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First name is enough: pass a law to protect healthcare workers

I got into healthcare because I like to help people. As a Registration Receptionist at Chambersburg Hospital, I help people by being lighthearted and calm in an emergent and hard time in patients’ lives. I find great satisfaction in playing this comforting role, but tensions can run high, and I believe we need improvements to keep all caregivers safe. 

IMG_6170 (1)Healthcare workers are four times more likely to experience workplace violence than any other industry. We find ourselves victims of violence, stalking, and harassment by the very people to whom we provide care. Current law requires that we display our first and last names on our badges, which makes it easy for individuals to target us. Luckily, lawmakers in Pennsylvania are considering a bill, HB1880, that would change that.

This bill is important to me because I care about people’s safety. With just my first name, a patient found me on social media minutes after checking them in. The resources that social media gives people is immense and with a full name displayed, anyone’s information can be found. This accessibility makes me feel vulnerable because it makes me more susceptible to violence and stalking. 

lyric lobby day picture resizedThrough my union (SEIU Healthcare PA), I found out about HB1880 and went to Harrisburg to speak with legislators about how important this bill is. My union provides information I need to be a voice to advocate for better, safer hospitals.

I work in the ER, so I have witnessed a lot of violence — whether it be from family or friends of patients, or from behavioral health patients. Day to day, we don’t know what to expect and having our full name on our badges makes us even more vulnerable. I hope that our elected leaders will pass this bill to keep me and my coworkers safer.

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