there are several issues here. the first is the respect MDs have or don't for RNs. many doctor's don't care if you are an RN, MA, CNA--you are not an MD, so we're all alike (to him or her). without disrespecting the value of the UAPs, we MUST make sure the MDs understand what it means to be a nurse. this is a huge issue. the public often doesn't care. i work with one MA who knows her stuff very well and she often oversteps her scope, so she needs to be reigned in a bit. but if i had an issue--i would trust her. i also work with an RN who i wouldn't let water my plants, let alone touch me or even look at my lab results. but scope of practice is scope of practice. i can only pray the MA finishes nursing school quickly and the idiot nurse gets fired.....
the docs might not care. some of the public might not care. but WE MUST care when a non-RN comes off as one, overtly or otherwise. our profession depends on it. why hire an RN if you can hire an MA?
RNs may do many of the same tasks as MAs so to the casual observer, what is the difference? MAs are performing TASKS, collecting DATA. they may be individually brilliant, but they are not able to assess, give nursing diagnoses, plan or evaluate actual or potential human conditions. they are not trained to critically think (tho many are capable). when i see posts on MAs and CNAs and the various frustrations that come with working with them, it always seem to lead to the fact that most of what an RN does, and our most important work are not the tasks we do. it is our critical thinking and our understanding of disease, drugs, health and the response of patients to illness. we can do many of the same tasks. this is why docs think we are all alike. they need to know how we are different. patients need to know. and the UAPs need to know as well. many CNAs think nurses have it easy because all we have to do is (fill in the blank) while they have to (fill in the blank). they can't see the real work we do.
i would strongly suggest everyone check out the web site http://www.truthaboutnursing.org.
a lot of energy on that site is spent on media portrayals in nursing--which is crucial since people (and most docs are people too) get their notions of What A Nurse Is from t.v. and movies. but there is far more than that and they get into all of it.
if we nurses don't educate ourselves on what it means to be a nurse and how to properly advocate for our profession, then the world will think they don't need us. not when an MA can do it cheaper! and what kind of world would we have if there were no nurses?
by the way--we nursing and medical folk can be a sensitive bunch: when i referred to the posts dealing with difficulties working with MAs and CNAs i mean absolutely no disrespect. just like the happy stuff doesn't often make the news, in a forum like this, we are often more compelled to express our frustrations than our joys. there is room and need for all of us. many of us are brilliant, excellent, thorough caregivers within our scopes. some of us suck--RNs on down the line.
*my own little advocacy thing is to not use the word "nurse" very often. because a mother can nurse her sick child, a child can nurse a pet back to health, etc. nurse, as a verb can be viewed as a generic word that can conjer up loving care, which MAs CNAs and MDs can all do. I am proud to be a nurse. but i try to say RN whenever possible or Registered Nurse. just my own thing.