Scrubs are pajamas. Initially a simple garment to be worn and left in the operating arena, the scrubs are now available in many a color and pattern to be worn by nurses, billing agents, medical assistants, doctors and anyone else in any way associated with physicians.
The fact that most people have no idea the difference between the girl who takes their copays and the nurse that evaluates them, most people assume they are all "nurses."
On a recent trip to the local Brewery/Restaurant I frequent the Pajama Bridage was in full force. In a corner of the bar area, which is open to the maybe 30 table dining area a dozzen or so pajama clad folks were loudly discussing their favorite clients and patients from that week.
I mention loudly because a few of them felt the need to yell patient information over the sound of their laughing friends.
Alcohol was involved, sure, but so was poor judgment.
After watching most of those around me turn to them and scour, I decided to give them a heads up they were not only being rude, but if I knew where they worked, were clearly violating both the letter and intent of HIPAA's current form.
"Hey guys, I hate to interrupt, but you're not only very loud, but I work in the healthcare industry and some of the things you're saying could be considered violation of patient privacy."
"Mind your own business," was he only reply I got from the young lady closest to the man I spoke to, who chose not to even look to me when I spoke.
Returning to my seat, they started up again, laughing, banging the table in hysterics and each trying to outdo the last with tales of "lazy," "ugly," "deformed," "stupid" people they had seen this week.
What upset me the most was that had they said the same things online they would all have been fired, likely because we would then know their names and where they worked.
Then my mind shifted to the uproar and headlines if a group of paramedics in uniform were having the same discussion (sans drinks). Heads would role, careers would come to an end.
But for some reason the pajamas bring with them an aire of respectability, an assumption of a hard working floor nurse who deserves to unwind after a long week. I know from what they were discussing they are likely not even nurses, but technicians and desk clerks, and how would the average person ever know that?
Nurses need to stand up and differentiate themselves from the pajama clad masses who continue to distort the public's image of their profession. Ditch the pajamas and accept something more like what I saw in England, or something from your past, something with some class to it. Something that when you walk in a room I'm not wondering if you just rolled out of bed, but see you as someone who respects their line of work enough to dress the part.
The kids at bar making you look bad look just like you and feel comfortable enough in their pajamas to hit the bar after a long day of supporting your hard work.