Addressing patients? - page 2

Curious. How do you address a patient when you first meet them? And after? I almost always call a patient Mr, Mrs, or Ms, unless it's a child. Unless a patient instructs me to call them by their... Read More

  1. by   hipab4hands
    I address them as Mr./Mrs./Ms., when I first meet a patient.
    If the person tells me they want to addressed as Joe/Mary/etc., then I'll go ahead with thier first name.
  2. by   LeahJet
    Maybe I'm just old school, but I just can not call a 70 year old lady 'Irene' or 'Sadie'. I was brought up to respect my elders. That is just one thing I like about being in the south. Even among co-workers, older people have a Miss or Mr. in front of their names. Like 'Miss Nancy' in environmental services or 'Mr.Ben' in security. I know, it may sound quirky to a lot of people but I think it's very nice.
    I know that manners are not exclusive to the south....but I have lived out west and up north and trust me....there IS a difference.
  3. by   nurse4theplanet
    Quote from LeahJet
    Maybe I'm just old school, but I just can not call a 70 year old lady 'Irene' or 'Sadie'. I was brought up to respect my elders. That is just one thing I like about being in the south. Even among co-workers, older people have a Miss or Mr. in front of their names. Like 'Miss Nancy' in environmental services or 'Mr.Ben' in security. I know, it may sound quirky to a lot of people but I think it's very nice.
    I know that manners are not exclusive to the south....but I have lived out west and up north and trust me....there IS a difference.
    that is so true. I am in the deep south myself and even if I am told to call an elderly pt by there first name, I still say Mr. Ben or Miss Nancy...and yes ma'am and yes sir...just a habit of my upbringing.
  4. by   nurse4theplanet
    my BIG pet peeve is to hear nurses or students refer to a pt as a room number or a diagnosis. I think it is dehumanizing and it doesn't matter if the pt can't hear them. Or when caregivers speak ill about their unconscious pts while in the room and then say...oh she can't hear me/ he's gone, etc.
  5. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    my BIG pet peeve is to hear nurses or students refer to a pt as a room number or a diagnosis. I think it is dehumanizing and it doesn't matter if the pt can't hear them. Or when caregivers speak ill about their unconscious pts while in the room and then say...oh she can't hear me/ he's gone, etc.
    When nurses and family members are speaking in the presence of an unconscious patient, they should always assume that the patient can hear everything that has been said.

    Some patients have angrily recalled their experiences after awakening from lengthy comas. They remembered most, if not all, of the conversations and were angry at the dehumanizing ways in which they were treated.
  6. by   LeahJet
    Quote from TheCommuter
    When nurses and family members are speaking in the presence of an unconscious patient, they should always assume that the patient can hear everything that has been said.
    ohohoh...and I know this is a tad off subject but I HATE it when people laugh/cut up/act silly in a code. Or when the family is coming in to view the body and people are laughing and joking around. sooooo disrespectful.

    ok...back to the addressing pts topic, sorry........
  7. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from LeahJet
    ohohoh...and I know this is a tad off subject but I HATE it when people laugh/cut up/act silly in a code. Or when the family is coming in to view the body and people are laughing and joking around. sooooo disrespectful.

    ok...back to the addressing pts topic, sorry........
    I agree with you. These behaviors are so very annoying.

    I think a few hospital employees have become so jaded to the point that they lose some or all of their sense of empathy. If you lose your ability to empathize with the patient and their loved ones, I personally think you can no longer provide compassionate care.
  8. by   cursenurse
    Quote from James Huffman
    Getting to a first name basis is cool, as long as it's with the patient's permission.

    However ... it's important to remember that intimate personal care is not intimacy. I sometimes think that personal care is all the more reason for maintaining some name boundaries. We're not friends with that individual; they are under our professional care. Keeping that professional aspect of our care is important.

    Jim Huffman, RN

    i agree wholeheartedly. i think the name thing has a lot to do with the lack of respect that many nurses feel they receive from pt's and families. i think that when you get overly personal with the pt, you lose alot of respect. as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. you notice that dr's don't get alot of the disrespect from pt's that nurses often get. i think that nurses often don't take themselves very seriously, so the pt feels they don't have to. we are supossed to be professionals, we are not some hired friend. i take my job and my position seriously, i introduce myself as ms or nurse last name, and i address the pt by last name.
  9. by   bethem
    I don't know whether it's just the hospitals I've been in on clinicals, but everyone refers to people as Mr/Mrs Whatever in handover, and then calls them Joe or Mary in person. We're pretty laid back here.
    I also find that when I am working with dementia patients, they respond better to their first names than their last names, especially ladies who might have changed their surnames in marriage.
  10. by   GPatty
    I go with Mr/Mrs first, then follow my gut instinct.
  11. by   GooeyRN
    Middle aged and above I always use Mr/Mrs unless told otherwise by the patients. Younger I usually use the first name. I try using Mr/Mrs. w/ dementia patients, but I agree that they respond better to first names.
  12. by   GooeyRN
    I use Mr/Mrs on those pts above middle age (unless they request otherwise). I use first names on pts younger than middle aged.
  13. by   Hoozdo
    [QUOTE=GooeyRN I try using Mr/Mrs. w/ dementia patients, but I agree that they respond better to first names.[/QUOTE]

    For patients in comas I always use the first name - it just seems more natural. For any other patient, I first use Mr or Mrs or Ms until they ask me to use their first names.

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