I don’t usually mind when youngsters call me by my first name, but perhaps if I was elderly, I might feel
a little uncomfortable.
Hospital staff are being urged to stop addressing patients by their first names.
head of the British Medical Association said that too many nurses and
doctors were making elderly patients feel uncomfortable by using first
names, when many preferred to be addressed more formally.
Hamish Meldrum said: "I have noticed it especially in residential
homes, where you will get a wee young girl addressing a man of 90 by
his first name, not realising that he is clearly uncomfortable with
I’m sure this lack of respect manifests itself in so many ways.
Old man: "Please, nurse, show some respect. Don’t just say ‘Willie.’ You’ve got to say ‘Mr. Willie.’"
Young nurse: "Okay, okay, whatever you say. Please pull your pants down. I need to examine Mr. Willie."
The BMA chairman, who is a GP, urged every doctor and nurse to ask patients how they liked to be addressed.
Meldrum made his comments after The Sunday Telegraph received a flood
of letters from readers who felt patronised by the use of first names
by hospital staff.
Pamela Davis, from Crewkerne,
Somerset, wrote: "I was asked whether I preferred to be called ‘Mrs
Davis’ or ‘Pamela’. I said ‘Mrs Davis’ and was then called ‘Pam’
throughout my stay." [Link]
I wouldn’t want a nurse to shorten my first name either. Perhaps I’d have to put a sign on the wall: "Call me ‘Mr. Durai’ if you want to be respectful. Call me ‘Melvin’ if you want to be friendly. Call me ‘Mel’ if you want to lock the door behind you and be ‘extra friendly.’"