"Sir or Ma'am" when addressing physicians?


  • Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation. Has 20 years experience.

You are reading page 5 of "Sir or Ma'am" when addressing physicians?

  1. When addressing physicians, I..

    • 14
      ALWAYS say, "sir" or "ma'am"
    • 21
      SOMETIMES say, "sir or "ma'am"
    • 25
      NEVER say, "sir" or "ma'am"
    • 35
      You're kidding, right? This is 2012!
    • 32
      It's simply a personal choice.

116 members have participated


338 Posts

Has 25ish years experience.

For the most part, with a few exceptions, I have always referred to physicians the same way that they refer to me. If they call me by my first name then I call them by their first name. Has never been a problem. Never.


10 Posts

Dr. is appreciated. After 17 years in training for an MD and a PhD, my boyfriend gets pretty offended if someone refers to him as "Mr.". And technically it's not just an etiquette thing, it's just a proper way to address someone speech-wise. The general rule is that if they are called Dr. professionally, they are always to be called Dr., never Mr./Mrs.. If you send an invite to them as a friend (like a wedding invite), you would use the Dr. too. I guess it has to do with academic titles too. Same for PhD. But if someone attained a PhD and didn't use it, and went to work at Starbucks, no, it wouldn't be necessary to use the Dr. title ever.

I'd just ask them what they want to be called. Of course at home, I like "Mr." when he (the Dr.) does something stupid like leaving the stove on with nothing cooking on it, or driving the wrong way down a one way street. It knocks his ego back into the realm of "you are human too! MISTER". It always amazes me how someone can have such a brilliant career and perfect track record with patients and yet have no common sense with other things in life. Same for surgeons I've known. Can barely keep food on a fork, slobby bobbies tripping over their own shoelaces, yet, true grace in the OR.

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

Only time I say sir/ma'am is when addressing police officer

I get grief sometimes because instead of "sir" or 'ma'am" I called doctors "Doctor". Such as "yes Doctor" "no Doctor". As a tech I don't talk to doctors much in an offical capacity, mostly on the phone and I put them on hold to get the nurse.


1,341 Posts

Well here is my take on the situation.

I am from the south. And proud of it.

I address everyone as Sir or Ma'am until they give me permission not to. That goes for CNAs, cleaning staff, and Physicians.

Its called being polite/courteous.