Medical Assistants being called nurses

  1. I have serious concerns about Md offices hiring medical assistants and calling themselves nurses. They are given diagnostic results and education to pts, but identify as nurses . I have had the experience and new immediately that I was not speaking to a nurse ended up calling 911 b/c the md would not return call, the MA was uncomfortable taking note to md and I was a post op pt. I am RN of 28yrs and out of 7 providers only one hires licensed nurses, were name badges. These other offices refer to the MAs as nurses and really have not seen this address. How long would it take if I said I was an md in an office before it would be addressed as a very serious matter? I think it is perfectly fine that Mds want to hire MAs, but is it ok that they say they are nurses and they are doing nursing duties? How comfortable are you with not knowing who is talking to you at the mds' office? I know it is not legal so why is this not a serious concern?
  2. Poll: Are you comfortable with MAs calling selves Nurses?

    • Are you receiving info in your MDs office from an MA who says they are Nurse?

      39.16% 56
    • Is it self to pose as a nurse if you are an MA in MD offices

      20.28% 29
    • Why are MDs allowing MAs to pose as nurses

      46.15% 66
    • Why is it not being addressed by BNE that MAs can not identify as Nurses

      69.93% 100
    • Who should give you diagnostic info if not md an MA?

      21.68% 31
    143 Votes / Multiple Choice
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    152 Comments

  4. by   Ruby Vee
    FromGwengraves62:
    I have serious concerns about Md offices hiring medical assistants and calling themselves nurses. They are given diagnostic results and education to pts, but identify as nurses . I have had the experience and new immediately that I was not speaking to a nurse ended up calling 911 b/c the md would not return call, the MA was uncomfortable taking note to md and I was a post op pt. I am RN of 28yrs and out of 7 providers only one hires licensed nurses, were name badges. These other offices refer to the MAs as nurses and really have not seen this address. How long would it take if I said I was an md in an office before it would be addressed as a very serious matter? I think it is perfectly fine that Mds want to hire MAs, but is it ok that they say they are nurses and they are doing nursing duties? How comfortable are you with not knowing who is talking to you at the mds' office? I know it is not legal so why is this not a serious concern?
    I've actually "fired" my PCP because she and her office staff persistently referred to MA's as "nurses" even after I told them that it's illegal to do so. Not the first time I told her, but the third or fourth. I wrote my former physician a nice note telling her that I had enjoyed working with her as my PCP, but I could not continue to do so as she was illegally referring to her MA's as nurses.

    The answer is, it probably would not be taken as a serious matter unless the practice lost a number of patients OR someone reported them to the Board of Nursing.

    Please change your user name -- it looks as if you are using your own name as a user name, and that makes you very easily identifiable. One day you will post something ignorant, ill-conceived, poorly thought through, inflammatory or otherwise reflecting poorly on yourself and you won't want your manager to immediately identify you. Leave some room for doubt!
  5. by   boricualuna
    In my 10+ years in the medical field I've had many titles; CNA, MA, PCT, student nurse, GN and finally RN recently. I hated being called a nurse until I officially passed the NCLEX. Even after graduating nursing school i would identify myself as a GN and not an RN. For me, being called by a title I haven't received is not right and not correcting individuals who think otherwise is misleading. My PCP has a MA and she calls her a nurse and the MA identifies herself as my PCP's nurse, I even get results from the MA and med changes from the MA. I'm okay with that because I'm comfortable with my dr and MA. And if I have questions or issues the MA is quick to let me know that she will call me back after speaking with my dr. Physician offices commonly hire MAs because the pay is much less then that if an LVN or RN.
  6. by   SDALPN
    I know someone who couldn't get into nursing school so she became a CMA. She calls herself a nurse and so does the office she works for. I reported her to the BON and they said to report it to the medical licensing board. The medical licensing board said report it to BON. Apparently neither wants to handle it even though its against the law. I guess it takes a patient getting harmed for anyone to care.
  7. by   nursel56
    Quote from gwengraves62
    I have serious concerns about Md offices hiring medical assistants and calling themselves nurses. They are given diagnostic results and education to pts, but identify as nurses . I have had the experience and new immediately that I was not speaking to a nurse ended up calling 911 b/c the md would not return call, the MA was uncomfortable taking note to md and I was a post op pt. I am RN of 28yrs and out of 7 providers only one hires licensed nurses, were name badges. These other offices refer to the MAs as nurses and really have not seen this address. How long would it take if I said I was an md in an office before it would be addressed as a very serious matter? I think it is perfectly fine that Mds want to hire MAs, but is it ok that they say they are nurses and they are doing nursing duties? How comfortable are you with not knowing who is talking to you at the mds' office? I know it is not legal so why is this not a serious concern?
    Your post is kind of a hash of your stories as a patient and your experience as a nurse working with MAs. If you could clear up the obfuscations you'll probably get the type of answers you are seeking.
  8. by   HouTx
    "Nurse" is a legally protected title in Texas. It is illegal for anyone who is not licensed as an RN or LVN to claim this title. (Texas NPA Sec. 301.4515). Anyone who presents him/herself as a licensed nurse can be prosecuted as an imposter. Anyone who knowingly supports this practice is participating in healthcare fraud, since the patient is unaware of that individual's actual qualifications. Texas is particularly stringent in this area because we are the only state that has a legally defined "nurse patient duty" since 1983. It is likely that physician employers do not understand what all the "fuss" is about, if that is the case, they need to be educated.
  9. by   xoemmylouox
    I know that most of our local MD offices employ MA's and LPN's in a healthy mix. I don't know who is who unless I look at their nametag which clearly indicates which they are. The physicians do not refer to them as Nurses, but rather say "Suzie" will be back in a minute with that vaccine, or "Jenna" will call you with the referral information. The patients know who to expect which I think is nice. If there is a concern, they also know who to call and ask for. There are no issues with calling someone the wrong title. I don't think most MD's understand why this is important. You call and MD a DO and I bet you'll get an earful though.
  10. by   T-Bird78
    Non-medical pts probably don't realize it and are so accustomed to having a nurse in the doctor's office, they don't realize it's an unlicensed MA doing everything. It may be done for pt confidence, if they get a phone call from Dr. Smith's MA with your lab results versus that same phone call from Dr. Smith's nurse with the results. I'm an LPN, my name badge says LPN, and pts still ask if I'm a nurse, so the concept of MA could be very foreign to them. My mom was a MA years ago and the doctor referred to her as his nurse. She wore the white outfit and white hose (did I say it was years ago?) and white hat, so this practice has been going on for decades. She never passed herself off as a nurse, she was proud of her MOA (medical office assistant) title. As an LPN working in an office, its bugs me that MAs do ID themselves as a nurse and don't correct people who call them nurse. My facility doesn't hire MAs because they can't do 90% of the job functions LPNs and RNs can do per our facility policy.
  11. by   RNdynamic
    Unfortunately tons of personnel are presenting themselves as something more than they are. One time I was in the ER for a broken leg and a man came in to tell me my x-ray results, and he was an ER tech. For at least an hour I had assumed he was the doctor or PA, until he the actual professional came into the room.
  12. by   KatieMI
    Calling the chief doctor in practice (or whoever ownes it) and politely letting him/her know that after one more time you seeing that so-called "nurse" doing anything designated under Nursing Scope of Practice Act of your State you will inform the State regulatory bodies does the trick.

    In my particular case, the CMA was allowed to manage test results, did not reported "medically significant finding" because she had no idea how important it might be and I had to pay $$$ out of pocket for repeated test. According to my State Nursing Scope of Practice act, she had no rights to analyze any test results.

    It is important, though, to address the problem through both BON and Board of Medicine. Docs may not even know about BON's existence and function, but Board of Medicine is what they do not like to communicate with.
  13. by   Benedict983
    Wow...anyone can be called a Nurse regardless of whether they went to school or not. One can only be called a Registered Nurse (RN) after completing the requirements. Grossly misinformed individuals on this site. Some with lengthy nursing careers too.
  14. by   CelticGoddess
    Quote from Benedict983
    Wow...anyone can be called a Nurse regardless of whether they went to school or not. One can only be called a Registered Nurse (RN) after completing the requirements. Grossly misinformed individuals on this site. Some with lengthy nursing careers too.
    Actually, in SC, the title of "Nurse" is legally protected to include only LPN's and RN's. So, no, not grossly misinformed individuals. Just people who probably know the law in their individual states.
  15. by   Benedict983
    Thank you for the info! Good point sir or ma'am

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