Nursing students welcome summer employment in healthare facilities, not only for the income, but also for the opportunity of additional experience with patients. Some employers try to hire students for summer internships in which the employees are given duties similar to those they assume as nursing students. This is a violation of the Nurse Practice Act! Nursing students may only practice nursing while enrolled in nursing courses and under faculty supervision, during which time they are viewed as students and not employees. There is a specific exemption in the Nurse Practice Act permitting nursing students to perform nursing duties.
If an employer wishes to hire a nursing student as an aide, the student may perform only those duties specified in the facility’s position description for an aide. They are not permitted to perform “licensed” nursing functions. For example, administration of an enteral feeding, which may have been performed as a nursing student, cannot be performed while in the position of an aide, even under the direct supervision of a registered professional nurse. The license of a registered professional nurse is placed in jeopardy when permitting an unlicensed person to perform activities requiring a license. This is an example of professional misconduct, leaving the nurse subject to penalties by the Board of Regents.
If you are aware of any facility that is hiring nursing students for the practice of nursing beyond the scope of what unlicensed assistive personnel in that facility may perform, this situation should be reported to the State Education Department, Office of Professional Discipline.
For questions, contact Education, Practice and Research: 518.782.9400, ext. 282