sort of a stupid question--but please help me out

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by annushka, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. annushka

    annushka Senior Member
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    I'm sorry to say I spent 2 years in med school and still don't know the answer to this, but...

    How do I address medical residents? Should I call them "Dr. such-and such"??? I probably would, one-on-one, but I have to write an email replying to my professor (who is also an attending and a program director at a hospital) and a resident...I don't really want to offend my prof by referring to the resident as "Dr" if this isn't appropriate.

    I just remember someone telling me that until you get your medical license (after residency), people shouldn't call you Dr.

    And yes, I'm aware of a similar thread on this forum, but I couldn't find any useful info there except whether or not a JD should call themselves a Dr. :)

    Thanks all.
     
  2. docmojo

    docmojo Member
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    This is a question we all wrestle with at some point. I always judged it by the vibe I got from the individual resident. Here are some rules of thumb.

    1) Whenever you are in a group setting (other docs, nurses, patients, and ancillary staff) call them by their title; Dr.
    2) If it is just you and him/her try calling them by their first name if you have developed a friendly relationship with them. They should tell you if they always wish to be called by their title.
    3) If you see them outside of the hospital then use their first name to address them.

    Keep in mind that you are a Dr. once you get the degree. Licensing is a legal matter that has nothing to do with whether or not you are a doctor.
     
  3. beyond all hope

    beyond all hope Senior Member
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    Speaking from a resident's perspective, it always makes me feel old and overly formal to be called Doctor. Please call us by our first names. Our residency uses a military/locker room style of conversation where we frequently call each other by our last names only, e.g. "Hicks" or "Wadsworth".

    Some people do insist on being called Dr. X. Always refer to attendings that way until being told to do otherwise.
     
  4. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor Practicing Doc and Blogger
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    It is polite to call someone doctor until they tell you not to.
     
  5. Docxter

    Docxter Senior Member
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    That someone is wrong. Once you get a doctoral degree (MD, PhD, etc.), your a doctor. Licensing has nothing to do with it. And yes, residents are all doctors, otherwise they couldn't be residents. Choosing to call them by their title or not is a whole different issue though.
     
  6. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I prefer to be called by my first name in everyday conversation. However, I was raised to use people's titles until I was told otherwise (so it seems normal for medical students to call me Dr. Cox and then have me correct them and ask them to use my first name).

    In anything formal, including an email (while not as formal as a letter, but better to err on the side of formality) I would address your resident as "Dr. So and So."

    Finally, its ludicrous not to call someone 'Doctor" until they have their full, unrestricted license. Its almost as galling as patients thinking an intern is not a doctor. :rolleyes:
     
  7. annushka

    annushka Senior Member
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    thanks, Drs. So-and-so :D

    I guess plain old asking the particular person never hurt either. But it what a pleasure it would be for me to prove my friend wrong about the whole license thing! :laugh:
     
  8. aliraja

    aliraja Troublemaker
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    Residents at my school, as a rule, are always called by their first name by med students. In many cases we'll be their peers in a year or two and it seems unnecessarily formal to call them Dr.
     
  9. DrQuinn

    DrQuinn My name is Neo
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    I agree with Dr. Cox :D
    I think its weird when medical students refer to me as Dr. X, and I correct them quickly, just to call me Quinn. My attendings will call me either by my first name or Dr. X, though, I leave it up to them (as long as they dont' call me scutmonkey).

    Q, DO
     
  10. mamadoc

    mamadoc Old Member
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    I would use Dr. in the e-mail since it is going to both an attending and to the resident. It is one thing to be on a first name basis with someone in person, but in print things just look better if there's a teensy bit more formality.... and it would be weird, I think, to call one "Dr." and the other "Joe."

    Now, what I'd do is tone down the formality of the communication, probably starting, "Hi Dr. Attending and Dr. Resident, (then your text)."

    Can't imagine an attending being insulted that a resident is referred to as Dr. Resident, since Dr. is the correct title!
     

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