AxiomaticTruth

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I am currently working in an emergency department and every doctor I've introduced myself to has introduced themselves either solely by their first name or their full name. Half of the nurses refer to the doctors by their first names (usually the veteran nurses) and the other half by "Doctor Smith" (usually the younger nurses). What should I do? In front of patients I obviously refer to all the doctors as "Doctor Smith" but in the doctor's corners and during small talk I switch between first names only and the formal "Doctor Smith." No one seems to mind, but it's kind of weird being a 20s person calling older docs by their first name. Though I usually refer to the way older docs by the formal title (ones with grey hair).

Or maybe it's just an ED thing where formalities are relaxed?

Also since I am a coworker instead of a volunteer/shadower/patient myself, that gives a different relationship with the doctors.
 

TheWeeIceMan

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I would just go ahead and follow whatever they introduce themselves as.
 
Aug 24, 2013
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You have to judge it by the doctor. I have been volunteering at an oncology clinic and there are 4 doctors there, and I call them all by first name now. It depends on how long you have worked there, and how they are about those kind of things. If you have been doign it, and no one seems to mind, then just go ahead and use their first name.
 

masaraksh

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I refer to attendings always by Dr. Whatevertheirlastnameis. Same for all Fellows I've worked with. Some have made made it a point to tell me to call them by their first name. In that case I do.

I think the informality might be somewhat specific to America. Like in America it is normal for man to call father-in-law by first name whereas in my country you would typically refer to him as mr. ...
 
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Omppu27

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I always went with Dr. Last name. Residents, fellows, and attendings. Can't go wrong by doing so.
 
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I always went with Dr. Last name. Residents, fellows, and attendings. Can't go wrong by doing so.
This. Unless you're shadowing them and they're family or something, I wouldn't risk informality where it could hurt you. Some will introduce themselves by their first name but you already know there are going to be a ton of docs that will get offended when you do that.
 

The Buff OP

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Off topic. But I will tell people to call me Dr. Buff OP.:thumbup:
 

BurberryDoc

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If they have introduced themselves as "Adam" or "Michelle", then I call them that when its more personable; however, in front of patients, always address/refer them as Doctor Last Name.
 

Nymphicus

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You can't go wrong by using Dr. Lastname.
That's what I would use if you're in doubt.

You can always switch to first names later on if you feel comfortable doing so.
 

chillaxbro

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tfw doctors introduce me as Dr. LastName to patients when I'm a shadowing pre-med
 

Pacna

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I call them Dr. <first letter of last name>
 

sunflower18

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I have had this same issue with the doctors that I scribe for! One or two have introduced themselves as Jane or Joe or whatever, and then if I call them Dr. Smith anyway, they will say, "No, please call me Jane/Joe." In that situation, it's pretty clear that that is what I should do, haha. But if they don't correct me when I call them Dr. So-And-So, I continue to call them Dr. So-And-So. I would rather err on the side of caution and being overly polite than annoyingly disrespectful.
 

goforbroke754

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I have had this same issue with the doctors that I scribe for! One or two have introduced themselves as Jane or Joe or whatever, and then if I call them Dr. Smith anyway, they will say, "No, please call me Jane/Joe." In that situation, it's pretty clear that that is what I should do, haha. But if they don't correct me when I call them Dr. So-And-So, I continue to call them Dr. So-And-So. I would rather err on the side of caution and being overly polite than annoyingly disrespectful.
This. Always always, my premed guru tells me, go by Dr. _________ until (if ever) they tell you not to.
 

Disinence2

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It's always safe to use the Dr. Title. But lets be honest in the ED most people have a nickname that they go by anyways.
 

TooMuchResearch

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I have had this same issue with the doctors that I scribe for! One or two have introduced themselves as Jane or Joe or whatever, and then if I call them Dr. Smith anyway, they will say, "No, please call me Jane/Joe." In that situation, it's pretty clear that that is what I should do, haha. But if they don't correct me when I call them Dr. So-And-So, I continue to call them Dr. So-And-So. I would rather err on the side of caution and being overly polite than annoyingly disrespectful.
This is what I still do, and I will be done w/ med school in a few months.
 
Aug 8, 2013
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I agree with what has been said above and would like to add the following: if they tell you to call them by their first name explicitly, don't go on ahead calling them by their title in private - it is incredibly annoying to have someone keep up the formality when you asked otherwise.