Representation Hurts the Profession
A couple of weeks ago I was in a doctor's office and the young lady who took my history and checked my vitals introduced herself as "Dr O's nurse." I noticed her name badge read "RMA"-registered medical assistant. She was professional, competent and very friendly, but I wondered why she would represent herself as a nurse, when she clearly was not.
In the laboratory, the individual whom the customer (patient, public, doctor, nurse) most often sees-or speaks to first on the phone-is not a clinical laboratory scientist (CLS) or CLT, but a phlebotomist or customer service representative.
I have overheard such individuals overtly misrepresent themselves as a "lab technician," or at least not correct others who assume they are clinical laboratorians. It does a dis-service to the profession and the customer if those we serve receive or act on incorrect or incomplete information from someone they presume to be a CLS.
I think it also damages our image as a profession long-term when we let others in healthcare assume everyone who is associated with clinical lab science is a "lab tech" or can be accurately lumped together as "the lab."
In some states, at least it is illegal for a non-nurse to represent him or herself as a nurse. In most settings, registered nurses insist on making clear the difference in expertise, education and scope between registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs).
While there might be a degree of elitism in that move, it is a very legitimate distinction that can only help patients, doctors and the profession itself. I see distinct similarities in clinical lab science.