How do you introduce yourself to patients? First name? Mr/Ms/Mrs X?

  1. I was just reading a book on nursing and our introductions to our patients. It brought up an interesting point. Physicians usually introduce themselves as Dr. Xyz but most nurses usually introduce ourselves by our first names these days. I'm curious, what do you do? And what if we (professional nurses that we are, mind you) were to introduce ourselves as such: "Hi Mr/Ms Smith. I'm nurse Xyz' or 'I'm Mrs. Abc and I'm an RN. I'll be with you until 0700.' I think instead of writing just my first name on the board from now on, I might be inclined to write my full name and credential. Not to be puffy or haughty, but to show my patient who I am and to perhaps work toward minimizing the professional inequality. Something to think about...
    •  
  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   RunnerRN2015
    Our whiteboards in each room say "Your nurse is " and "Your nursing assistant is ". We put our first names and ASCOM number. Works for us!
  4. by   Do-over
    I say, "My name is Do-over, and I'll be your nurse today. If you need anything, press your call button, call my phone, or holler 'hey Do-over'. I also answer to 'nurse', 'hey you', and 'help!'." On the whiteboard, I'll usually write "Do-Over, RN x1234"

    My last name is a long, eastern-european mouthful. Even when I taught swimming to young kids, or helped my mom with the pre-schoolers, I was alway Miss FirstName - the last name was too much =)
  5. by   prettymica
    Hello, I am Nurse Last Name. Most cant pronounce my first name and I get tired of talking about its uniqueness and origin
  6. by   NurseKatie08
    I introduce myself with my first name "Hi, I'm Katie and I'll be your nurse until 2300."
  7. by   TheCommuter
    I use the following script: "Hello! My name is ______ and I will be your nurse this evening."

    Since the average age of my patient population is 60 years old, I always refer to them as 'Mr.' ___ or 'Mrs.' ___ unless someone specifically says, "Call me William!"
  8. by   SaoirseRN
    I say, "Good morning/evening, I'm Saoirse and I'm your nurse today/tonight. What would you like me to call you?"
  9. by   akulahawkRN
    Quote from SaoirseRN
    I say, "Good morning/evening, I'm Saoirse and I'm your nurse today/tonight. What would you like me to call you?"
    I have used a variation of that line for quite a few years. It usually puts the patient at ease and gives them a sense of control, where they often don't feel like they have much.
  10. by   elkpark
    I call clients Mr. or Ms. Last Name regardless of whether they invite me to call them something else (unless the client is a teenager). I introduce myself by my first and last name ("Hello, I'm (Jane Doe) from psychiatry") and have both on my badge.

    I agree that the whole "Dr. Smith, Dr. Brown, Dr. Jones, and Susie" issue is a problem for nursing -- we are voluntarily giving up power and status with this (to me) ridiculous fondness for first names and informality (my mother was an RN before I was born, and she can't believe nurses nowadays are dumb enough (in her view) to allow anyone to call them by their first names -- when she was practicing, if a physician had dared to call a nurse by her/his first name, the physician would have been reported to the DON and reprimanded). I don't correct people who call me by my first name, but a couple of the psychiatrists on our service, when we are seeing someone together, introduce us as, "I'm Dr. ABC and this is Ms. XYZ, and we're from psychiatry" and I really appreciate that.

    I've been in only one situation over my career in which someone called me 'Nurse XYZ" (ironically, it was a young physician, fresh out of his residency, not some old-timer who was used to this from the old days) -- I called him Dr. ABC, even though all the regular staff on the unit called him by his first name, because a) I didn't know him well (I was a nursing instructor bringing students to the unit twice a week; I didn't work there) and b) frankly, I prefer to keep most physicians at "arms' length" and not get too chummy with them, and he made it clear that he was simply, politely respecting the boundary I had set; if I was going to call him Dr. ABC, then he was going to call me Nurse XYZ. It felt really weird for the first few weeks, but, as time went on, I got to like it. I would be happy to be addressed as "Nurse XYZ" on a regular basis -- but I certainly know better than to actually ask to be addressed that way, haha ...
  11. by   limaRN
    I never give out my last name to pts at work for a safety issue. We have had pts and pts family memers contact nurses at home to harass/ ask them out on a date. I do not have my name on my badge and do not tell pts or their families if they ask. Just something to think about... I say, "I am limaRN and I will be you nurse tonight until 0700."
  12. by   psu_213
    I still don't believe that a pt knowing my last name is a safety issue, but that is a different thread.

    I go in and say "Hi. I'm [first name], and I am going to be your nurse." While I am not afraid of the patient knowing my last name (except in certain circumstances, like psych), I don't really see it adding to the therapeutic relationship.
  13. by   SionainnRN
    Quote from Do-over
    I say, "My name is Do-over, and I'll be your nurse today. If you need anything, press your call button, call my phone, or holler 'hey Do-over'. I also answer to 'nurse', 'hey you', and 'help!'." On the whiteboard, I'll usually write "Do-Over, RN x1234"

    My last name is a long, eastern-european mouthful. Even when I taught swimming to young kids, or helped my mom with the pre-schoolers, I was alway Miss FirstName - the last name was too much =)
    Mine is "Hi I'm Sionainn I'll be your nurse etc etc I also respond to hey-you." That usually makes them smile. Although I have to say, working in an ER I hardly remember my patients names and it always makes me feel badly when they use my name.
  14. by   uRNmyway
    Like other posters, I always refer to my patients as Mr/Ms/Mrs So-and-so. Even when they ask me to call them by their first name, it feels strange and I rarely do. Only exception is with kids. With teenagers I will start off calling them Mr/Ms, if they ask me to use their first name I do. Someone around my age, same as teenagers I guess. Not only did my parents raise me to always refer to my elders as Mr/Ms, its also something that was beat into my head in nursing school. I think it just keeps a boundary there, 'I can be friendly, but I am still your nurse, and you are still my patient'. Know what I mean?

close