Having to Say No at Work
Rosa works in a large hospital. She is a nurse assistant. Rosa has many co-workers at the hospital. She works with doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, and housekeeping staff. All of these people, and more, make up the hospital’s health care team. They all work together to deliver the best possible care to the patients staying in the hospital.
As a CNA, Rosa has many job duties. She is responsible for helping patients feel comfortable and safe while they are in the hospital. She helps them to get dressed, to clean themselves, and to use the bathroom. Sometimes she repositions, or helps to move, patients so that they feel more comfortable. One thing that Rosa cannot do as a nurse assistant, however, is administer medications. That task needs to be done by a licensed nurse or doctor.
One very busy Saturday, Rosa is at work caring for her patients. One of the registered nurses (RNs) on duty asks Rosa if she can give some pain medication to a patient who recently had back surgery. Rosa wants to be a helpful part of the health care team, but she knows that as a CNA she is not allowed to administer medication. She says to the RN, “I’m sorry. I want to help, but administering medication is outside of my scope of practice as a nurse assistant. Is there anything else that I could do to help?”
The RN thanks Rosa for reminding her that administering medication is not within the normal scope of practice for nurse assistants. She asks Rosa to go and check on the patient who is having back pain and to assure him that a nurse or doctor will be in to see him soon.