Amnesty 168 Posts Oct 1, 2013 When I was in nursing school in the 1980's, we had to call them "clients." I thought that everybody had changed it back to "patients?" I haven't heard anyone being called clients in a long time; we refer to them as patients at my current hospital.In nursing school now, I'm being taught that we should call them clients because client implies that the person has a stake in his/her own healthcare decisions while patient implies dependence and passive behavior (not my logic =P that's from a textbook). But at my hospital, we call them patients, and when I asked the professor about it in class, she said that there's definitely a shift back to calling them patients and that it's really up to each facility to decide. What is acceptable in one area of the country or one area of nursing may not be in others. Down where I live, people in the hospital would probably find "client" offputting, as it's more business-like and cold, whereas "patient" has that caring implication to it.