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Expectations when addressing physicians across the country

Nurses   (863 Views | 23 Replies)

labordude has 14 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in L&D, OBED, NICU, Lactation.

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TL;DR: Have experienced huge differences in organizational and regional cultural expectations as I've traveled across the country. What's been your experience?

For those of you who've worked in different locations around the US, how has your interaction with the physicians changed? Are there different unwritten (or written) rules on how to communicate with them?

I've worked in 7 different states in several regions of the country and have seen a huge difference in cultural expectations of RN interaction with physicians. Back in the northeast, it was very common to be on a first name basis with the providers. Having moved down south and ended up in TX, it's a night and day difference with a very demonstrated expectation that it will always be Dr X regardless of the situation. Even had the chief of service verbally correct a first year resident who was talking with a colleague of mine on a first-name basis. They were told to make sure they were always called Dr Y.

What are your experiences? How do you choose to interact/are encouraged to interact with the providers?

If you choose to call someone Dr X out of respect, do you not ask the same from them for your given title?

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K+MgSO4 has 12 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Surgical, quality,management.

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Is it regional or is it hospital specific? 

I work at a place where everyone is addressed by their first name, picked up some agency shifts at another hospital 40 min across the city.  Everyone is Dr, nurse, physio.  Very strange.  Charge nurse is sister.

This hospital is Catholic (but public) and very stuck in its ways despite being in a major growth corridor of the city.  My hospital is a public trauma referral centre that try to keep up with the never ending admissions.

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

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In my hospital, only attending physicians are addressed as Dr. X. Pretty much everyone else goes by first names. I live in the south.

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10 Followers; 3,552 Posts; 25,786 Profile Views

First names in the team rooms but “doctor” in front of the patients. I am “the nurse, Wuzzie” although the physician I work with usually adds “extraordinaire” after “nurse”.  😊

I appreciate that he uses my name  I find it respectful that he recognizes I am a person not an object and he doesn’t claim ownership of me by calling me “his” nurse. 

 

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Rose_Queen has 15 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

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I find it to be more generational than location. The new surgeons coming in? First name (still Dr. Z with patients). The surgeon who's been operating for 40 years? Dr. X would probably have a coronary if we used his first name.

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1,192 Posts; 8,019 Profile Views

I usually address attendings by Dr. and residents by their first name.  All of our NPs go by first name.  I’m in the Midwest.

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Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

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Back in the '80's, the younger doctors would introduce themselves by with their first name. A radical departure from the older docs.

I became pretty good at work buds with a Korean surgeon. I asked him one time , "If I see you out at Venture (1968-1998), can I say, 'Hey Hee-Man!'?"

The look he gave me said, "No".

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Swellz has 6 years experience and specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown.

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It's definitely cultural, but I really think it depends on the size of the program. In large teaching hospitals, regardless of location, residents always introduced themselves by their first names to me. We actually would spend time together on the floor and got to know eachother, and it just made sense as we were very familiar. In hospitals with small teaching programs, I find residents rarely interact with the nurses and introduce themselves as Dr Soandso. Just my experience.

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2 Followers; 837 Posts; 5,259 Profile Views

9 minutes ago, Swellz said:

It's definitely cultural, but I really think it depends on the size of the program. In large teaching hospitals, regardless of location, residents always introduced themselves by their first names to me. We actually would spend time together on the floor and got to know eachother, and it just made sense as we were very familiar. In hospitals with small teaching programs, I find residents rarely interact with the nurses and introduce themselves as Dr Soandso. Just my experience.

This has been my experience as well.

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149 Posts; 334 Profile Views

in front of patients I can see it being important but I could care less if someone calls me doctor or first name at the nurses station

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Tenebrae has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative.

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Its a cultural thing IMO. I've never called a doctor Dr. Its always "Name, followed by an ISBAR"

In pysch, doctors always introduce themselves to patients by their first name and designation. 

And my experience in med surg is usually doctors usually introduce themselves as "Hi, I'm Name, and I'm the reg/house surgeon/consultant for X team"

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labordude has 14 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in L&D, OBED, NICU, Lactation.

472 Posts; 12,236 Profile Views

Seems to be some commonality that attendings are called "Dr" and residents and everyone else is often first name basis. I'm going to ask the providers around if they think it's cultural, regional, organizational, or their personal preference.

There was a time when everyone was Title Last Name including nurses, but we strayed from that in most places accept for attending physicians (in general). Boggles my mind.

56 minutes ago, Tegridy said:

in front of patients I can see it being important but I could care less if someone calls me doctor or first name at the nurses station

@Tegridy Why do you think it's important in front of a patient? In the words of Robin Williams as Patch Adams,

"When did the term "doctor" get treated with such reverence, as, "Right this way, Doctor Smith"... or, "Excuse me, Dr. Scholl, what wonderful footpads"... or, "Pardon me, Dr. Patterson, but your flatulence has no odor"? At what point in history did a doctor become more... than a trusted and learned friend who visited and treated the ill?"

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