Published Jan 23, 2003
I think this falls into one of those gray areas, so I appreciate any insight you can give me. I am an NA (nurse's aide) and I work with another NA who also happens to be a GN. (She is employed by the facility as a NA, however). I overheard a pt tell the NA that she (the pt) had a couple of different pain meds she could take and asked which one was better. The NA told her that she should take ABC drug because it doesn't have such-and-such effects that XYZ drug does. Even though as a GN she likely knew what she was talking about, was it appropriate for her (in her role as NA) to provide drug advice?
No. Granted she's a graduate nurse -- but she's functioning as an NA. The big problem as I see it is that this could lead to patients asking NAs more questions of this nature.
While there are some very responsible NAs out there that would clearly refer this question to a nurse, pharmacist, or physician, there are some that would attempt to answer this on their own and perhaps with incorrect information.
Was any real harm done in this case? Probably not. It's not a good practice, however.
My immediate reaction is that while the nurse may be protected (by virtue of her GN permit, presumably), the facility-- which has employed her as an NA rather than as a nurse--is not. So regardless of her good intentions, she probably needs to refrain from giving medical advice until such time as she is employed as a nurse.
You don't give medical advice, even as a NURSE, unless dispensed by physician. THAT is Against all nurse practice acts, unless you are an APN such as NP or CNM. Tell her that now! She is doing an illegal thing here. BIG trouble.
Giving medical advice is against nurse practice acts. However, I think this case fell more into an education area, which all nurses are licensed to do. If the GN in question took the opportunity to diagnose or prescribe -- that would be illegal.
As it is, I get the impression that she was educating either on prescription medications already being taken or on over-the-counter pain meds. Medication education is a nursing responsibility.
Yeah, what Johnny said. (Gaaahhh! Thank goodness someone's articulate today!)
Why is a GN working as an NA?
It is fairly common for graduate nurses to be employed as NAs until they are licensed, Especially in LTC. I was offered to take a job as a NA when I graduated. I guess that lets the facility snatch you up as a new grad and maybe get to keep you once you are licensed.
Wow, I've never heard of that. In my area, you're hired as a GN...you work as a staff nurse with some restrictions. If you fail boards, then you have to work as an aide until you pass.
ShandyLynnRN, BSN, RN
In my state you cant work as a GN. Can only work as an aide until you are officially liscensed. I know many that went to a neighboring state to work where they were allowed and encouraged to work as a GN.
I work in a retail pharmacy to get my through school (the hours are much more compatible than hospitals). As a rule even after I graduate I cannot answer questions on meds, read the directions to a patient, or reccommend a cold medicine based on symptoms. IT might make me frusterated that I can't tell a patient to finish antibiotics but its the law.
Wait a minute... as a RN we aren't even allowed to tell patients to finish their abx or tell them possible side effects like constipation? Well what the heck did we take pharmacology for then? (thinking to myself that I have broken the law several times in my nursing career)
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