Published Mar 3, 2002
What is an RN's liability while working with unlicensed assistant personnel? In my facility medical assistants give childhood immunizations, call in scripts, and take orders. Am I as the RN responsible for their actions? The physician says she is responsible.
CelticRN, read both your facilities policies and also the UAP's job description and chain of command. If you are involved in supervising anything that the UAP does, it is your license on the line. If your UAP answers to the MD, then I believe you are probably okay, but you might want to check this out with your Board of Nursing also (since you didn't list where you practice).
Back in the 90's when UAP's were first being invented, Minnesota (where I practice) nurses were very much against the development of them, especially in the hospital environment. The way they were supposed to be developed here was that the docs would train them (yeah, sure!) and they would work under the docs and nurses would supervise them. It didn't happen here; we had many MD's who fought the plan as hard as the nurses did. The docs didn't like the idea either.
Supposedly, a Medical Assistant is supposed to be working directly under the MD and is able to do those things you have mentioned; but if you are required to supervise or oversee any of their activities, they would be practicing under our license.
You need to review your state nurse practice act. If you are supervising the UAP, delegating assignments, etc. you could very well have some type of disciplinary action placed against your license. I would be very careful.
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