ASCP says a nursing degree is not equivalent to a biological sciences degree - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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On April 1, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a Memorandum that an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing is equivalent to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, respectively, in biological science—allowing individuals with a nursing degree the same rights to do moderate and high complexity testing as certified laboratory professionals.



In addition, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) says it also appears that CMS’s position could allow individuals with as little as a bachelor’s degree in nursing to direct a CLIA moderate complexity laboratory and/or serve in senior supervisory roles within a CLIA high complexity laboratory.

This has prompted the world’s largest professional membership organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals to express it’s disagreement with the federal agency’s assessment.

In an email from their Washington office, ASCP officials write:  Based on our review of biological science and nursing degree requirements, biological science degrees require three to four times more academic science than does nursing. Another notable contrast is that biological science degrees are heavily reliant on advanced level coursework in the sciences while nursing degrees are not. 

We have great respect for the work and invaluable services nurses provide patients. That said, given the significant lack of biological and other science obtained through a typical degree in nursing, we do not agree that the nursing degree is equivalent to a biological sciences degree or that it would adequately prepare someone to perform non-waived laboratory services

ASCP is urging members to  Sign the Petition to tell CMS that you believe a degree in nursing is not the same thing as a degree in the biological sciences and that appropriate academic coursework and clinical training/experience are need to provide quality testing services.

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  1. R Caudill, APRN, NP-C says:

    Nursing degree is nor equivalent.

  2. Gwen Waller says:

    Nurses will not do controls to make sure the little CLIA instrumen’s are within control so at some time or another a patient will get a false result that could result in a serious problem for the patient. That’s why there are MT’S and MLT’s. We know how to do proper testing!!!!!!!

  3. Deborah Darting says:

    Nursing degree is not the same. Disastrous outcome for patient care

  4. Sharon Claridy-Tarter, MLT (ASCP), MT (AMT) says:

    QC and QA is the backbone of our profession. We rely on the accuracy of both to be able to do our jobs precise. I don’t know many nurses that know what SD or CV mean or how they are used. Ask a nurse to explain the difference in antigen and antibody. It is not the same at all.

  5. […] Related: ASCP says a nursing degree is not equivalent to a biological sciences degree […]

  6. nurses should focus in their careers and let laboratory scientist do their own thing

  7. Kristopher Hizo, RMT says:

    This is outrageous. It would be big disappoointment for all laboratirians who spent years of studying and mastering the arts of laboratory testing if nurses will be allowed to do lab works.

  8. Ryan says:

    I’m an RN. There is a HUGE reason why I took this course. I love patient interaction more than the machines in the laboratory! Thanks but no thanks, CMS. Unless you are allowing nurses in the labs to know the word FUN.

  9. Jocelyn Concepcion says:

    I am an an IMT; ASCP member and also an a graduating RN in Brisbane, Australia. I think there should be a delineation between the 2 professions cause they are not one and the same. Nursing is a diffrwnt practice and should not over rule the experienced knowledge of any laboratorian or pathology scientist.

  10. Arnie lum says:

    It’s non equivalent, this calls for more lawsuits.

  11. Maricris Lada says:

    We allow nurses to work as phlebotomist but it doesnt mean that they are also allowed to work as laboratorians. We work hard for that degree.

  12. Angelito Mercado MT, AMT says:

    If nurses will be able to perform lab work and that nursing is accepted as a biological science course, therefore lab personnel (MT, CLS…) should be able to perform Nursing.

  13. I am a Registered Nurse and also a CLS (Clincal Laboratory Scientist), licensed in both. I went to both courses and training in school and I know the difference in background training between these two. There is no way nurses supersede or match the training of laboratorians in the complexity of their work. These are two different fields of study. Nurses are busy enough to do with their patients and doing laboratory task without trained critical decisions on lab results would jeopardize the patient’s safety and open to legal liabilities. Besides lab work is an unwelcomed task for nurses; they are busy enough helping patients get well, not detracting their main focus to do any lab work. Medical Technology is not equal to Nursing. Who could have thought they are?

  14. “Nurse” is a nurse and it is not interchangable for a “Scientist”- the designation itself stands clear.

  15. […] This personnel qualification update prompted the following response from the world’s largest professional membership organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), as was covered here in late August: […]

  16. […] The advancement of diagnostic technologies and understanding of the nature of disease, illness, and genetics has also thrust the clinical laboratory into the center of healthcare. It doesn’t necessarily change the scope of practice for the laboratory scientist, but does elevate the demand and scale of operations for these professionals must fulfill. Once again, the broadening demand has dovetailed with an effort to broaden the scope of practice for other clinical roles, particularly nurses. […]

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