family member knew the difference then why did they ask in the first place? Were they baiting to see what the response would be? And in reality, this person did not say they were a nurse. They said "same thing as a nurse" which I would have taken in this context as being a reference to the type of duties I might be performing on that person (from a lay person's perspective) given that I don't have the time (or energy, probably) to explain the nuances of my role. These people are harried enough, and it sounds like they took good care of your family member. I understand the fuss about people stating they are a nurse when they are not but this really isn't the situation here and it sounds like you are trying to make something out of this that isn't there. Nobody misrepresented themselves, and it doesn't sound like they stepped outside their scope of practice.
  8. by   FLArn
    @ Taketwoaspirin. The term Med Tech is not used in some geographical locations. I had never heard of a med tech until I moved to FL and began doing visits in ALFs. We had no Med techs in any other setting in which I had worked so if I as a RN was unfamiliar with the term than why is it so hard to believe that a family member of a nurse might also be unfamiliar with that term?
  9. by   TakeTwoAspirin
    Because the OP said the family member knew the difference. So why ask if you already know?
  10. by   AgentBeast
    How did they represent themselves as a nurse? When asked the person stated they were a Med Tech.
  11. by   netglow
    Yes. Do fill out the form and explain the date you were there and mention that when directly asked this person Mr. RN wanabe described himself as having the same job responsibilities as a registered nurse at XX hospital, "It's the same thing as a nurse". Further write that you were not aware that people who did not have a license could practice in the role of an RN.

    Tough beans. Let them have the conversation with him, let him explain himself.
  12. by   uRNmyway
    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?
  13. by   Meriwhen
    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.
  14. by   RNsRWe
    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....