What is the correct title?

  1. 7
    Hello, I am a medical student about to graduate and start residency, and I have a question. I always felt it was rude for doctors to call a nurse by their first name, and before I start residency at a new hospital I wanted to ask what the proper title is for an RN? Should I say "Nurse Smith?" or "Mr/Mrs Smith?" or something else? Its also frustrating to me that a lot of hospitals only display people's first name on their name badge, in this case would it be dumb to call someone Mr/Mrs/Ms John/Cindy etc .. or Nurse Cindy/John? I hate walking up to someone I don't know and calling them by their first name. I wanted to know if there was any convention in this case, and apart from that, what is the general nursing opinion. Thank you, and I'm sorry if I posted this in the wrong section.

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  2. 47 Comments...

  3. 1
    Where I work we use our first names with physicians. No big deal to me at all👍
    nrsang97 likes this.
  4. 8
    Thanks for asking! In this day and age, no one really addresses nurses by the title "Nurse." Everyone goes by first names. Personally, I have always been most bothered by the advanced practice nurses (some of whom have their doctorates in nursing) not having any type of title.

    But on the floor, we're just Sally or Joe or Judy. Simply by asking this, I have a hunch that you're going to do just fine. Continue to hold an attitude of respect towards all health professionals, while keeping in mind that you will run across the good, the bad and the ugly at each and every level.
    llg, blondy2061h, poppycat, and 5 others like this.
  5. 0
    I for one appreciate your thoughtfulness. In my PICU- we operate by first names, whether RN, attending or resident. But - to the patients we are 'Nurse Mary' and 'Doctor Bob'. With only first names on nametages, I think the 'Nurse Mary' approach would be proper and understandable to all.
  6. 0
    Call me B, that's totally ok, and I'll call you by your first name too. If you feel awkward about this a good way might be to introduce yourself "hi! I'm (insert first name)" just as you would out in the world or if we were working together at the qwik-e-mart. I don't see the need to stand on ceremony with my colleagues.
  7. 2
    First name is fine, I'd feel strange being addressed as "Nurse___________" I just like it when doctors have respect for me and the work that I do for our patients.
    poppycat and VivaLasViejas like this.
  8. 1
    When we get a new attending, I say, "Hi, I'm Anon. I'm concered about Patient Smith who has...blah, blah, blah." The best attendings respond, "Hi Anon! I'm Joe. Let's do these things for Patient Smith: etc."
    SummitRN likes this.
  9. 3
    for me first name is OK. Just don't call me "honey, sweetie, honey pie" I have a pt. how does that all the time and I seriously want to kill her sometimes. agggrrrrr
    llg, prmenrs, and Esme12 like this.
  10. 4
    I appreciate you asking!

    Where I work, we only have first names on our tags, so most physicians don't know our last names. The one who does is a friend outside of work and only calls me Nurse Lastname when he's being cheeky.

    Some physicians don't bother to use names, just a generic "nurse", which I do not like in most cases. I don't expect all the doctors to remember my name every time, especially if I don't know them well or see them often, but there is nothing wrong with asking.

    So, yes, I appreciate a physician who makes a point of learning and using my name, and first names are perfectly fine by me.

    Congratulations on completing med school and good luck with your residency. I think the nurses you'll be working with will be glad to have you.
    SC_RNDude, VivaLasViejas, Esme12, and 1 other like this.
  11. 7
    Thank you everyone for taking the time to answer my question. It helps a lot.
    sallyrnrrt, SummitRN, Miss Lizzie, and 4 others like this.

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