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What Should We Do?: Identity crisis

by Dennis Ernst • December 02, 2016

We dont need no stinkin badgesIn our clinic lab, we are all credentialed professionals (MLT, MLS, etc.). The ID badges personnel wear state RN or LPN in large, bold letters. But the lab personnel's badges merely state "Clinic." Our patients have commented that the badges are confusing as to what our actual roles are. We've shared our disappointment to managers both verbally and with employee surveys, but nothing changes. We indeed feel "devalued" by our employer, but don't know what else we can do to change their indifference and the generalizing of our role here. What should we do?

Our response: You certainly are entitled to have your professional credentials proudly displayed on your badges, and your role in the clinic clearly defined to your patients. It's disturbing that the established avenues for improving the workplace (personal communication with managers and employee surveys) are being ignored.  Although employee recognition is a key concept in human resource management, it's importance is often overlooked until it's too late to salvage morale. Rest assured it's already eroding in your facility. Not only that, but it's become a customer service issue since your patients are confused about your staff.

Cost cannot be the factor here, since we're talking about a simple, cheap fix. A deeper conversation is in order with your management team. Explain the frustration is not just yours, but permeates the entire department, and that the problem has now multiplied. Not only does the lab staff feel management doesn't care about their professional credentials, now they question whether management cares about any of their concerns. Failure to address this problem will soon make it multiply again, this time in the form of friction between the two professions. This won't end well unless it's addressed. 

Ask for permission to take the project on yourself, and get the badges corrected for your staff. It could just be the manager is overwhelmed with responsibilities and not good at delegating. However, that won't solve the problem of comments being put into the employee suggestion box and not addressed. There's a breakdown in that process somewhere that needs to be found and fixed as well. Perhaps you should offer to take that on as well. That's how promotions happen.

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