Home > Every Word Counts > Every Word Counts: Titles, Names, Nicknames.

Every Word Counts: Titles, Names, Nicknames.

When is it OK to call patients by their Short-names?

Today, while doing an intake I had a great conversation with one of our elderly patient. She was sweet like always, and as we started to talk she told me she had a frustrating encounter at the facility where she lives and is being cared for by a staff of assistants and caregivers.

She shared that her frustration was a result of staff calling her “Grandma”. She told me she is only grandma to certain people, her actual grandchildren. She absolutely wants to be addressed by her real name, and has made it known to the staff that cares for her. She told me that the end of the day she wants to be known for who she is, and that in her later years she is trying to finally make a name for herself. She is active in many activities and clubs, and as such she would like her real name to mean something, to stand for her character.

This encounter made me realize that often times we have good intentions when talking with our patients. Our words can have a great impact, and we must pay extra attention to ensure we honor and respect all of our patients. It is extremely important to formally great your patients by their complete name. It is only OK to call them by their short names when THEY tell you it is OK. 

Make a mental note, or a note on the chart of the desired name your patient likes to be addressed as. Always adress judges, and physicians by their title, even if retired, unless they tell you not to. Doing so ensures that you have comfortable encounters with your patients.

Remember at the end of the day one of the things we are proud owners of…       is our Name.

-Jesus C. Vazquez, PMAC

Categories: Every Word Counts
  1. Sharon
    February 19, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I think that is so true. We should treat everyone with respect and I believe using their name, calling them Mr. or Mrs. if they are elderly give them respect. Then if they ask you to call them by given name then do so. Even if it is a personal acquaintence I feel nicknames should be left for outside the office unless that person asks you to call them by it.

    There is not enough respect shown in these days and times and the proper use of a name is one good way of showing respect.

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