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Nurse Susan
Nurse Susan, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  RN, BSN, MSN-ED, Nurse Educator whose passion is helping people understand their health and wellness
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If someone who works for a doctors office tells a patient she

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If someone who works for a doctors office tells a patient she will have the nurse call her back and the "nurse" is an MA instead, is the doctors office in violation of any law?
Id like to try to help you, but I need some additional information. The MA who returned your call, did that person say she or he was a nurse, or did he/she correctly identify him/herself as a MA?

Thanks for clarifying,
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

The ma did not say she was an ma or nurse but it was the front desk person who said I will have the nurse call you back, this doctor does not have a nurse just an ma. I was wondering if it was proper to say "his nurse will call you back" since she is not a nurse but an ma. An Rn I know took great exception to this and said it was not legal for an

ma to be called a nurse and acting in that capacity.


Generally yes, it IS illegal for an MA, or anyone else who is NOT a nurse, to say they are a nurse. However, intent to commit a crime must be a factor in a crime; its possible the secratary just used the generic term nurse, people do make that statement, often without thought or bad intent. IF the MA then had said he or she WAS a nurse, that would be a crime. But that didnt appear to happen.

A case can be made that people will infer it IS a nurse they are talking to as the MA didnt identify her role and people may think that yes indeed the "nurse" called back, and that isnt correct or legal to do.

But from what you write, it seems to me more like a misunderstanding (the secratary needs to make sure she doesnt use the word "nurse" to describe every health care worker) than a true intent to break the law, even though the law does seem to have been broken (see below).

Here is the relevent quote from the New York State Nurse Practice Act Education Law Article 139 section 6903: "Only a person licensed or otherwise authorized under this article shall practice nursing and only a person licensed under section sixty-nine hundred four shall use the title "registered professional nurse" and only a person licensed under section sixty-nine hundred five of this article shall use the title "licensed practical nurse". No person shall use the title "nurse" or any other title or abbreviation that would represent to the public that the person is authorized to practice nursing unless the person is licensed or otherwise authorized under this article."

I hope that helped,

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