Monday, November 16, 2015

The badge



 I'm sitting at the nurses station, writing a note.


Suit Lady: "Excuse me, Dr. Grumpy? You're not wearing your ID badge."

Dr. Grumpy: "It's in my black bag. This shirt doesn't have a pocket for me to clip it to."

Suit Lady: "Well, the staff can't see it."

Dr. Grumpy: "I figure after almost 20 years here they all know me." (loudly) "Hey, you guys all know me, right?"

Passing nurse: "Too damn well, if you ask me."

Dr. Grumpy: "See?"


I go back to writing my note.


Suit Lady: "But it's your new badge, with our new Local Hospital logo, isn't it?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Yeah, you guys inactivated the old one so I couldn't get in the parking lot. I didn't have much of a choice."


Suit Lady pulls up a chair and sits real close, like she's about to make a dirty proposition.


Suit Lady: (softly) "Haven't you noticed the effect this is having?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Um..." (looks around) "on what?"

Suit Lady: "It's terrible for employee morale! They can all see you're not supporting our new branding. If they don't think you're behind them, it will affect how they do their jobs."

Dr. Grumpy: "They're not even paying attention, and don't care."

Suit Lady: "They're trying to be polite, but it's obvious that your lack of support is disappointing to them. You really should have your ID proudly displayed."

Dr. Grumpy: "Look... I need to finish writing my note. I've got 2 other consults to see."

Suit Lady: "Well, please wear the badge. Not doing so is bad for patient care."

Dr. Grumpy: "Do you really believe that?"

Suit Lady: "You need to envision the whole of who we are today at Local Hospital. It's all part of our new brand in the community. And, of course, that includes doctors like you."

Dr. Grumpy: "If I'm your brand, your brand sucks."


I turned back to my note. Suit Lady glared at me for a few minutes, then left.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

At first i wondered what the picture of a horse had to do with your ID badge... but, it wasn't the horse........... LOL

Heidi said...

The "Corporate Kool-Aid" is only effective if everyone drinks it.

Stacey Gordon said...

I can't believe I'm going to be the first to quote Blazing Saddles here....

"We don't need no stinkin' badges!"

Anonymous said...

Dr. Grumpy is being nice, comparing suit lady to the entire horse and not one certain part of its anatomy...

I get a lot of glossy mailers from my local hospital with this "branding" bullshit on it. As a patient, I don't care either, but i did call to ask them to remove me from their mailing list. Getting fliers of happy geriatrics enjoying all the joint therapy services Fantastic Hospital offers is kinda depressing when you're 41. They cheerfully took me off the list, no problem. Now they send the mailers to my husband instead.

Ivan Ilyich said...

Treasure of the Sierra Madre:

"I don't have to show you any steenking badges!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqomZQMZQCQ

Stacey Gordon said...

Health care does not fit the retail model... When will they get it?

Anonymous said...

"Do you really believe that?"

That's the question I always have for the suit people.

Because if you don't, you should know, none of us do either. We're not stupid. We will comply, because we need to access the parking lot, and to do our jobs, but if we had our way, you'd be "re-branded" to an actually useful role at the hospital, like "janitor." Janitor's actually a very important job in hospitals, and since you suit people fired all of our good ones and contracted out to Cheapy McCheaperson's Swipe and Wipe, we really could use the help.

And, if you *do* really believe that, well, psychiatry is on the 6th floor, and perhaps you should go talk with them?

Anonymous said...

"Please wear the badge. Not doing so is bad for patient care."

I believe this quote summarily explains just about everything wrong with our health care system.

Powers said...

Don't blame the suits. They're just doing their jobs. And their job is to make sure the hospital stays in business so that they can continue to offer healthcare services (and/or make their owners money, depending on the hospital).

I'd certainly be willing to to argue that we should make all hospitals non-profit, or treat them like a utility with regulated rates and services, or even nationalize the entire system.

But until we do one of those things, the system we have requires hospitals to act like businesses.

Anonymous said...

You're lucky.

You can say truthful things like this and, while it draws some consternation from suits, it's not a big deal.

On the other hand if nurses, techs, transporters, dietitians, therapists, social workers, or anyone else employees by the hospital would dare utter these truths, it might be grounds for firing.

I'm pretty sure all the workers on the unit were singing your praises if they overheard your conversation. Thanks for being the voice when others cannot speak!

Candida Gomez said...

There's a difference between a hospital having to act like a business, or a non-profit organization, and a hospital's administration being so obsessed with 'branding' and 'image' they forget their first job is to provide patients' care. This lady was well into the second option with her 'it's insulting the hospital! You're not showing your support!' BS.

Dr. Grumpy's there. He's taking care of his patients. He's consulting when asked. He gets up at 4-freaking-am to do his job as well as take care of his family. He shows his support in the important ways, through actions, not through a piece of printed plastic.

I think one of the best examples of Dr. Grumpy's care for his patients is when he was managing the pain meds for an older gentleman, and no one could figure out why the meds weren't working. After the patient's admittance to the hospital, Dr. Grumpy didn't just check the medicines, he opened up every bottle to count the pills. That's what enabled him to realize that they were all the same type of pills, which led to the discovery that the patient's daughter had been stealing his meds and replacing them with store-brand tylenol. That extra step opened up an opportunity to truly help the patient and revealed a criminal (on multiple levels).

That's more important than a branded label.

Pam M. said...

Rage against the machine!!!!!! You Go!!!!!

Shae said...

This, Suit Lady. So much this.

bobbie said...

Stacey ~ you beat me to the "Steenking Batches" comment!

Well done, Benevolent Yak Herder ~ mission statements have no place when you are trying to save a life.

clairesmum said...

Ditto Anon 10:05AM.
the story of the little boy and the emperor's new clothes playing out in modern 'healthcare' businesses.

Anonymous said...

Candida, this is the nail. You just hit it with a nuke.

Brent said...

If I am your brand.....Where are my royalty checks?

Anonymous said...

"Please wear the badge. Not doing so is bad for patient care."

Or at least bad for our return business, because that badge provides another convenient way to potentially carry pathogens from one patient to another as you handle and contaminate it throughout the day.

Packer said...

Hospital affiliation is way over rated, or What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Old Fool said...

I have a couple of old cowboy friends with red hot glowing hunks of metal that would like to introduce "suit lady" to some genuine branding.

Whelk Lad! said...

People can get healed anywhere, okay? They come to Local Hospital for the atmosphere and the attitude. Okay? That's what the flair's about. It's about fun.

Anonymous said...

I'm married to a hospital suit, and I can tell you from experience, they can be a total pain in the ass!

atlantagirl30345 said...

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about badges-how often are those cleaned? Aren't they like ties?

Hattie said...

Good Lord!

Anonymous said...

I love it. Love it. This is a great post and the comments are even more to the point. Candida put the issue right there on the plate.

I work on the third floor behind an unmarked door, so that if anyone ever shows up uninvited, they have to knock first, though the back door is unlocked. Whoops. Did I just let the cat out of the bag?

My previous boss believed in the KoolAid and only the most attractive professionals were posted in patient areas and talked to top management. It didn't matter that they never had time to catch up on with the latest way to slice bread. The less attractive were consigned to the night shift, and an office behind computers or in the IV room preparing the IV drugs.

Suits need to make sure the hospital lobby furniture is up to date and the rug in the main hall is nob-slip. And, they could send flowers to every department in the place or something tasteful. Every day. Even on the night shift.

And, keep their noses out of places where they don't need to stir up dissent or keep someone from their duty. Patients, first and foremost.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Compliance suit. I thought she wanted you to wear your badge as part of a HIPAA policy. The whole branding and employee morale issue was hilarious. I'm glad my company has more sense than that!

Ms. Donna said...

OK, get the badge out and turn it in so the face can't be seen by the pt.

Well? That's like every worker at my local hospital.

See, Suit Lady? I'm wearing the badge.

Seriously, as someone who has been at pt., I do like the badges. Not everybody tells me their name,what they are doing or what they are going to do to me, so I kind of like to have some scrap of information. Even consultants -- I like to know who was poking me. Yes, I'm sick and confused. But I still want to know.

So, except for being a total horse's patoot, Suit Lady had a point.

BUT she didn't put it like that. I am sure if she put in terms of pt. care/feelings and left off the bogus branding horse hockey argument, you might have listened.

Tom said...

I worked in a hospital for 15 years (and still didn't learn my lesson, thus attending medical school). Suggesting we have badges for security/ID? Sure. Having badges to get into/out of secure areas? Sure. Having badges so the patients understand who and what personnel they interact with? No argument here. Having badges to sate the deluded notion that it's a form of morale and a lack of such is slowly and softly killing the nursing staff's will to live? Patent mule fritters. Maybe if they got Dr. Grumpy one of those foam fingers or a vuvuzela with the hospital name on them. That'd be great for morale.

awesomesauciness said...

She's Happy's mother isn't she?

Anonymous said...

I just went through an on-boarding process at a health system. We were told it was a HIPAA violation if the badge was not displayed between the waist and the collar. On the belt was not acceptable as the badge would then hang below the waist.

Oh, and branding? We have it, but it is not on our badge. Just our name, department, and hospital logo.

Shawn Stratton said...

This, just exactly this :^(

jbt369 said...

I recently spent two nights in the hospital with what must have been a big PE for all the attention I received. One of my doctors told me flat out that I was lucky to be alive, and it certainly did hurt like hell.

You want to know what I didn't care about? Logos. Never gave it a thought. Still don't, come to think of it.

Anonymous said...

And ten thousand miles away in Australia, with a different health care system, I'd like to say that the conversation with 'The Suit" is so foreign to me... but alas I have also had similar experiences. I find it helpful for me, as a senior doctor, to have my middle finger raised discretely during such encounters even if only I know I am doing it.

Mage said...

Sounds like our local VA hospital.

Anonymous said...

Just wait until they start their LITERAL branding program...

Anonymous said...

"If you don't wear your badge, then how will the patients learn about all the special offers from our carefully selected corporate partners?"

Anonymous said...

That's so stupid. BTW Doctor Grumpy, you'd enjoy the new episode, titled "Adrift", of the Lore podcast. (Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the podcast or its sponsors in any way.)

Anonymous said...

Since we have "on boarding" does that mean I can call being fired "overboarding?"

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that Ms. Suit was the executive in charge of the branding program? And that her performance appraisal is full of wonderful metrics to measure the "brand penetration," "employee awareness of the brand?" and similar baloney? I work as an engineer, and some of my performance goals were actually tied to branding crud like this, because my boss's boss's boss's Boss's Boss had that line item in HIS Performance Appraisal Goals. Be glad you do not work where I do though. Badges are a big thing, and not having yours on you gets you escorted off site by an armed officer while your boss desperately tries to prevent your suspension, and everyone in your section hunts for your missing badge. I saw it happen, and it is no fun.

Anonymous said...

The alert level has gone up to blah-de-blah, so you must wear your ID badge at all times.
No. Not why you insist on putting my full name on it, which I am not even known by.
(three weeks later work has reissued the badge, with the English-version of my first name, which I go by at work)
Can you please wear this, it is a requirement because the alert level has gone up to blah-de-blah.
Sure, the moment you can tell me how me wearing the badge, in this tiny rural hospital with ten staff members, will save us from the terrorists.

I'm still waiting.

Anonymous said...

I stand to applaud your "attitude problem" Dr. Grumpy. Bravo!

WarmSocks said...

The suit is nuts if she believes that nonsense.
I'm going to agree with Ms. Donna here, though, and say that the ID badge should always be shown when hospital personnel are introducing themselves to patients. Patients shouldn't have to guess/wonder who all is traipsing in and out of their room.
Paperwork, however, is a different story. The paperwork doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

Yup, going through the 'branding' process right now. Corporatization of the medical school extends well into the basic sciences. Throw out that university ID fellow, we're a brand! Yikes, give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Went through the routine when the company I worked for brought out the badges. The mandatory badges. The badges that were forever getting pulled off while one did, you know, actual work. They "caught" me once without it on. I pointed out that I was working in a 2 person office. Come the day that we didn't recognize each other, I was pretty sure a piece of plastic was not going to be all that helpful. Idjits.

Anonymous said...

The badge is your friend.
Make friends with the badge.

Anonymous said...

The hero of this story is the nurse who said, "Too damn well, if you ask me." First, I like the stories where Grumpy gets put in his place (sorry Grumpy). Second, it shows that Dr. G is both well known and well loved by the nurses, so he must be doing something right.

Anonymous said...

Oh, oh, Doc. someone tattled on you. Better watch your back because they never give up.

Michaele Davidson said...

I know you meant to say "horse shit" !

evodevo said...

The episode of Dr. Grumpy and the pills sounds like things that happen here in Ky all the time. Where does he practice LOL ??!!!

Ami said...

And this is why the doctor I followed from private practice (her patient for 12 years then, nearly 16 now) can no longer practice medicine *for* her patients. It's not about people at all. It's all about the brand. And whether or not the brand might appear unfavorably. So they order all kinds of unnecessary tests and won't prescribe certain medications in conjunction with others.

I still love my doctor. But the whole badge/brand/CARE teams???

Yup. Horse shit.

Shash said...

I think I worked with Suit Lady at a different healthcare company about 10 years ago. She tried so very hard and she so didn't really get the company mission or our team's mission. She left because we were impossible to work with. I think she left because we continued with our mission, not her PR mission.

Anonymous said...

So, she works at your hospital too? I have been told that my badge is backwards, upside down or in some way not displayed properly while riding the elevator. I work in the lab, I do not see patients at all unless someone is very very lost. I see no need for me to wear my badge while getting to and from the lab, trust me the bacteria don't care and my coworkers know my name. Not to mention the last thing I probably need is one more thing for bacteria to collect on and drag around with me.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought it was a JCAHO requirement to wear a name badge?

C said...

dude, you're in trouble! a renegade.

RehabRN said...

Branding? What?

Hey, if that badge gets you into the computer faster (via single sign on) I'm all for it.

What logo is on it is irrelevant.

Tell suit lady you're going to put a smiley over her logo and see what happens. Would make a great video.

ayeekaz said...

This is the type of thing I wish I had the guts to do.

 
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