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Can a non-RN be my supervisor?

Nurse Beth   (96 Views | 0 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I am an MSN RN and I work as a preauthorization nurse for a large hospital to include other facilities and MD offices. An active RN licensure is required for this job. I and two other RNs are required to report to a supervisor that has no degree and is not a nurse. She does our performance evaluations as well. Is this legal?

Dear Preauthorization RN,

You are right to question this structure, because a non-RN cannot evaluate your nursing practice. It doesn't matter that you are not a hands-on clinician. It takes nursing knowledge to perform your duties.

Your non-RN supervisor can manage your work schedule and even address aspects such as attendance and dress code, because these aspects do not require professional nursing knowledge. However, she is not qualified to evaluate your nursing decisions.

As to whether this is illegal, you would have to check with an attorney in your state. Chances are there is not a statute that specifically addresses this. What you could do is contact your state Board of Nursing (BON) with your question. You could also schedule an appointment with HR, and explain the situation.

It's possible the ramifications of this structure were not thought  out in their entirety. Tell then it is similar to an RN supervising a doctor or a para-legal supervising an attorney.

You are entitled to thoughtful, meaningful feedback on your performance. You could still report to the non-RN supervisor as long as a qualified person evaluated your nursing performance.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author, Your Last Nursing Class-how to land your first nursing job...and your next!

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