Does being addressed as “Nurse” annoy anyone?

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by DoubleblessedRN DoubleblessedRN, ADN, RN, EMT-B, EMT-P Member Nurse

Specializes in cardiology, psychiatry, corrections. Has 14 years experience.

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I’ve been a nurse for 14 years now, but this hasn’t occurred much up until the past few years.  I work in a psychiatric hospital, and patients often address me as “Nurse.”  It happens in all kinds of different scenarios: requesting a PRN med; going over the other staff’s heads to try to get what they want when another staff member denies a request against policy; one time a patient had a minor altercation with another patient, and the patient shouted “Nurse!  Johnny’s blocking the TV!”  It really annoys me.  I find this synonymous to a toddler addressing their nursery school teacher as “Teacher” as opposed to “Miss (surname)”  I have often told them “I have a name, and it’s not nurse.”  Thoughts?

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,043 Posts

It doesn't annoy me at all.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience. 142 Articles; 9,977 Posts

I was honored to be called “Nurse”. I had worked long and hard to earn that title and it didn’t bother me at all when patients/families/doctors couldn’t remember my name. (Well, it did bug me a little when the hospitalists with whom I worked forgot to call me by my name, but this didn’t happen very often.) On the other hand, there was a resident in one of my assisted living facilities who called me “Doc”. I gently reminded him several times that I was a nurse, not an MD, but his reasoning was that I was the closest thing to a doctor that they had there and so Doc I became and Doc I remained until I left that job. 😊

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,640 Posts

I too work in psych where patients don't always have the ability to express their needs. I don't think being called Nurse bothers me one bit. The past five years I have worked with adolescents and they usually call me by my first name. If they new my last name they could Google my house which I don't want.

Hppy

Wuzzie

4,864 Posts

I prefer "nurse" to the myriad of other things I've been called by patients. Most of them not allowed here per TOS. 🤷‍♀️

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,284 Posts

I'm good with nurse. Been called way worse, at least they're putting the effort to recognize an attribute rather than just "hey" or "hey you". 

mtmkjr, BSN

381 Posts

That doesn't bother me.

What does bother me is when people use "nurses training"  instead of nursing school. Or so and so is "training" to be a nurse instead of studying to be a nurse. 

Training: "The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior." (First Google definition)

Susie2310

Susie2310

2,095 Posts

On 9/28/2022 at 5:25 PM, mtmkjr said:

What does bother me is when people use "nurses training"  instead of nursing school. Or so and so is "training" to be a nurse instead of studying to be a nurse. 

Training: "The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior." (First Google definition)

Well, we do train, or at least I hope that we still get to implement clinical skills/clinical teaching that we have been tested for competency on in skills lab along with use of the Nursing Process, on patients in clinical settings eg. acute care hospitals, under our clinical instructor's supervision.  So the definition of nurse "training" is apt. The great majority of nurses provide direct, hands-on, nursing care to patients. Training to be a nurse involves practical application and critical thinking, not just studying, and if students today are earning their licenses by just studying material without practical application on actual patients, in my view this is a big problem. "Training" doesn't mean that one is just practicing rote behaviors; if this is how one is approaching hands on nursing care on live patients this is a serious problem.  

To go back to the OP, I can't imagine being upset at being called "nurse."  Nurses do have names but patients are not always informed of them or may be too sick to remember them, so it makes sense to me for patients to call a nurse "nurse."  "Nurse" isn't a dirty word; it's the quickest and most certain way of attracting a nurse's attention.

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 46 years experience. 7,039 Posts

I agree with everyone else strictly on an intellectual basis regarding their reasons for being fine with being addressed that way, but honestly for some reason it does annoy me, although if I hear it shouted in a movie, it's usually because they really need that nurse right then, and I enjoy seeing that nurse swoop in to save the day.

It's just a gut reaction, similar to when a particular doctor long ago would tell patients to go talk to "the girl".  I was in my twenties so I couldn't 100% tag him on the age thing.

 

Lynker, LPN

Specializes in LTC, Rehab. Has 3 years experience. 255 Posts

I've always loved hearing that I'm "the nurse". It can be a little bothersome at times, but most of the time it warms my heart.

I can see why it'd make someone uncomfortable or annoyed, though.

DoubleblessedRN

DoubleblessedRN, ADN, RN, EMT-B, EMT-P

Specializes in cardiology, psychiatry, corrections. Has 14 years experience. 216 Posts

12 hours ago, hppygr8ful said:

I too work in psych where patients don't always have the ability to express their needs. I don't think being called Nurse bothers me one bit. The past five years I have worked with adolescents and they usually call me by my first name. If they new my last name they could Google my house which I don't want.

Hppy

I’ve worked psych for four years and I occasionally work with adolescents.  I don’t ever recall being called “nurse” by any one of them, as a matter of fact, they’re usually pretty respectful and ask if I’m the nurse and what’s my name.

 

DoubleblessedRN

DoubleblessedRN, ADN, RN, EMT-B, EMT-P

Specializes in cardiology, psychiatry, corrections. Has 14 years experience. 216 Posts

3 hours ago, nursel56 said:

I agree with everyone else strictly on an intellectual basis regarding their reasons for being fine with being addressed that way, but honestly for some reason it does annoy me, although if I hear it shouted in a movie, it's usually because they really need that nurse right then, and I enjoy seeing that nurse swoop in to save the day.

It's just a gut reaction, similar to when a particular doctor long ago would tell patients to go talk to "the girl".  I was in my twenties so I couldn't 100% tag him on the age thing.

 

I used to work in cardiac cath lab years ago, I agree…there are some situations when it’s necessary.  For example, whenever I finished holding pressure after an arterial sheath removal I would instruct the pts on s/s of a hematoma, bleeding at the site, and other potential complications, and to just holler “Nurse!” if the pt experienced any of these, because those are true emergencies that require immediate attention.