Patients or Clients?

  1. 1
    I got an interview today at a teaching hospital in a step down unit. They asked me if its better to call them clients instead of patients? Odd question. What do you guys think?
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 37 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    Personally, I despise calling them clients. However, when I am teaching clinicals I am supposed to teach students to say clients.
    VivaLasViejas, RNFiona, Esme12, and 2 others like this.
  5. 8
    I call all my patients "patients". Especially in the hospital.
    VivaLasViejas, arl50, MauraRN, and 5 others like this.
  6. 9
    I call them patients. I'm a rebel.
    VivaLasViejas, MauraRN, BrandonLPN, and 6 others like this.
  7. 21
    They are patients. In a few settings, such as outpatient mental health, patient do prefer to be called clients, but for the most part patients find the term offensive if they have a view either way.

    This came from an ANA recommendation from one of their committees, they admit it wasn't very well thought out and they reversed their position then next time this committee was convened, but by then the damage was done, every Nursing school in the country had already latched onto it as the next big thing.

    There have been survey's on the topic, and not surprisingly, patients don't like the term because it implies that they are a participant in a financial or business relationship, rather than a participant in a therapeutic relationship which is what the term "patient" implies.

    As it turns out, patients like to feel like they are seen as someone needing care, rather than a billable source of cash.
    Jcat117, Marisette, workingharder, and 18 others like this.
  8. 1
    When I was in nursing school in the 1980's, we had to call them "clients." I thought that everybody had changed it back to "patients?" I haven't heard anyone being called clients in a long time; we refer to them as patients at my current hospital.
    MauraRN likes this.
  9. 8
    Patients and victims (if trauma). Death to PC!
    joeb1, VivaLasViejas, PMFB-RN, and 5 others like this.
  10. 2
    I've been using "client" since I started in nursing in the early '80s. I'm in psych, which, in large part, has moved on from "client" to "consumer" (I flatly refuse to use "consumer" -- sounds like we're at Wal-Mart). I work in C&L, in the general hospital setting, and most everyone else uses "patient," but I still use "client."
    sharpeimom and MauraRN like this.
  11. 6
    I was taught "client" in school, but since then, I have picked up that:
    Hospitalized people=patients
    elective outpatient type stuff = clients
    people in long-term care = residents
  12. 2
    You're right, strange question.

    In the interview setting, the answer would be, how do refer to them here at XXX facility?

    Good luck , keep us posted.
    MauraRN and fetch like this.


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