A “doctor” is considered to be one of the most esteemed careers, whether the person is a medical or dental doctor, or a doctor of any science. There are a number of different abbreviations after a doctor's name, and it's unlikely that you will know them all.
I'm an oral pathologist. I work in such an environment where no one calls me by my name, Dr. Rashi Sharma. They all address me by “doctor”. I have asked them to use my name but I could not do much about it. I miss hearing my own name at my workplace!
In today’s time, more doctors introduce themselves by their first names, even signing the same when they send an email, while other physicians may get offended, if a patient calls them by their first name. After all, there’s a very real sense that after so many years of education, along with blood, sweat, and tears – not to mention thousands of dollars – the title of “Doctor” should not be taken casually.
First Name Preference
First name is just a ticket for a renowned Plastic-surgeon, Dr. Saurabh Sharma (MS, MCH), in North India (Punjab region). “I personally prefer patients to call me by my first name,” says Sharma. " It allows me to connect with patients as an individual and not merely as a doctor. It also allows me to be a better surgeon and truly understand the patient’s condition and history. All of that may ultimately lead to better patient outcomes", he says. He also mentioned that with kids, it’s always better to be informal. He prefers to have a relaxed and funny atmosphere in the office with the kids.
A first name helps distinguish him from his father and his wife, who are also in the same practice. At the end of the day, Dr. Sharma finds it amusing and advises to not take the name matter too seriously.
Role of Gender
Dr. Surbhi Sharma, is another renowned Gynaecologist in North India (Punjab region). She says her patients frequently refer to her by her first name, even after she’s introduced herself as “Doctor.”
“While I’m not offended by this action, I often wonder if this is due to my female gender, Dr. Sharma says. I do believe that when a patient or staff refers to you as ‘Doctor X,’ they are communicating respect and trust. In addition, being a female surgeon, I find that introducing myself as ‘Doctor’ helps to clarify my role. "
Role of Professionalism
Endocrinologist Dr. Rajesh Jain, (MD, DM) prefers to be called “Doctor” in professional settings in North India. “While interacting with the patients, it helps him to establish a certain level of professionalism,” he says.
Whereas Dr. J.K Sharma (MD, MS) a legendary General Surgeon says “Professionalism is critical, and the word “doctor” has got influence. It’s really important for a reason because certain patients can become overly friendly and then they will start making unreasonable requests. "
Role of Location
My dear friend Dr. Priyanka Kardam (Oral Pathologist) working in Taylor and Francis in NCR says “People often look at my badge and say ‘Hello Priyanka’. She finds it mildly amusing but does not mind at all. She says it does not impact her work relationship with them.
This thing can get really personal in medicine and everyone has their own opinion. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s not interfering with the therapeutic relationship. Patients have begun addressing doctors by their first names. Some doctors are fine with it and few have a problem which is understandable. The rules and regulations of patient – doctor interaction have certainly changed in this 21st century. In today’s society, people and relationships have been getting relatively less formal.
Developing a good rapport with a patient is mandatory because the impression of first meeting can set a stage for the ongoing relationship. Unfortunately, there are no recommendations on how physicians should be addressed or how patients prefer to be addressed.
It all depends upon the culture and context. In Asian countries it is standard to go by Dr.” Last name” wherein U.S.A, people usually go by “Dr. First name” or “Nick name”.
Your name is your identity. It is what makes you different from the next person. As a doctor in this competitive world, sometimes we got so engrossed in our work that we forget our own selves. Can a calling out of personal name serve as a subtle daily reminder? Or should your profession alone should be your identity at the workplace? That is the question to be answered.