Calling patients by "pet" names. - page 5

Does this bother anyone else? I'm a student and during clinicals I've often heard young male nurses, techs, and patient transport personnel address women who are old enough to be their mothers (or... Read More

  1. by   Bonnieparker22
    I find it condescending and offensive. I absolutely hate being called "Hun", it really sets my teeth on edge. I am a grown woman and I have a name. In a professional setting I am not your Hun. The thing of it is- not everyone will tell you when it bothers them. Some people just grin and bear it. So I guarantee those of you who do it often have offended someone without knowing it! I usually don't say anything because I think people mean well but I still think it's rude.
  2. by   nehneh14
    We were trained explicitly that you NEVER address a pt. with pet names. Always Mrs., Mr. or first name (with permission). Being overheard calling anyone honey, sweetie etc. was a major no-no. Aside from that, infantilizing adults is really condescending and disrespectful.
  3. by   jdub6
    Quote from Bonnieparker22
    I find it condescending and offensive. I absolutely hate being called "Hun", it really sets my teeth on edge. I am a grown woman and I have a name. In a professional setting I am not your Hun. The thing of it is- not everyone will tell you when it bothers them. Some people just grin and bear it. So I guarantee those of you who do it often have offended someone without knowing it! I usually don't say anything because I think people mean well but I still think it's rude.
    I've done it. I'm sure i have offended some. I've also had plenty of patients ask not to be called by first name, not to be called Mrs/Mr (pt is 96-"Mr Smith was my father!") and I think by far the most common one people take issue with is Sir/Ma'am.

    I am white, from the North, was raised and always lived where overt racism was never tolerated. It never occurred to me that titles could be a race issue until a black female patient-slightly confused-got EXTREMELY offended thinking my calling her Ms X was a name used for servants. She demanded another nurse and be called by first name only.

    As a patient myself in my 20s I found Ms/Ma'am uncomfortably formal and, from the nurses who were my age and friendly and especially those who'd been with me multiple shifts it felt scripted. I was never upset enough to raise it but gratefully accepted "can i just call you First Name?" On the other hand I frequently have patients older than I refer to me as honey/dear/sweetie/love. With nice patients I don't mind, with obnoxious patients its grating.

    There is no title that will please or offend or not offend everyone and it all depends on the relationship also. As the OP was in LTC there is a level of familiarity there that is not always present in other settings (then again e everywhere has frequent fliers whose relationship with staff is different than other patients).
  4. by   OyWithThePoodles
    I'm from the south. Everyone is "hun". At the hospital I will call some patients this, but only after I have "felt them out" to see if it would be appropriate.

    In the school most of my kiddos are babe, bud, or hun. But they are "my" kids.
  5. by   Miiki
    I called a patient potato all weekend. Just keeping y'all updated.
  6. by   jodispamodi
    I always ask my patients what they would like me to call them, if they have dementia I resort to mr/mrs. I actually try to avoid using first names and or informal names unless they request me to.
  7. by   wondern
    Quote from Miiki
    I call my patients all kinds of pet names like stinky butt, fussy pants, peanut, pumpkin, etc. They NEVER complain.
    Love it! I used to call some of my patients sweet things, precious love bugs, lil' fuzz busters, and angel faces...
  8. by   wondern
    Quote from Miiki
    I called a patient potato all weekend. Just keeping y'all updated.

    a little sweet potato?

    You say potato.~ I say potato. ~

    I think it's a regional thing and also depends so much on the tone. Some people make pet names sound so sweet and some can use it snarkily. If used in love and respect I like it.
    Kind of like yes sir and yes ma'am to elders was respectful growing up in the south but in when used in the midwest was looked upon as being kind of smart alecky.
    Last edit by wondern on Oct 7
  9. by   dbabz
    Quote from Garden,RN
    No It' doesn't bother me one bit that nurses are being kind or affectionate to their patients. If the patient doesn't like it he or she will speak. What bothers me is that you aren't minding your own business and for some unknown reason have made yourself the judge. I am sure there are areas in your practice that you could and should be working on. And I don't care if the administrators like it either! I say this both as a nurse and a patient. As a patient, I welcome the humanity and abhor the idea that we are to be like dam robots.
    I can't think of anything that is more pressing business of mine than advocating for patients by ensuring that their dignity is respected. Furthermore, I fail to see how noticing an ongoing cultural phenomenon would detract from other areas of my practice. Finally, if I sound judgmental, I'm not alone....
  10. by   dbabz
    Quote from jdub6
    I've done it. I'm sure i have offended some. I've also had plenty of patients ask not to be called by first name, not to be called Mrs/Mr (pt is 96-"Mr Smith was my father!") and I think by far the most common one people take issue with is Sir/Ma'am.

    I am white, from the North, was raised and always lived where overt racism was never tolerated. It never occurred to me that titles could be a race issue until a black female patient-slightly confused-got EXTREMELY offended thinking my calling her Ms X was a name used for servants. She demanded another nurse and be called by first name only.

    As a patient myself in my 20s I found Ms/Ma'am uncomfortably formal and, from the nurses who were my age and friendly and especially those who'd been with me multiple shifts it felt scripted. I was never upset enough to raise it but gratefully accepted "can i just call you First Name?" On the other hand I frequently have patients older than I refer to me as honey/dear/sweetie/love. With nice patients I don't mind, with obnoxious patients its grating.

    There is no title that will please or offend or not offend everyone and it all depends on the relationship also. As the OP was in LTC there is a level of familiarity there that is not always present in other settings (then again e everywhere has frequent fliers whose relationship with staff is different than other patients).
    Wow! Thanks! I had no idea that Mr./Mrs. was associated with servants in the African American community. I'll keep that in mind going forward.
  11. by   wondern
    Really? You're going to try to turn Mr. and Mrs. into a racial issue? Rather dramatic wouldn't you say? Each race has individual preferences with individual people, minds, etc. Not all African Americans feel that way. That was just one confused lady with one preference. Maybe we should try to ask individuals what they prefer. Stereotyping is not a good thing either.
  12. by   jdub6
    Quote from wondern
    Really? You're going to try to turn Mr. and Mrs. into a racial issue? Rather dramatic wouldn't you say? Each race has individual preferences with individual people, minds, etc. Not all African Americans feel that way. That was just one confused lady with one preference. Maybe we should try to ask individuals what they prefer. Stereotyping is not a good thing either.
    I'm sorry if I implied that this is an issue for all black people or anything like that. My point was that one individual had a very different view than mine and was very offended for reasons I never would have considered. The reason I shared this was to try to make a point that there is no title or name that is guaranteed to work for everyone-each individual has different preferences for reasons that include but are not limited to race and culture.
  13. by   CapeCodMermaid
    I was recently in the ER as a patient. EVERY person who came in my cubicle called me Mermaid. They didn't ask what I preferred. They all just assumed it was okay to call me by my first name. They were all quite a bit younger than I am. I wasn't overly offended...I was in heaps of pain so at that point I probably wouldn't have minded a dear or a hun and....since they were the ones with all the pain medicine I didn't think it a good idea to argue.

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