Lost Job Because LPNs are Not Allowed in Oncology Clinic

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Lost Job Because LPNs are Not Allowed in Oncology Clinic

Dear Nurse Beth,

I was hired as an LPN 4 months ago in an Oncology clinic with a Hospital. I was told yesterday that I will not be allowed to practice as an LPN in this clinic. According to my manager Joint commission rules do not allow LPN's in oncology. I have a choice to be an MA or a scribe. If I choose to be an MA I will be allowed to take BP, but if I'm a scribe I will have zero patient interaction.

My question is, how does this affect my License? I will no longer have any nursing responsibilities, or patient interactions. Also, does anyone know if this is even legal to change my job description? Why was I hired if LPN's aren't allowed to practice in Oncology?

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,217 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear LPN,

I'm not a lawyer, but I can offer general information and advice regarding your situation. It's essential to consult with a legal professional or a nursing association in your jurisdiction for specific guidance on legal matters related to your employment and nursing license.

It's frustrating to see your manager put the blame on JC when the issue is most likely their own oversight.

The claim that Joint Commission (JC) rules do not permit LPNs in oncology is incorrect. Joint Commission does not have any such rule in place. Moreover, if that's their justification for taking your job away, did they not have this information four months ago?

Scope of Practice

While JC does not have a rule that "LPNs can not work in oncology," JC does require organizations to adhere to their own policies and state and federal regulations. A more accurate statement may be that JC and the Board of Nursing in your state mandate that an RN performs assessments and patient education.

Other scope of practice issues differ from state to state and may include administering   IV chemotherapy or giving blood transfusions.

Regardless, this is basic nursing management and something that they should have been aware of. Sorry that you are going through this.

Effect on Your LPN License

If you transition to a role as a medical assistant (MA) or a scribe and your new position does not involve nursing responsibilities or patient interactions, it's possible that you may not be utilizing your LPN license to its full extent.

In some states, your ability to renew your license may be affected if you are not actively practicing nursing. It's essential to check with your state's nursing board to understand the implications of your LPN license in your specific jurisdiction.

Legality of Changing Job Description

Employers generally can change job descriptions or reassign employees within certain legal boundaries. However, the legality of such changes may depend on employment contracts, collective bargaining agreements, state labor laws, and the terms of your initial employment agreement. It's advisable to consult with a labor attorney or your HR department to understand if these changes are consistent with your employment contract and applicable labor laws.

Reason for Hiring LPNs

The reason for hiring an LPN in an oncology clinic may vary depending on patient needs, state regulations, and hospital policies. It's possible that the information provided to you during the hiring process may not have been entirely accurate or comprehensive. You could discuss your concerns with your manager or HR to better understand the situation.

Consider Future Career Goals

If you find your LPN license underutilized or you can no longer practice nursing in your current role, you may want to consider your long-term career goals. Assess whether the transition to an MA or scribe role aligns with your career aspirations and whether it provides opportunities for growth and development.

Seek Legal Advice

If you believe your rights or your LPN license are being unlawfully restricted, you should seek legal advice from an attorney specializing in labor and employment law. They can review your specific circumstances and guide you on effectively addressing the situation.

In any case, it's essential to have open and transparent communication with your employer and to consult with legal professionals or nursing associations to ensure that your rights and license are protected throughout this process.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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