Calling a Patient 'Sugar': Abuse?

Nurses Relations


You are reading page 2 of Calling a Patient 'Sugar': Abuse?

Turd Ferguson

455 Posts

"Abuse" has lost its meaning from overuse and inappropriate use.

Can't anyone just be "offended" anymore?

Dangit, this is AMERICA! If you're not happy you're supposed to sue somebody.


658 Posts

Specializes in Professional Development Specialist.
Dangit, this is AMERICA! If you're not happy you're supposed to sue somebody.

:lol2: I think they said it was my duty as an American to sue if I wasn't happy.

Abuse is (or SHOULD BE) a strong word. Let's not water it down for those actually suffering at the hands of their caregivers by calling using terms like "sugar" abuse. It makes it easier to ignore elder abuse if the general public believes when the news says abuse they might mean calling a 95 yo woman sugar. Because "abuse" might really mean sexual or physical assault and that shouldn't be ignored or justified.

When I worked the LTC unit I admit to being guilty of "honey" or "sweetie" on occasion. Now I tend to say "Ms. X" But when you have worked in a person's home for 10+ years (ie- LTC is their home) Ms. X feels overly formal.

healthstar, BSN, RN

1 Article; 944 Posts

I call my friends honey, love, darling all the time but I will NEVER call a patient honey, darling etc. Patients can misunderstand these words and I just want to remain professional. But I don't think calling a patient sweetie= abuse


8,343 Posts

Bless your hearts. Y'all better never get sick up north here in Canada. Luv, dear, sweetie. All in constant use. Never had a patient complain about it either.

healthstar, BSN, RN

1 Article; 944 Posts

"Abuse" has lost its meaning from overuse and inappropriate use.

Can't anyone just be "offended" anymore?

lol, I use the word offended a lot, I think it's a European thing. I agree with what you said :)

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

4 Articles; 7,907 Posts

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.
At my current workplace there are quite a few people being addressed as Papa Lastname and Mama Soandso, and they seem to prefer that to Mr./Mrs. or Sir/Ma'am.

And if that's what they prefer to be called, then there's no problem.

I agree with everyone: calling someone "Sugar" is not abuse. It's not necessarily appropriate though.

Mind you, if the patient's name is Sugar and likes to go by his/her first name, you're all set...and I would not be surprised if there is someone legally named Sugar nowadays :)

Specializes in cardiac-telemetry, hospice, ICU.

Don't take 'dear' away from me, because I won't be able to communicate.


122 Posts

Specializes in stepdown RN.

I usually call elderly patients "hon", I had an elderly pt the other day that asked to be called Mrs. "Smith" and I had such a habit of calling pt.'s "hon" that I kept calling her that. I kept apologizing for it but was just hard to break the habit. I definitely didn't do it to be disrespectful.

Specializes in PICU, ICU, Hospice, Mgmt, DON.

I worked for years in PICU...all of my patients were "sweetie and honey"...and I gave them plenty of hugs and kisses!:)

As far as adults...well, I have been guilty of "dear", once and awhile and I haven't had any complaints. I do live in the south, so maybe that has something to with it. I personally would not be offended if someone called me dear, or even sugar or honey. I would rather be called that by someone who was warm and pleasant, then Mrs...and I don't like to be called by my first name by someone I don't know, especially when it's a situation where I have just met them and they use it in a condecending manner, as if they have known me for a long time.

This was an interesting question when I thought about how I would like to be addressed if I were a patient in the hospital (I had never thought about that before)....I think I would rather like to be called a term of endearment....somehow I think it would make me feel better.

Specializes in LTC.

Oh please !!! The residents call me sweetie, sometimes I'd call them sweetie if they like to be called such.

Give me a break here. We got bigger fish to fry. What is abuse is not enough staff which contributes to the neglect.

Now THAT is abuse.


575 Posts

Specializes in LTC Family Practice.

LOL... well let's see down here in the south "shug (pronounced "shuuug"), sweets, hon" and whole plethera of other endearments are the norm in and out of a SNF or ASL. I hear it at the grocery's a southern thaing. I generally go with Mizzz Soandso for the woman and Mista Soandso for the men. Of course you have to wrap that up with some serious magnolia mouth to pull it off.

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 2,543 Posts

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

If one more patient addresses me as "shugah" or "honey", I am going to SUE!

Oh wait. That's not offensive enough to sue over.

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