HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Health care workers say they feel exposed. Lawmakers are working to change that with legislation for new identification badges to protect their identities.
The bill would remove last names from badges because having a full name on an ID badge can risk leading to violence, stalking, or harassment outside of the workplace.
“In the 30-some years that I’ve been a nurse, I have been attacked by patients,” said Betsy Snook, CEO of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.
Snook says she’s experienced harassment firsthand, and the association states around 75 percent of reported health care workplace violence occurs between patients and employees.
“That happens because, unfortunately, people are a bit more angry nowadays, and if they know the full name of the health care provider that is working with them, there’s an opportunity for them to follow that person or locate their place of residence,” Snook said.
Today, a quick Google search of someone’s full name can yield almost an entire outline of a person’s life and history, including their families.
“Patients have a right to know who is caring for them, but they don’t need to know their full name. They can know their name, position, and organization for which they work,” Snook said.
Snook believes a few patients even stalk or harass employees.
“Sometimes there’s an inappropriate attachment to their nurse that they’ve been working with because they have been working with them, maybe in an inpatient setting or outpatient mental health setting, so they feel dependent upon that person,” said Snook.
UPMC has taken a lead towards protecting employees by making first names visible but last names smaller on ID badges.
In a statement, they said, “We support this bill as it helps protect our employees and is an important piece of workplace safety legislation.