ID Card Paranoia

A minor crisis threatened when someone proposed, in the name of enhancing accountability,  that an RN’s ID tag ought to read initial (or first name), full last name, RN. That is “A. Nurse RN” or “Annie Nurse RN” instead of “Annie N. RN” which is currently done.

From the uproar, you would have thought Management was sacrificing children on the hospital roof to the God of Fiscal Responsibility. Up went the moan from the female nurses — the guys didn’t seem bothered one way or the other —  “People will know our names! And track us down and murder us in our sleep! Or Worse!”


When I write  “Really” in its own paragraph, you have to imagine a slightly sarcastic tone, and me rolling my eyes.

In point of fact, all of our names are available in the Public Register at the College of Nurses website. And if someone was truly interested and determined in stalking a nurse — even a middle-aged, boobs-sagging and I-can’t-be-bothered-dye-my-hair nurse — then he/she’s probably going to follow you home anyway. Are there any actual cases of a nurse being stalked because the stalker learned her full name from an ID tag? Or is this just a paranoid fantasy?

I concede the nurse/ID card/stalker scenario is theoretically possible. It is also theoretically possible a meteor will slam through the roof, killing and maiming dozens, and yet there are no outraged cries for meteor-proof roofs, are there?

The issue has probably more to do with how nurses value themselves and imagine their profession. How many female physicians’ name tags, after all, read “Suzie P. MD”?


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  1. #1 by nat on Thursday 06 May 2010 - 1510

    so many smiles from this series of blog items today…love them all. You have a gift!

  2. #3 by R. May on Thursday 06 May 2010 - 1552

    I can’t think of ANY other profession (not job) where you address someone by their first name. Crazy that people would be against it. And really there are usually lost of people with the first initial A. last name nurse. They already know where you work – they dont need your full name to stalk you.

  3. #4 by Maha on Friday 07 May 2010 - 1114

    Agreed. Some nurses at work give me shit for not covering up my full name on my ID tag and going by an easily forgettable nickname. I feel that it’s totally misleading because if I were having needles poked into me and being given very important medications, I would want to know the name of the person doing so. Having said that, I did have a patient try to add me on facebook. He was ignored.

  4. #5 by deBeauxOs on Friday 07 May 2010 - 1128

    It would be interesting to find out if the RNs who protested most loudly have accountability issues vis-à-vis their nurse colleagues, patients, professional requirements, etc.

  5. #6 by DreamingTree on Saturday 08 May 2010 - 1417

    We have our full name on our ID tags, and it never occurred to me to care. Crazy people exist,crazy shit happens.

  6. #7 by A Nurse on Sunday 09 May 2010 - 0609

    actually, I DID have a patient look me up in the phonebook when I was just starting out with my career…..he would phone me up and not tell me who he was except he was once a patient of mine. He was creepy. This went on for a long time, but this was before you could complain about such a thing. It freaked me out so badly, I changed my phone number and moved. I always was unlisted after that. Plus wouldn’t use my last name on my name tag. Today, you don’t necessarily have to have a listed number in the phone book and definitely cell phones aren’t listed. My name doesn’t come up in the college registry unless you know my last name and can enter it. Yes, they may know where I work, but I take precautions and so does my workplace.
    There are many ways that someone can find out where you live despite, but I am just not willing to make it easy for them. Besides, I have worked in psych and in prison, which really make me uncomfortable about giving out my last name.
    As for patients calling me by my first name, I don’t really care. I wouldn’t say that I value myself or my profession less because of that. I think it is a personal choice….one that should be allowed without judgement.

  7. #8 by Teri on Friday 08 October 2010 - 0732

    I was just searching for a website to order a name tag for my new (2nd) job in a Dental Surgeon’s office.

    Yes, I am paranoid.

    Yes, I have had a patient in the Emergency Room track me down because my last name was on my badge. He said he went through all the yellow pages of all the towns surrounding the hospital until he found me. When I complained to Human Resources all employees had their last names removed. Apparently the wives of police officers had been asking for it too.

    Yes, 5 years later one of our doctors was shot in a parking lot in the Mall from one of her patients that use to stalk her. He had even done time in jail for it prior to this incident. Oh well, he shot her and then himself. Can’t remember exactly what year it was, and if your the fanatic that doesn’t believe things like this happens and we are all paranoid….but check out murder doctor Columbia, Tennessee.

    Considering the rise in home invasions and assaults on nurses in the ER and hearing the drug crazed, “I’m going to find you and kill you” from the drug seeker in Triage. I say, “HELL TO THE YEAH” don’t put my last name on my name badge.

    Oh, and by the way. The 2nd tag for the Dental Office will not have my last name on it either.

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