What is the correct title?

  1. 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. by   Palliative Care, DNP
    Where I work we use our first names with physicians. No big deal to me at all👍
  4. by   roser13
    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.
  5. by   marycarney
    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. by   CodeteamB
    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. by   Mom2boysRN
    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.
  8. by   AnonRNC
    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."
  9. by   Al.ginger
    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
  10. by   SaoirseRN
    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.
  11. by   Redriver
    Thank you everyone for taking the time to answer my question. It helps a lot.
  12. by   nurseprnRN
    Make sure you say, "Hi, GrnTea, good to meet you. I'm Red."
  13. by   hodgieRN
    I know one other way. I see it on the floor...you can say Miss, and their first name. Like " Hey Miss Nicole." Some nurses like that. It's a way of showing respect while also staying on a first name basis. I do that for nurses that have been around awhile.

    As time goes on, and you get to know the nurses, the first name is totally fine. A first name with be fine 99% of the time. If I over heard a lot of other people addressing someone as Miss Nicole, I did it too.

    But like what GrnTea said, it's good to introduce yourself. I hate it when someone that I have never met before comes up on says "So, what's up with this pt?" I don't know if you are a doc or an ortho tech with a lab coat. I end up having to look at the badge to see who they are and what specialty they are in and then, they usually end up having to say who they are, after after a brief awkward moment of looking at badges If I know you are nephrology from the beginning, I can give you the rundown from a nephro standpoint in a quick manner.
  14. by   SaoirseRN
    Quote from hodgieRN
    I know one other way. I see it on the floor...you can say Miss, and their first name. Like " Hey Miss Nicole." Some nurses like that. It's a way of showing respect while also staying on a first name basis. I do that for nurses that have been around awhile.
    I would not like that, actually, so I would not suggest doing that. I honestly just prefer the use of my first name.

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