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Disciplined nurses work as an MA

Brady29 Brady29 (New) New

I'm a nurse in Arkansas that was notified by license was under investigation over a year ago due to legal problems with alcohol. I was broke but managed to find an attorney in Little Rock that let me make payments. I know it's hard to especially when dealing with other legal issues but it was the best thing I did. My license still hasn't been disciplined but I know it will. The best thing hiring an attorney got me was time. I had left several nursing jobs but found one at a clinic. I got my limited scope x-ray license with on the job training, learned to do front desk work and became a great employee.

In Arkansas an MA does not require a certification if they have on the job training and I can still take x-rays. I know clinic work pays less but I know I won't be jobless if my license is suspended for a few months. I can actually work as an MA legally. I really recommend nurses that feel their license could be disciplined to go to work at a clinic. If the clinic hires medical assistants and you're doing a great job they will likely keep you. You can't identify yourself as a nurse but it keeps you in the field and still gives you experience. Working at a clinic has also turned out to be the nursing job I've liked the most. I have no intention of leaving.

Edited by Brady29

Penelope_Pitstop, BSN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

Won't that trickle down, though? Medical Assistants are certified, right? So won't the medical board catch wind of the BON stuff? Just wondering.


Has 17 years experience.

I'm sure it varies from State to state but, I used to work with a nurse who had previously been a vet tech and an EMT and when her nursing license was revoked her other licenses/certifications were revoked as well. She was told she couldn't work in any area of healthcare. You may want to check with your BON.

In some states they are certified. In Arkansas they are not. I would still have to inform my employer of the disciplinary action and they have to fill out quarterly reviews on my performance for me to comply with probation or a suspension followed by probation.

dirtyhippiegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

My state seems to consider MA work as "close enough" to RN work that they won't let you work in that capacity or as an EMT, etc. I have known a few peeps who tried to work in those capacities while suspended and were denied.

Question, but, how is right for any BON to regulate any work you do outside of nursing? It seems like that would be tricky to do, legally, as they would be practicing outside their jurisdiction. I think sometimes these monitors just go on a power trip and nurses are to scared to fight them on it. For example, I had a positive ETG test last month so the CA BRN ceased my practice. My job let me stay on as a ward clerk, a non nursing position, while I reach a decision with the board. I did what I thought was right and informed my monitor as my wages also get reported to her and I didn't want her to think I was continuing my nurse work. She then tried to put OT restrictions on me even though I'm not practicing as an RN right now. Well needless to say, I had my Lawyer and boss send her a "nicely worded" letter stating she had no legal right to regulate the hours I work if it's not a nursing job, and I never heard back from her.

I can understand if those respective boards decided to take action following discipline by the board, but many times the discipline for an offense varies greatly by board. For example, I got a DUI, this is automatic probation by the RN board, however the LVN board will give you a clear license here in CA for the same offense as long as there's no priors.

I find it ridiculous that the board will try to ban you from an entire profession. I'm wanting to voluntarily surrender my license and go back to school for my masters in healthcare administration or biomedical engineering because I'm tired of being treated as less than human by the board, but the fear of them then launching a witch hunt after me is what keeps me from doing it.

I completely agree. They shouldn't try to ban you from anything non nursing. My lawyer told me the BON initially didn't want me to work in the medical field at all. It took a strongly worded letter for them to not argue it. I think it's ridiculous that nursing boards are so strict. X-ray techs, physical therapist and the board of medicine are not nearly as strict. I got a DUI am going through this. One of my friends is an x-ray tech has 2 DUIs and has no issues with her license.

If you are a licensed RN but work as an MA, what is the scope of practice you work under? Can an RN work in a position below their status in healthcare?

Just curious on what yours and other's experience has been regarding this.

Congrats if this is working out for you however, I have been hesitamt to work in healthcare in a position below my status (like MA, CNA, etc).....maybe it's possible?

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience.

I keep an attorney handy (not retained but with a sort of open file) just because I've had my particular program go on power trips and very loosely or completely misinterpret and/or bald face lie about contractual language. Frequently these contracts are boiler plate and ambiguous enough to allow them to pretty much do what they want. Said attorney in the past, has sent them some rather tersely worded letters. One thing I did find out is that these contracts are classed under contract law, NOT administrative. The BON functions, i believe under administrative law, in that we have very little support against them unless you are filthy rich. Being that these are contracts in every sense of the law, "any ambiguities in the terms of the contract be construed against the party who prepared it." Plainly speaking, if it is not clearly stipulated in the contract, they cannot add requirements at their discretion, and unless clearly stipulated, interpretation is to be construed in my favor.

My contract has several BS stipulations but no matter how wrong/inappropriate they may be, i still signed a contract (i feel under duress, but that is another post) and i am obligated to follow it and they should too.. It's a crying shame that it takes $$$ in legal fees to impress that point.

In my state an MA is not certified and can give injections and meds but must work under the a doctor in a close setting such as a clinic


Has 8 years experience.

Good for you for maintaining some type of medical employment and making the best of your situation. I wish you the best in your recovery from alcohol and hope you can be an RN again soon.

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience.

i do happen to know of someone that, for whatever her thing is, is apparently told that she cannot work in a clinical area, yet she does a private gig as a HHA for a single patient. I guess that shows that this stuff is not interpreted that same way for anyone.

As far as non-nursing employment in anything that does not put one in a position where your license is required, I don't feel it is any of their business. if I want to go work as McDonald's or whatever, that's my business. I will do their BS because I (was stupid enough to have) signed their contract but they have no right to micromanage my life and i will not let them.


Specializes in Med/surg/ortho. Has 7 years experience.

Yes of coarse they can.