How a special name badge means ‘inclusion’ to a Country Terrace care aide

Jennifer Hamblin says a Christmas-themed badge administrator Karen Dann made for her also helped her get a COVID vaccination

Country Terrace care aide Jennifer Hamblin says the Christmas-themed name badge administrator Karen Dann made for her in December not only made her feel part of a team it also helped ensure she received her COVID-19 vaccination recently.

Jennifer, who joined the Country Terrace team Oct. 1, says wearing an ID badge has always been important in her work life and that she was “elated” when she was handed her name tag and card shortly after being hired.

“It was a personal touch that meant a big deal,” she tells The OMNIway. “Back in 2012, I retired from a career in security. The hardest part was handing over the identity badge. It was as if I handed over a part of myself, never to return.”

A few weeks ago, Jennifer’s badge went through the laundry when she forgot to remove it from a gown. The housekeeping staff found it and returned it to her.

Shortly after, her badge fell out of its plastic sleeve while she was making beds and she was not able to find it, so she had to get a new one.

There was one other name tag Jennifer had: the Christmas-themed badge Karen made for her.

In early December, The OMNIway published a story about how Karen made Christmas-themed name badges for everyone working at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home.

The badges have team members’ first names embossed on a Christmas-themed design. Jennifer’s name tag is a red Santa stocking. Jennifer says receiving her Christmas badge brought her a feeling of inclusion at Country Terrace.

“I realized a lot of work and love went into the preparation of the badge; I even laminated mine with protective clear film,” she says.

“After years of experience and three degrees, what I have learned is what matters the most for me (in a workplace) is that I am included. I felt so blessed to be a part of a wonderful team, despite the challenging circumstances (of the pandemic).”

On Jan. 10, Jennifer went to the vaccination clinic in London, Ont. to be immunized against COVID-19. Since people working in health-care settings are a top priority for the vaccine, she was asked for a work ID.

“I proudly displayed my Christmas badge because that is all I had,” Jennifer says. “I forgot my real ID at home. Luckily for me, the police officer at the door chuckled, and the staff person at registration reassured me that everything would be fine.”

Jennifer showed them a copy of her police reference check she submitted when she was hired at Country Terrace. With her vaccination form and information already completed, she was ushered forward.

“Nevertheless, I wondered what would I have done without my Christmas badge,” Jennifer says.

Having experience teaching, Jennifer says she often finds herself looking for moral lessons to be learned from a given situation.

“In losing my title badge, gaining a Christmas badge (and) forgetting my real ID at home, I pondered what the next lesson in life would be for me,” she says.

“In the meantime, I enjoyed the moment of how a Christmas badge made me feel better about myself and helped me to get ushered through the vaccination process.”

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