Identifying Yourself

April 1, 2007 at 1:50 am 3 comments

It is important to always properly identify to your patients who you are, what your role is in the therapeutic process, and what you plan on doing during that treatment session. Sometimes, however, that just isn’t enough.

I am taking a graduate elective that allows me to have 60 hours of extra clinical time so that I can further gain experience in the setting of my choosing before graduating. I have liked acute care for a while now, and I therefore decided to do another clinical in acute care.

My last day was earlier this week. We went in to see an 80+ year old lady who had been admitted for CHF and also had a diagnosis of dementia. While the patient agreed to let me treat her by walking from her bed to the bathroom to do a toilet transfer, she kept asking me over and over again why I was doing this “procedure.” I explained each time that the doctors wanted to know how safe she was so that she could go home. However, no matter how many times I explained it, she kept asking me about the procedure. Before leaving, she asked that we come back so that we could speak to her daughters.

A few hours later, we went back to her room as requested, and her daughters were now there. Turns out that since I wasn’t wearing a formal identification from the hospital (because I was only there for 60 hours), she thought I was someone from some random nursing home. She was afraid that I was assessing her for a nursing home. No matter how many times I told her that we were occupational therapists, she was still worried.

So even if you identify yourself as an occupational therapist, that isn’t always enough. I think it was great that the patient was cognizant of the fact that all hospital employees should have identification, and that she realized that I wasn’t wearing a hospital ID.


Entry filed under: acute care, CHF, dementia, hospital, identification, occupational therapy, OT.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Abbey  |  April 2, 2007 at 5:36 am

    Interesting. Our school requires us to wear name tags to any event, tour, or field work that we’re assigned to. We’re also required to call the FW site prior to our first arrival to inquire about the dress up code.

    We all need to remember that not all paitents know what Occupational Therapist is and that might cause some more confusion.

  • 2. aishel OT  |  April 5, 2007 at 3:58 am

    Abbey, the issue with this patient was that I wasn’t wearing any hospital ID. But you’re absolutely correct.

  • 3. ~Patti~  |  May 3, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    It’s great to see another OT blog out there! Congrats on being near the end of your grad education… now the fun begins!

    I myself am just getting started in the field. School starts in Sept and I couldn’t be more excited! Please feel free to read my blog if you’re interested.



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