Representing yourself to the public as a nurse when you are not a nurse - page 5

A family member was recently seen in an ER. One of her care providers introduced himself as a "med tech" and the family member asked "What does that mean?" and the response was " it is the same thing... Read More

  1. by   proud nurse
    When I was an LPN and looked for jobs, many of them were listed as LPN/MA. I know in a clinic setting, the MA is like a nurse and obviously the clinic thinks so, too. When I worked in LTC we had med techs who were CNA's and went through a certification course on passing meds, no where near a nurse and I guess I'd resent anyone thinking that passing pills is all nurses do in LTC. I don't know what a med tech does in the hospital, but I don't think they should represent themselves as same thing as a nurse. But, to be fair the med tech didn't say he was like an RN, maybe he felt that he was like an LPN.

    IMO, when nurses think of all the grueling hours in school, reading, sitting through boring lectures, making powerpoint presentations, studying for tests, playing the game with instructors, dealing with attitudes at clinicals, etc... there's no shame in being protective of the license they worked so hard to get.
  2. by   muffylpn
    The person did not lie about his title. It was his perception, which was not correct. But we don't know the whole situation and the actual nurse was not offended so whats the big deal. Many times when dealing with our dementia Pts at the hospital I will refer to
    the CNA as a nurse, as I don't think the dementia Pt is up to the explanation of the vast difference. I know this was not the case
    in this situation, but again we don't know the whole situation cause we were not present.
  3. by   kbrn2002
    I don't see any intentional misrepresentation here. He clearly stated his title as med tech, he just didn't take to time to give a detailed description of the job duties. Saying "like a nurse" was probably the quickest and simplest explanation a lay person would reasonably be expected to understand. I personally wouldn't understand his job title either as a med tech in my area is a CNA that has taken a med administration course and has a certification allowing them to pass meds. They are used in a lot of LTC's for med passes only and wouldn't be doing the personal cares described by the OP.
  4. by   james_lankford
    Quote from MtnRN
    This person should have been reported to their supervisor and repremanded .
    get over yourself

    he introduced himself as a MED TECH !

    he did NOT misrepresent himself

    if they don't know what a med tech is and they ask the guy "what do you do here?" and the med tech answers with "I take care or patients and I do ekgs" then 99% of the patients will say "oh, so you're just like a nurse"?

    as far as a non-medical person is concerned they're the same thing

    as numerous posts in this thread have stated a patient isn't going to make the distinction between getting treated by a nurse of by a med tech

    Quote from lindarn
    Go to a doctors' office, and see if the PA or NP, tells the patient that they are the, " same as a doctor".

    Big difference in skill level and education.
    which the vast majority of the public knows nothing about

    I guarantee most people don't know what an NP is.
    Neither do they know what training or education a Nurse Practitioner goes through.
    Last edit by james_lankford on Oct 10, '12
  5. by   BlueDevil,DNP
    Quote from lindarn
    But he described his job title, and therefore, and misrepresented, his skill level, and education, to be the same as an RN or LPN. When he stated that it was, "the same as a nurse", he was misrepresented himself. Go to a doctors' office, and see if the PA or NP, tells the patient that they are the, " same as a doctor". Or go to a law office, and see what happens if the Paralegal tells potential clients, that he/she, is, "just like a lawyer". Your head would roll. The fact that so many individuals don't care what this jerk calls himself, is what is wrong with nursing. We do not respect ourselves enough to get angry at a person who represents themselves as a nurse. And we wonder why the public doesn't care.
    Big difference in skill level and education.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    somewhere in the PACNW
    Yes, in this office we do because we are, lol. I am in independent provider and in this state, there is nothing a primary care MD/DO can do that I cannot. We are interchangeable. Just an FYI. Carry on.
  6. by   the healer's art
    Quote from RNsRWe
    Or, a Med Tech may be a Medical Technician who has zero to do with any of the descriptions you gave. It just happens to be the title of a couple of my staff members, neither of whom holds a college degree but both of whom are responsible for the care, cleaning, and maintenance of our endoscopy scopes. Hence, the "technician" term; "medical" speaks for itself. It is the common title/job description of those in the endoscopy business who do that work. Sometimes called "scope techs". But techs.

    So, as we can see, context is everything.
    At a long term care facility, I worked as a "med tech" which was a medication technician. I've never heard of a med tech being a med technologist until now. When I was med teching people ALWAYS confused me with a nurse because I had a med cart and I did feedings and treatments, etc. If people assumed I was the nurse I would always try to politely correct them but not make them feel stupid by saying "I am similar to the nurse" or "I'm like the nurse". But sometimes people would get annoyed and treat it like I was being too finicky (similar to when I clarify my name is CaroLYN not CaroLINE) and they would say "whatever it's the same" in which I would say "okay!".

    So who knows maybe the guy wasn't trying to misrepresent himself. Was that an exact quote? Because it does make a difference if he said "it's like the same thing as a nurse" or if he said "it's basically the same thing as a nurse". Or even his tone "uh yeah it's the same thing as a nurse" kind of like my "okay!"
  7. by   ArrowRN
    I agree with james. I actually just got a new she is a Nurse Practioner and even I could not tell the different in the job duties except that I know she runs her own office....a funny sign on the door inside reads "The Doctor is in" and the word Doctor is crossed out and below it is "Nurse Practioner"
    on the flipside, I've never ever had a Physician Assistant, introduce himself as a Physician Assistant...I normally look at the name tags to make the determination. However, 99.9% of patients thinks persons in white gowns are ALL doctors, females in scrubs are all nurses and males in scrubs are orderlies to lift you from place to place (yeah forget the ).
    Reality check, I'm in hospital...I'm probably in pain and really messed up and I'm gonna lay down asking everyone to "define" themselves to me and just leave their resume while I'm there? ohh please as long as I get treated right and out of there I am happy and I'm sure most patients think the same way.
  8. by   Penguin67
    I'm sorry, but if the family member knew the difference then why did they ask in the first place? Were they baiting to see what the response would be? And in reality, this person did not say they were a nurse

    No, she was not "baiting" them. She heard a title that she did nto know and asked what it was. She does, however, know what a nurse is.
  9. by   Penguin67
    [QUOTE=man-nurse2b;6975325]To answer in your own words "introduced himself as a "med tech"" so what exactly is the problem here? if he introduced himself as a "nurse" then that would be misrepresentation, if he says same thing as or like a nurse, he could just mean in terms of taking care of a patient, in terms of talking to a lay-person. I find this whole enquiry a bit snoopy and deceiving of the family member not to strike up an honest conversation and continue to say, "hey there's nurses or whatever in my family and I know the difference"... instead of like spying on his every move...I find that to be so immature. Maybe the guy would have further explained himself if they had just stated he seems to be doing nurse assistant work...he might he just said, thats right, I'm a like CNA or something to that end I assume or could have said "really my XYZ has her BSN from ABC university, where did you go to school?" I sure he would have not only shown interest in what you had to say but also futher clarify his duties maybe even say yeah I plan to go to ABC for my BSN too, what are the requirements?..etc....
    When I was an EMT, because the service was so new to our country, many people we picked up in ambulance were continually calling us doctors, we did sometimes explain the difference hey we just here to take you to the doctor, but it gets to be a pain going through the explaination because they would call us doctors no matter what we say, I think its the same situation...he must have been asked that a million times...maybe the guy had aspiration to be a nurse one day, but we will never know, because the member as a patient just kept quiet and assumed he was misrepresenting himself...people are so honest nowadays...not! but honesty has to go both ways.[/QUOTE

    My family member was not snooping. Just curious what a med tech was and asked. Perhaps she did not continue the conversation because she was in the ER that night due to hemorrhaging from an oral surgery site secondary to being on coumadin. (And she was.) She felt terrible that night and was not in the mood to be following up on that title. I think it threw her because when I worked in a similar position two decades ago, it was called simply "nurse assistant".
  10. by   Penguin67
    Quote from aflanagan9
    Seems like the real issue here is the tired old problem that Nursing has an image problem since the dawn of time. The lay public have no real idea of what nurses do (on TV, the doctors do all the nursing tasks anyway). We talk about scope of practice, but 95% of patients don't know where the line starts for one kind of role, and ends at another. Sometimes we don't either. On top of that, the lines move from one department to another, between specialties, between facilities, between states, and that's just for registered nurses. Also, the majority of patients don't seem to care about rankings of qualifications - they usually assume that someone ("They") is overseeing all that important stuff so that appropriately-qualified people in scrubs are doing any given thing as part of their care.

    On my part, I would have to assume my tech had the best intentions. I generally try not to take offense (sometimes this does take effort) when I disagree with my coworkers: high dugeon only serves as a barrier to solve problems, and another problem I'll need help to solve is guaranteed to roll up on the next 5 minutes. And I can't blame anyone for wanting to shorthand a conversation loaded with excruciating technical & bureaucratic baggage. Having that conversation amongst ourselves is tricky enough, but ploughing though it with a patient while working and keeping all the balls in the air - no thanks.

    On the other hand, avoiding talk about this question just prolongs the problem...

    -at Meriwhen: LOVE your tagline quotes!
    So agree with you, especially that last line!
  11. by   ArrowRN
    I apologize if I came over as insensitive, that was not my intent. I just think in general, in USA in particular someone is always outthere watching for others to slip up, to make a mistake, then looking to sue or get the person a trouble for something that really seems to be just as honest mistake. Everyone can't be perfect but its the culture here.
    Just to clarify...a med tech, as called today Medical Technologist, if the person was that, is more than just a nurse assistant. They get more training than CNAs. Some courses are up to 1 year long...which may include medical coding, EKG training and phelbotomy. Maybe that person trained to be a med tech but was underemployed as a nurse assistant when hired just to get experience, who really knows, and they just gave their higher title as to not to feel embarrassed. I really don't know because I was not there, but I always like to give someone the benefits of the doubt. In any situation I don't see it as a deliberate misrepresentation. People are not always "politically correct" when they talk, especially when they are busy and its a stranger they are talking too. It happens all the time. Now if that med tech did something that was out of their scope of work, well thats another can of beans.
    Anyways it was nice talking to you all about this topic. I like engaging help us to see how different people have different perspectives and we can learn to appreciate our conversing keep us alive!
  12. by   dandk1997RN
    I know this is an old thread, but a "med tech" in the state where I live is a licensed position, and is in no way or shape similar to a nursing assistant or the job described by the OP, which sounds similar to a CNA. A med tech here is a medical technologist, a person with a 4 year degree and licensure to practice laboratory medicine.

    So...that explanation (med tech=nurse) wouldn't fly by any account at all in my state.