#helloyournameis Mum? #WILTW

This is the 177th #WILTW

Future generations of healthcare professionals may well look back at the #hellomynameis campaign and wonder why anyone would need reminding to introduce themselves. Having had over 1,500 million impressions, and 80,000 contributors through twitter alone, it clearly is an important topic.

In the same way I probably make about 80% of my management decisions within 15s of walking into the cubicle (child’s appearance, combined with clues from monitoring devices and body language of parents) it is very likely children, parents and carers make similar rapid judgements of my professionalism and skill as a doctor. Clearly if you fail to introduce yourself then you have already started off on the wrong foot.

via http://blog.sfgate.com/sfmoms/2014/05/16/most-ridiculous-baby-names-from-2013/

Interestingly research highlighted in this week’s Bubble Wrap (please do follow this monthly journal round up!) examined parental preferences of greetings by medical staff. 137 parents were sent a questionnaire to determine what clinical staff had previously called them and what they would like to be called. Nearly 80% recalled being called Mum or Dad. The authors made the odd decision to not have “my own name” in a list of what parents would like to be called but from the remaining options it appears parents would prefer to be called Mum or Dad (as opposed to Mummy or Daddy). Personally, calling anyone Mummy or Daddy would make me very uncomfortable, so I am glad this didn’t emerge as a winning salutation!

Hidden behind the etiquette of how someone should be addressed is the even more important point of who the person actually is. Regardless of how often you are told at medical school, you only truly learn to definitely establish who is Mum and Dad when you have assumed that someone else is. The outcome of this error ranges from embarrassment to a potential safe-guarding issue. While the simplest way round this is to just ask; there are more subtle ways as well:

Would love to hear from parents and carers about what they would prefer to be called!

What have you learnt this week? #WILTW

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One thought on “#helloyournameis Mum? #WILTW”

  1. (U.S. experience, for what it’s worth)

    It’s very common in the corporate world for consultants, experts, executives, and managers outside someone”s reporting relationship to fail to introduce themselves (by name and by purpose/function). Or to act as though everyone already knows (or should) why they’re present.

    Common but not optimal.

    Introducing yourself as you normally do (or have learned is most helpful) also invites a return intro from the adult, and how he/she does that is a pretty good cue for how to proceed.

    I am not bitterly opposed to being called dad by someone treating my child, but I am Dave, or Mr Ferguson, to virtually every other professional providing services at my request, whether for me or for my children.

    A simple “are you Annette”s dad?” will get the info if the adult doesn’t think to tack it on. (Parent or caregiver is as likely to assume awareness as physician-in-a-hurry is.)

    When speaking directly to the child, it”s perfectly fine to say “I need to ask your mom / dad / sister / grandfather / Ms. Ralston a few questions…”

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