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Are patients confused about what to call NP's?

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by epiphany epiphany (Member)

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As future CNM, and possible FNP, I was wondering how patients address you? You are not a Dr., but you taking the same role. You're not playing to traditional hospital nurse role. So, my question, is how do you introduce yourself? What do you expect to be called by the patient?

I'm curious.

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Gompers is a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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In my experience, they are just called by their first names, same as nurses. I work in an intensive care unit with nurse practitioners who have most of the same responsibilities as the doctors.

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

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epiphany said:
As future CNM, and possible FNP, I was wondering how patients address you? You are not a Dr., but you taking the same role. You're not playing to traditional hospital nurse role. So, my question, is how do you introduce yourself? What do you expect to be called by the patient?

I'm curious.

My patients usually address me as "Mrs. (first name) or Mrs. (last name)".

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siri said:
My patients usually address me as "Mrs. (first name) or Mrs. (last name)".

This is a great idea, not only for NPs, but for all nurses! Although I think that a nurse must be comfortable being called any name, nurses are certainly not doing themselves a favor by introducing by first names only. How many physicians or other health care professionals introduce themselves by only their first name? "Hi, I'm Bob, your neurologist." That just doesn't happen very often. In order to be recognized as a professional, you have to present yourself as one.

Even though I am still a student, I always introduce myself as Ms. (last name) and tell the patient I am a nursing student. I then go on to state that they can call me Ms. (last name) or by my first name, whatever the patient is comfortable with. At this point, I ask the patient how he or she would like to be addressed.

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

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katyosu2006 said:
This is a great idea, not only for NPs, but for all nurses! Although I think that a nurse must be comfortable being called any name, nurses are certainly not doing themselves a favor by introducing by first names only. How many physicians or other health care professionals introduce themselves by only their first name? "Hi, I'm Bob, your neurologist." That just doesn't happen very often. In order to be recognized as a professional, you have to present yourself as one.

Even though I am still a student, I always introduce myself as Ms. (last name) and tell the patient I am a nursing student. I then go on to state that they can call me Ms. (last name) or by my first name, whatever the patient is comfortable with. At this point, I ask the patient how he or she would like to be addressed.

To elaborate more on why I do this........My patients are normally confused as to whether I am the physician or not. This helps to clarify that I am not. It also commands some respect from the employees with whom I am associated. They refer to me as Mrs. (last name) and this helps to demystify my position with patients. The physician's nurse says, "Dr. so and so will see you now". My nurse says, "Mrs. (last name) will see you now." Helps to show a little respect all around.

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siri said:
To elaborate more on why I do this........My patients are normally confused as to whether I am the physician or not. This helps to clarify that I am not. It also commands some respect from the employees with whom I am associated. They refer to me as Mrs. (last name) and this helps to demystify my position with patients. The physician's nurse says, "Dr. so and so will see you now". My nurse says, "Mrs. (last name) will see you now." Helps to show a little respect all around.

I like that approach, although I have to get used to a title. I am used to introducing myself by my first name. To follow up,as an NP, do you ever have to explain to a patient who asks, what your role is?

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

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epiphany said:
I like that approach, although I have to get used to a title. I am used to introducing myself by my first name. To follow up,as an NP, do you ever have to explain to a patient who asks, what your role is?

Oh, goodness.......MANY times if not daily. In my practice, I am called many things and some not so good...... :wink2:

But, seriously, the patients do have difficulty with the NP role and it is up to me to educate them. At first, I did have problems acclimating them to the role, but, with time, this has become much easier.

Still........the ones that address me as the Nurse Beautician.........that just slays me!!!!! :D

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siri said:
Oh, goodness.......MANY times if not daily. In my practice, I am called many things and some not so good...... :wink2:

But, seriously, the patients do have difficulty with the NP role and it is up to me to educate them. At first, I did have problems acclimating them to the role, but, with time, this has become much easier.

Still........the ones that address me as the Nurse Beautician.........that just slays me!!!!! :D

Yeah I can imagine that many patients probaly get confused with the roles of NP's and PA's and insist on seeing a Dr. instead. You probaly get asked if your a Dr. or a Nurse a lot i'm sure?

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

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Joebird21 said:
Yeah I can imagine that many patients probaly get confused with the roles of NP's and PA's and insist on seeing a Dr. instead. You probaly get asked if your a Dr. or a Nurse a lot i'm sure?

Many, many times.

You need to do a search for that topic in the Male Nurse forum. Good discussion regarding this very thing. I think you would enjoy reading the comments.

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mdcastrornp has 18 years experience.

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I just needed to comment on this. I have been working at an Ambulatory Care/ FP/Urgent Care for the past 5 years now. Been working with PAs and NPs and they are all great! We love them to death. Except for one NP in partcular whom everybody has been calling Nurse C. All of a sudden, she printed out a memo for everyone (MDs, RNs, MAs, LVNs) to call her Nurse Practitioner C, instead of "just Nurse C." A week after that memo, probably due to force of habit, I wrote down "pt to see Nurse C tomorrow as advised by me, RN" - she just went nuts and announced to everyone how she felt disrespected - that everyone, even in writing has to write her name down as Nurse Practitioner C, and not just Nurse C. I apologized but I felt humiliated since then, since she kept on repeating my offense, my name, the situation, etc. :o

Anyway, to make a long story short, everyone started calling her Nurse Practitioner C (some even use it as tongue-twister), while the other NPs are happy to be called Ms or Mr or NP (or course, understandably).

I've just started my post Master's NP program and I hope that I don't get that strict on titles. I know I worked hard for the title but that will not give me the right to humiliate a fellow RN on overhead microphone and countless meetings, memos and write-ups.

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

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castrorn said:
I just needed to comment on this. I have been working at an Ambulatory Care/ FP/Urgent Care for the past 5 years now. Been working with PAs and NPs and they are all great! We love them to death. Except for one NP in partcular whom everybody has been calling Nurse C. All of a sudden, she printed out a memo for everyone (MDs, RNs, MAs, LVNs) to call her Nurse Practitioner C, instead of "just Nurse C." A week after that memo, probably due to force of habit, I wrote down "pt to see Nurse C tomorrow as advised by me, RN" - she just went nuts and announced to everyone how she felt disrespected - that everyone, even in writing has to write her name down as Nurse Practitioner C, and not just Nurse C. I apologized but I felt humiliated since then, since she kept on repeating my offense, my name, the situation, etc. :o

Anyway, to make a long story short, everyone started calling her Nurse Practitioner C (some even use it as tongue-twister), while the other NPs are happy to be called Ms or Mr or NP (or course, understandably).

I've just started my post Master's NP program and I hope that I don't get that strict on titles. I know I worked hard for the title but that will not give me the right to humiliate a fellow RN on overhead microphone and countless meetings, memos and write-ups.

Sounds like this particular NP had/has a crisis in identity.

Yes, she was most disrespectful. Uncalled for......I am so sorry you were humiliated.......she should apologize to all of you.

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I require the staff at my facility to address all of the NP's as "nurse practitioner_______." I also introduce myself in the same manner to my patients.

I feel that this technique is valuable because my patients immediately know who and what I am. I don't have to waste valuable diagnostic time explaining that I am not a physician.

Nurse practitioners often remain in the shadows with no identity because patients either think that the NP is a physician or a floor nurse. When one identifies himself immediately as a NP it provides ample opportunity to educate the pt on the profession and the benefits of being seen by a NP.

No identity crisis here....I want my patients to know exactly who is providing their healthcare.

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