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What is the proper way to address an RN?

This question is probably a bit silly, haha. I'm not in school just yet and I've never been a patient (for an extended period of time anyway) so I haven't really been in a position where I would say anything to a nurse beyond "excuse me." So let's say my name is Sally Smith. Do patients call me "Nurse Smith" "Nurse Sally" or perhaps just Sally? Or does it differ by hospital, region, etc? Just curious :) Thanks for the help!

Defineyourself

Specializes in Emergency.

I make sure my patients know my first name, and try to make them feel comfortable using it. Being human is part of what makes your care so special.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

In general, nurses tend to have less professional distance from patients than other members of the healthcare team, so very few people refer to us with formal titles.

Patients usually refer to me by my first name. Some will simply yell out "Nurse" or "Miss" if they do not know my name.

The "Nurse Smith" formalities disappeared many decades ago along with the white uniforms, nursing caps and pantyhose. As someone born in the 1980s, this bygone era predates me.

In addition, most patients do not give a hoot about 'RN' or 'LPN' or 'CNA' in my personal experience. The vast majority of Americans lack college degrees and view any female in scrubs or medical uniforms as a nurse.

In general, nurses tend to have less professional distance from patients than other members of the healthcare team, so very few people refer to us with formal titles.

Patients usually refer to me by my first name. Some will simply yell out "Nurse" or "Miss" if they do not know my name.

The "Nurse Smith" formalities disappeared many decades ago along with the white uniforms, nursing caps and pantyhose. As someone born in the 1980s, this bygone era predates me.

In addition, most patients do not give a hoot about 'RN' or 'LPN' or 'CNA' in my personal experience. The vast majority of Americans lack college degrees and view any female in scrubs or medical uniforms as a nurse.

Or the ever popular, "Hey Miss Nurse!"

OneDuckyRN

Specializes in ICU.

There is one Fundamentals instructor in the program I graduated from who holds on to the "Nurse (last name)" tradition. She expects her students to address her that way, and in turn, she addresses them the same way, from day one of nursing school. Granted, after Fundamentals most students stop doing it fairly quickly because none of the other instructors carry it through, but you can always tell who had Nurse Last Name for Fundamentals!

ixchel

Specializes in critical care.

'Your Highness ' will do! :p

I'm a fan of "Mistress" or "Madame", as well. :)

Come to think of it, I can count on one hand, probably, the number of times a person has actually used my first name, and those typically are ones who I've had for extended periods of time. I'd actually prefer that. Instead, patients shouting, "Nurse!" into the hallway, in spite of the perfectly good call bell next to their hands, tends to be the norm. Makes me wonder if maybe patients aren't sure about this, in general, as well.

featherzRN, MSN

Specializes in Outpatient/Clinic, ClinDoc.

Everyone calls me by my first name. :p If someone actually called me "Nurse Myname" (and was serious about it) I'd probably crack up laughing. :)

subee, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired.

If a physician makes me call him/her "Doctor___", I insist on being called "Nurse_____.

TakeTwoAspirin, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP.

If a physician makes me call him/her "Doctor___", I insist on being called "Nurse_____.

I don't call physicians "Doctor" because they make me. I call them Doctor out of respect.

In general, nurses tend to have less professional distance from patients than other members of the healthcare team, so very few people refer to us with formal titles.

Patients usually refer to me by my first name. Some will simply yell out "Nurse" or "Miss" if they do not know my name.

The "Nurse Smith" formalities disappeared many decades ago along with the white uniforms, nursing caps and pantyhose. As someone born in the 1980s, this bygone era predates me.

In addition, most patients do not give a hoot about 'RN' or 'LPN' or 'CNA' in my personal experience. The vast majority of Americans lack college degrees and view any female in scrubs or medical uniforms as a nurse.

Now that I know I 'm from the bygone era, I will just grab my cane and shawl and sob silently into my hankie.:cry:

Been called everything in the book. I just respond where I'm needed.

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency.

I've been called: by my first name, by my last name, wrong name, nurse, doctor, waiter, yo, hey you, sonny, buddy, dude, my brother, dearie, hey babe (had to do some boundary setting with that one) and soldier (wwII era dementia pt, i simply responded with yes sir).

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

Generally first name, sometimes pts/fam call me "Nurse" or "Miss," occasionally "Ma'am" if they forget my name.

I'm guessing by now the OP knows that "anything goes"!

I've been called by my first name if they manage to remember it, "Miss" or "Nurse" if they can't.

Where I work now, it's commonplace to be addressed as "Ma'am", as in "Yes, Ma'am", "No, Ma'am" and "Excuse me, Ma'am" :)

applewhitern, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

We introduce ourselves by our first names to our patients. I don't really like this, and would much prefer to be called Ms. Soandso. It makes me feel like a servant for someone several decades younger than me to call me by my first name, but I have to call them Mr., Mrs., or Ms. We aren't "allowed" to call patients by anything but their title and last name. But I am also from that bygone era....

I always introduce myself to my patients by my first name, therefore most of them use that to get my attention. I agree few patients use the title "nurse" before talking to me. Few can distinguish a nurse from a tech, even though we have dress codes where the nurses always have white pants whereas the tech dress in navy.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Back in the dinosaur days, some old time doctors would use the "Nurse amoLucia" route. Always sounded funny to me.

And then we were always expected to properly address our elders as a sign of respect. Today, I'm one of the elders!

Up here, we introduce ourselves by our Christian names. We are not permitted to use our surnames on the floor for security reasons.

Some remember our names, most just call us "Nurse".

My family however when they call ask for "Nurse Surname" but then they are all either in the military, police, or retired from those jobs. They see it as a rank and use it as, now that I think of it, so do our military patients. But hey, I live in a garrison town with a large population of retired and serving military members.

Up here, we introduce ourselves by our Christian names.

Well I guess I can't work there, LOL....:woot:

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics.

You may call me Mistress Medgiver. Thank you.

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