A North Carolina legislator misidentified herself as a registered nurse until recently, when the state Board of Nursing contacted her and asked her to stop.
State Rep. Beverly Boswell, a Republican from Dare County, is a medical assistant and phlebotomist — someone who's trained to draw blood — who was first elected in 2016 to represent NC House District 6. A member of the NC House health committee, Boswell has filed bills to allow chiropractors to conduct physical examinations, establish life at conception and exempt some eye surgeries from the state's permitting laws, among other health-related bills.
Boswell identified herself as a registered nurse on her campaign website and Facebook page until mid-March, when the N.C. Board of Nursing, responding to a complaint, asked her to stop doing so, board spokesman David Kalbacker said on Tuesday.
"Rep. Boswell is not a licensed nurse nor has she ever been a licensed nurse," Kalbacker said in an email.
Boswell corrected her campaign website after speaking with Kalbacker last week, he said. But, until Tuesday, Boswell had not corrected her campaign Facebook page.
"Working her way up from struggling single mother to registered nurse and Dare County Commissioner, Beverly rejects the liberal notions of victim-hood and government dependency ," the page said Tuesday morning.
The misidentification is an issue for the board because the nursing profession is regulated by the state government. Those hoping to become a registered nurse in North Carolina typically must attain at least an associate degree in the field — usually a two-year process — and then pass a test to acquire a nursing license. Phlebotomists, meanwhile, aren't required to obtain a license in North Carolina and the practice is far less regulated. However, many employers require phlebotomists to obtain certification through a national professional organization.
Kalbacker said he called Boswell's office shortly after noon on Tuesday, "asking her to correct her Facebook page where she identifies herself as a nurse."
In an interview with The News & Observer Tuesday afternoon, Boswell said she was unaware of the mistake until contacted by the nursing board. She said the registered nurse job title was included online because a campaign volunteer misunderstood her job.
"Anytime you put on a uniform and go in a doctor's office people assume you're a nurse or doctor and you have to correct and correct and correct," Boswell said. She called the misidentification a "non-story" and "non-issue."
It's unclear how long Boswell described herself online as a registered nurse.
Boswell said she removed the job description from her campaign website after the board contacted her last week. Asked why she didn't change her Facebook page until Tuesday, Boswell said "it fell through the cracks."
The nursing board's outreach to Boswell marked the second time this week that someone has taken issue with her Facebook presence.
Boswell garnered attention on Monday after she posted on Facebook about her phone conversation with a school leader who held an assembly on the day of the national school walkout, when thousands of students left classrooms across America to protest gun violence.
She referred to students as "Tide pod" eaters and suggested the school leader was allowing students to run the school.
John Burns, a Democratic Wake County commissioner from Raleigh, told Boswell on Facebook that she should be ashamed of herself.
"To denigrate these children for taking a stand is the height of arrogance and ignorance. A dangerous combination," Burns posted. "Until you solve either the arrogance or the ignorance, kindly stick to your district and mind your own business."
Republicans hold a supermajority in the state House and state Senate and can override the vetoes of Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat. But Democrats hope to gain influence in Raleigh through midterm elections later this year.
Boswell faces a primary challenge from Bobby Hanig, chairman of the Currituck County Board of Commissioners. The winner of the Republican primary on May 8 will likely face Democrat Tess Judge.
Clarification: A previous version of this story said someone hoping to become a registered nurse in North Carolina must attain an associate degree in the field. In fact, there are multiple paths to becoming a registered nurse — but an associate degree is typically the minimum level of education required.