Lesson 4: Eschewing Labeling

Fran Greesonformer Director of Pediatric Oncology Social Work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, points to the problem of labels leading to compromised care, “Labeling can become a real issue when dealing with a dysfunctional parent/caregiver or a patient who acts out. Labels diminish the humanity of the parent/caregiver or parent.” When staff members dehumanize and objectify a child by placing a label on her, they risk the danger of minimizing real needs and concerns that the child may be experiencing: “24A is probably just crying wolf again. I’ll check on the little crybaby later.” Labeling can result in inadequate care.

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