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When I am in a procedure room with an anesthesiologist, a gastroenterologist and a certified endoscopy technician, whose license is the technician "working under"?

Monday January 14, 2013
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I am an RN working in a hospital endoscopy unit. When I am in a procedure room with an anesthesiologist, a gastroenterologist and a certified endoscopy technician, whose license is the technician "working under"? Is it the gastroenterologist they are assisting, is it the RN who is circulating, or is it the endoscopy nursing leadership who validates their competencies?

Marcus



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Marcus,

It is difficult to respond specifically to your question because it has so few details, so only a few general comments can be made. The first is that no one "practices" under another's license. Only the licensee practices under his or her license. However, a licensed healthcare provider might be responsible for supervising or guiding another person on the healthcare team, depending on who the other person is and what credentials he or she has. If that supervision or guidance is done negligently and a patient is injured, the licensee may be held liable for that negligent supervision.

In your question, the title of the person you are concerned about is a certified endoscopy technician. What does this credential allow him or her to do? By what agency is he or she certified? And what does the job description say regarding whom the technician reports to and who is responsible for supervising him or her? The answer to these questions might help resolve the problem for you. Another resource is the nursing director of the endoscopy unit.

Regardless of the answers to the above questions, if you observe something the technician is doing incorrectly, is outside the scope of his or her practice, or is in some other manner threatening patient safety, it is your obligation to report the concern to your immediate supervisor, who then can take appropriate action to rectify the situation.

Sincerely,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.