American Heritage Dictionary described a nurse as “a person educated and trained to care for the sick and the disabled”. So who deserves to be called a nurse? Is it appropriate to introduce one’s self as a nurse even if he or she is not licensed at the place where this introduction happened? Can someone say that he or she is a nurse just because she “takes care of people”? After all, once a nurse, always a nurse, right?
A few years ago I met this guy in Dallas and he said he’s also from Northern California. We’ve been talking about people we knew and I mentioned that I used to work as a registered nurse in this clinic. He said that he once dated a girl named Julie (not her real name) when she was working at the same place where I used to work. He also said that Julie told him that she is a “nurse”. I remember Julie as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA).
On my way back to the Philippines last year, while waiting to board a plane in San Francisco, I met a Filipina lady named “Lucila”. She introduced herself as a “nurse” working in a dialysis facility in the San Francisco bay area. A friend of mine who currently works with Lucila in the dialysis facility told me that Lucila is not a Registered Nurse (RN), but a Medical Assistant (MA).
“A nurse is a nurse” “Once a nurse, always a nurse”. These sayings will stay forever, but there are an increasing number of non-nurse disciplines using the term “nurse” to introduce themselves. This has got to stop. There are clear differences in training, education, and licensures. RN, LVN, Graduate Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, RPN, etc. You don’t have to pretend. Just say it straight up.
By: Noel D. De Ocampo, MSN/ED, RN
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