What’s in a name, or in this case a Title?
All regulated health professionals have protected titles. They are listed in the Health Profession Act and usually look something like this:
Use of titles, etc.
2 A regulated member of the Alberta College of Combined Laboratory and X-ray Technologists may, as authorized by the regulations, use any of the following titles, abbreviations and initials:
(a) combined laboratory x-ray technician;
(a.1) combined laboratory x-ray technologist;
In the last several months, issues of inappropriate usage of title (CLXT’s misusing other professional titles) have come to light.
Here are some common questions/comments received when title issues arise:
- What happens when someone else uses a CLXT title or a CLXT uses a different title?
- Is it really that big of deal?
- Does anyone care that I called myself a “lab tech” or “x-ray tech”?
- “Lab Tech” and “X-ray Tech” are not protected titles, so it really should not matter.
- It’s hard to explain what a CLXT is.
First and foremost, there is a risk to patient safety and public protection when you misidentify yourself (with either name, profession or both), as it does not tell the patient/public who is accountable for their care. Patients and the public recognize health professional titles because they indicate a level of competence and fitness to practice.
While the CLX profession is made up of laboratory and DI competencies and CLXT’s work in a lab and/or in x-ray, “lab tech” and “x-ray tech” are common names for two separate and distinct professions. Section 128 (1) of the HPA states:
No person or group of persons shall represent or imply that the person is a regulated member or that the group of persons consists of regulated members unless the person is a regulated member, or the group of persons consists of regulated members.
Using the term “lab tech” or “x-ray tech” implies that you are a member of either of those professions and by extension a registrant of their College. The Act then goes on to say:
A person commits an offence if they use a title protected by the College if they are not registrants of the College at the time of using the title, the HPA further provides that a person who contravenes section 128 is guilty of an offence and liable under s129 as follows:
(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not more than $2000,
(b) for a 2nd offence, to a fine of not more than $4000, and
(c) for a 3rd and every subsequent offence, to a fine of not more than $6000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 6 months or to both fine and imprisonment.
Not only can you be held to account professionally, you may also be fined a significant amount of money.
Finally, it is a privilege to hold a protected title. CLX technology can be called a niche profession; small numbers and not well exposed. If a patient doesn’t understand what a CLXT is, take the time to explain (while you are collecting blood or wheeling a patient down from the ER) what the profession entails and the benefit CLXT’s serve to the public.
The title CLXT is one that a registrant should actively promote and celebrate.