Reply To: False claims of being a nurse

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I have a few opinions on this. I feel it’s incredibly unethical to mislead someone into thinking you’ve had the training and licensure that people would assume you have when you call yourself a nurse. It’s dangerous as well. I am an LPN and people often will ask me if I’m an RN and I have to correct them and explain that I went to a technical school, and then I usually list the things not in my scope.

I was a CNA for 2 or 3 years before becoming an LPN. In the traditional sense of the word, a CNA is a nurse. A CNA is a nurse oftentimes more than licensed nurses are these days. Their skill set is the very core of nursing. However, when they say they are a nurse, people think this to mean that they’ve had the education it takes to become an RN or LPN, which involves more advanced education and a greater set of skills. I remember there were times when I was a CNA that my charge nurse would tell me to do something and I’d think it was stupid. Then, when I was in school and would learn about said issue, I’d be like, “oh…I was being a jerk. I had no idea.”

Someone who tells people they are a nurse is typically doing so b/c they wish they were and feel inadequate about what their role actually is. Unfortunately, I think we are often at odds with each other about titles. CNAs are made to feel less important than RNs or LPNs. Sometimes LPNs are made to feel lesser by RNs. It’s stupid. Recognize that she is doing this b/c she is probably ignorant of the consequences and just wants to stress the importance of her role. Also, I think it’d be nice if we could stop waiving around education as the be-all and end-all of how important we are. Unfortunately, many many nurses make it through school and boards b/c instructors let them squeak by or they have methods for preparing for an exam that work, but have absolutely no real skills. I’ve also seen many people who would be amazing nurses not be able to do it due to personal or financial situations. I digress.
I’d tell her the consequences, explain how she’s misrepresenting herself, convey your appreciation for the job she does, and then explain that if she continues to do that it will force you to take appropriate action.

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