Nurse Title Protection Provides Clarity, Increases Patient Safety

Nurse Title Protection Provides Clarity, Increases Patient Safety

Protection Would Prohibit Non-Nurses from Using Title Nurse

TRENTON, N.J.—May 13, 2019—A bill protecting the title of nurse was heard today at the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee.

Nurse Title Protection legislation would prohibit the use of the title nurse by an unlicensed person. The practice of nursing as a licensed professional is defined as diagnosing and treating physical or mental conditions in human patients.

“We have veterinarians coming in and telling pet parents a nurse will be right in to see their animal,” said Judy Schmidt, MSN, DHA (c), RN, CCRN, New Jersey State Nurses Association CEO. “They clearly are not registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN), which represents a specific education achievement and licensure from the state and should not be taken lightly. The title of nurse represents a trusted health care professional who has worked for years on their education and practice for utmost patient safety.”

Restricting use of the title nurse to RN’s and LPN’s is a protection for the public against unethical, unscrupulous, and incompetent practitioners, according to the American Nurses Association.

 

The practice of nursing includes several services such as case-finding, health teaching and health counseling. The title also includes supportive care or restorative of life and well-being, as well as  executing medical regimens as prescribed by a licensed or otherwise legally authorized physician or dentist, as defined by New Jersey Board of Nursing, the regulatory agency that oversees the licensure of nurses in the Garden State.

 

“Allowing anyone to be called nurse is misleading to the public, who probably does not know the difference when a medical assistant walks in the room to take their blood pressure before the nurse practitioner or doctor comes in,” said Schmidt. “The average patient thinks the person who takes their vitals is a nurse, when in fact they may not be. If a patient has the impression that a person is a nurse, they have the belief that the person went to nursing school with a certain level of expertise and that may not be the case. Under current law, a person can be called a nurse and do they have to disclose they are not a nurse. This provides a false sense of security to patients and as the most trusted profession for almost 20 years, we need to clarify this to maintain professional integrity and patient safety.”

The bill, A879, introduced by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (D-21) and Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-31), would require the medical personnel to disclose their correct title to patients and prevent the use of the title nurse by unlicensed people.

NOTE: Video of the committee hearing can be found here.

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About NJSNA
NJSNA, which was established in 1901, is a constituent member of the American Nurses Association.  The New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) represents the interests of 125,000 registered nurses and advanced practice nurses as an advocate for the nursing profession. NJSNA’s lobbying arm continues to protect the nursing profession through legislative victories. Its nonprofit foundation, Institute for Nursing, helps nurses further their careers by providing continuing education, scholarships and research grants in addition to invaluable networking opportunities. For more information, nurses can visit www.njsna.org or contact NJSNA at njsna@njsna.org or (609) 883-5335.

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