When everybody knows your name - page 3

by 313RN 16,168 Views | 50 Comments

This is something that I wrotte for a class while I was in Nursing School. I came across it again and decided to post it and see what the reaction would be. Fire away, all responses or opionons will be welcomed, none will be... Read More


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    Most of the MDs I know have unlisted phone numbers. There is a low possibility to have someone call you or send flowers to your home.

    An obsession, fixation, etc. can occur from a patient or patient's visitors (family or friends) since we spend more than 12 hours a day with them. Since nurses spend more time in this situation we are more vulnerable than an MD and most nurses do NOT have unlisted phone numbers.

    I would cover my last name up with tape if required to place my last name on my name badge.

    otessa
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    Quote from elkpark
    I have always used my first and last name on my badge, and introduced myself verbally to clients and physicians by my first and last name -- and I've never had a problem come up because of that. I work in psych and have worked in some really rough urban settings (also rural areas where everyone knew who you were and where you lived, regardless of what name you used at work). I've also always called all adult clients "Mr. X" or "Ms. Y" until they ask me to call them something else.

    My mother was an RN long ago, and her opinion is that we've given up a lot of power by going to the first names -- she can't imagine having ever allowed anyone to call her by her first name instead of "Nurse X" in the clinical setting. I've only been called "Nurse X" in one situation, and it wasn't because I asked or expected to be (and, oddly enough, it was by a young physician). I was clinical instructor with a group of students at the state hospital (psych rotation). The psychiatrist on the unit was pretty informal, and all the regular staff called him by his first name (although not in front of the clients). I was not regular staff, was only there a couple days a week, didn't know him well, and, frankly, prefer not to get too chummy with physicians anyway, so I called him "Dr. Y." In return, he called me "Nurse X" -- not in a cold or unfriendly way (we had quite a few interesting, extended conversations during the rotation); not in a snarky or mocking way (he was consistently courteous and respectful toward me); my first name was right there on my badge where he could easily see it; it just seemed v. clear that, from his perspective, he was respecting the boundary I had established (by calling him "Dr. Y") and he wasn't going to cross it without my inviting him to. At first it felt extremely strange to be called "Nurse X," but, as time went on, I got to like it. I would not mind being called "Nurse X" all the time ...

    I agree with my mother completely about this, and felt the same long before she and I ever discussed it. In our society, only children and pets don't have last names -- responsible adults have first and last names. What kind of message does it give to clients when the people standing in their hospital rooms are Dr. Smith, Dr. Jones, Dr. Brown and Susie? The message is that Susie doesn't really matter. Is that really the message we want to send?

    I agree with this. If I can't be Nurse H, then I would like to be addressed as Mrs. H. Changing that would be one step to asserting our power and professionalism but that would take a huge cultural shift. If leadership were willing to attempt something like that, I can guarantee you "we" would fight it all the way.
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    None claimed to have been stalked, threatened or attacked personally.

    When I was a nursing student they had our first and last names on our badge-early 90's.

    Did have a patient that stalked me and several other students-very scary stuff at the age of 20!!

    otessa
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    Quote from Otessa
    Most of the MDs I know have unlisted phone numbers. There is a low possibility to have someone call you or send flowers to your home.

    An obsession, fixation, etc. can occur from a patient or patient's visitors (family or friends) since we spend more than 12 hours a day with them. Since nurses spend more time in this situation we are more vulnerable than an MD and most nurses do NOT have unlisted phone numbers.

    I would cover my last name up with tape if required to place my last name on my name badge.

    otessa

    Otessa, did you know a patient has a right to know who is providing their care? If they want to know who you are, all they have to do is call nursing services and ask who their nurse was; the front office would tell them and not even give you a heads up that they gave out the info. They could also request their medical records and get the information, so really all the cloak and dagger is pointless.
    DolceVita and elkpark like this.
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    Sharon H,

    It is a good thing that I don't provide direct patient care anymore then :-)

    Where is my right to privacy?

    otessa
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    Quote from Otessa
    Sharon H,

    It is a good thing that I don't provide direct patient care anymore then :-)

    Where is my right to privacy?

    otessa

    You have a right to privacy but you work with the public so you don't get to be anonymous.

    But speaking of privacy, in Georgia, they publish our home addresses. Talk about feeling vulnerable. It's one thing to know my last name, another to know where I live with my family. I guess I could get a P.O. Box but why should I have to? So I understand your feelings of vulnerability completely.
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    Quote from SharonH, RN
    You have a right to privacy but you work with the public so you don't get to be anonymous.

    But speaking of privacy, in Georgia, they publish our home addresses. Talk about feeling vulnerable. It's one thing to know my last name, another to know where I live with my family. I guess I could get a P.O. Box but why should I have to? So I understand your feelings of vulnerability completely.
    Oh my! They publish your home addresses!

    When we release information about a patient we need to get permission. Seems like the right thing to do would reciprocate for healthcare staff information but if it isn't the law then it won't happen.

    otessa
    BusyMe likes this.
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    Quote from Otessa
    Oh my! They publish your home addresses!

    When we release information about a patient we need to get permission. Seems like the right thing to do would reciprocate for healthcare staff information but if it isn't the law then it won't happen.

    otessa
    I feel as if it is an invasion of privacy, publicizing your address. As others have stated, being on a first-name basis gives nurses the opportunity to have a more personal relationship with clents/patients. I don't feel that it is the least bit demeaning, although if a patient "prefers" to be called Mr. Donovan, rather than Bob, that is there right as well. The majority of my healthcare time has been spent in LTC, I never met one patient who didn't prefer being called by their first names. If a patient wants to know my last name, I'm happy providing it. Of course, I've never dealt with a "stalker" client though. Honestly though, I don't put doctors on pedestals either. They simply have a profession. Those who are insulted by folks who don't use Dr. ______ seem a bit pompous. To me, it's like a preacher who "expects" respect because of their profession and insists upon being known as Pastor _______.

    A person shouldn't go into a helping profession because they want to be looked upon with awe, due to their title. They should be going into a helping profession because they truly care about people, want to touch bases with them on a very personal level. Pompous sounding titles can get in the way. The care you deliver to your clients/patients is what gets you respect.....not your title. Just my HO.
    twinpumpkin and Otessa like this.
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    I think a lot of this depends on where you are. In the small town hospital I work in most of my patients get highly offended when I call them Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. I try to address people by their preferred means. When in doubt, ask.

    On the other hand, the my wife has given up on trying to get the staff at the center where she does dialysis to call her by her first name. They insist on Mrs. "T" in spite of her repeated objections. I have tried to get them to call me by my first name as well with no luck.
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    first of all, great feedback and discussion everyone! i love all the comments and following the discussion. thanks to everyone who contributed.

    just to kind of clarify my position, i have no problem with allowing my patients to call me by my first name. but i also want them to know my last name, too. i introduce myself by saying "i'm joe blow, and i'll be your nurse for the next x hours". they're free to call me joe, nurse, nurse joe, or mr. blow; whatever they prefer. frankly, i like my patients to use my first name.

    i ask patients what they like to be called. if it's jane doe, i'll call her jane, jd, mrs. doe or dr. doe at her request.

    what i prefer though, is that when i'm in a patientís room with the md, that i be addressed in the same way the md prefers to be addressed. that's really where i have my issue. if i have to call him dr. smith, then i prefer he call me either nurse blow or mr. blow. if the doc calls me joe, then i call him john. thatís kind of the intended crux of my attorney/judge example.

    if the doctors treat us (and we treat ourselves) like professionals we are, i believe it will eventually start to rub off on the general public.


    Quote from elkpark

    i agree with my mother completely about this, and felt the same long before she and i ever discussed it. in our society, only children and pets don't have last names -- responsible adults have first and last names. what kind of message does it give to clients when the people standing in their hospital rooms are dr. smith, dr. jones, dr. brown and susie? the message is that susie doesn't really matter. is that really the message we want to send?


    i really like the above quote because it gets to the heart of the matter.
    DolceVita, Meriwhen, elkpark, and 1 other like this.


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