General

Addressing Patients

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25 Sep 2016 - General
 

photo from: aja.pubs.asha.org

The initial interaction with patients is very crucial to establishing rapport and this starts with knowing the patient's name. The big question is how do we address the patient? Do we call them by the first or last name? In my daily clinical expreience, I always ask the occupation immediately after knowing the name. This allows me to address the patient properly if he/she has a doctorate degree, a military rank, or other postgraduate title. Addressing the patient with Mr./Mrs. or Sir/Madam and the last name also will work fine. In my personal opinion, the only thing to be avoided is to call an elderly with a casual terms (i.e. mommy, ahma) usually reserved for relatives. I find this to be unprofessional though I hear it quite often as I work in a government hospital. I feel that this breaches professionalism and fails to establish rapport on a professional level.

For the MIMS community, do you have similar encounters with your work? How do you address patients? Do you think that calling patients with casual terms as mentioned above are more beneficial in establishing rapport?

Heena Pohani That was interesting to know. Both words having the same meaning will still have a different impact in calling someone. May I know why jij is found as offensive by the elderly? I know that in Mandarin language that you is also termed as ni and nin. Nin is a term of endearment for because it is a written with the heart below and is preferred by the elderly. Thank you for sharing the customs in address...
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@Mark Edmon Tan Apart from the factors you have mentioned in the article, I believe that cultural and regional differences should also be taken care of. In Netherlands, you have to address an elderly person with 'u' and not 'jij.' Both mean 'you' but it is a custom in Netherlands to address the elderly or unknown people with 'u.' If someone addresses them with 'jij', they feel offended. Also, in Netherlands, it is a common methodology of addressing people ...
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Mark Edmon Tan On the first page of our charts, I usually check if there's any special designation... and the gender. I learned this lesson in a hard (and horrific way). I addressed the patient as "Mr. __" because i mistook him for a man. The poor patient did not correct me at all. I spoke at length, explained the procedure and all. Finally when I left and I was about to write on the chart, there i...
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Maria Cristina Inserto My pet peeve of all the labels too, calling someone or being called ate or kuya (sister or brother). I don't call anyone this term because I feel that it is disrespectful for the recipient. This is reserved for family and I only hear it being used in the marketplace. I remember witnessing a resident who was called sister while I was a junior intern. She responded with a cold "Excuse...
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Kathleen Peralta I like that setting where doctors prefer being called Mr. and first name. I feel that it removes a barrier for everyone in the operating room. It is something that I think will never happen here in the Philippines though. Addressing parents by the first name somewhat shows disrespect in my opinion. I think the parents earned the term of endearments mom and dad. Also, it also fosters a form of hi...
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You know what, my mom always gets mad at me when she hears me call patients Sir and Maam. I usually call them Mr or Ms ________________. If I've known them for awhile I call them by their first names or even their nicknames, but sometimes while taking to them I blurt out sir or maam and my mom tells me I shouldn't, but I really don't mind. I call moms mommy, though, while I am treating their child. I say, "Mommy, who brushes her teeth?" I call titled patients with their tit...
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Hi Dr Mark Edmon Tan , since I got here in UK i was very surprised on how they address patients here or even sometimes their own relatives. What I've noticed at work, even if you are older or in a higher position, we call each other in a first name basis. As for patients, it did vary. In a care home setting, we call them by their first names and greatly discouraged to use terms of endearment such as "lov...
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