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Old 02-09-2019, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Crook County, Illinois
3,218 posts, read 1,393,904 times
Reputation: 3968

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I've always wondered: What's a correct way to address a medical practitioner or a psych therapist/counselor who's not a doctor? (MD or PA) Or a nurse (all levels: CNA, LPN, RN, and NP), for that matter.

I've had appointments with practitioners who weren't technically doctors (MD's), but rather DDS, LCSW, PA, or NP. I've always erred on the side of formality, and called them "Doctor LastName" as much as possible, unless they were strictly nurses. That's not always correct, but no one seemed to object, either.
* For dentists, "Dr. Last Name" is actually correct.
* For hospital nurses, both as a patient and an on-site IT technician, I referred to them as "Nurse FirstName"; they didn't correct me or report me. (Simply "FirstName" strikes me as too informal, given the difficult work they do.) They called me "Mr. LastName" when I was a patient, and "FirstName" when I fixed their computer.
* For talk therapists, it varies. Some went by "FirstName LastName". Others went by just "FirstName", which has a "fake friend" feel to it, given the client/therapist power differential.
* For physical therapists of massage/spa chains, it was always "FirstName" with no title beforehand. I'm fine with that, given the low power differential, unlike with talk therapists.
* (Not a medical profession, but...) For lawyers, I always called them "Mr./Ms. LastName". When I'm dealing with someone who can change my life with their expertise, I want to be formal.

But what about practitioners like PA's, NP's, DO's, and the likes? They're higher than nurses (for whom a first name is normal), but lower than true doctors (for whom "Dr." is 100% correct). So what's a correct way to address those specialists, both to their face and in third person? And what about chiropractors and such? I never saw one, but is "Dr. LastName" correct?
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:06 PM
Status: "Happy Winter!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,866 posts, read 100,535,818 times
Reputation: 32282
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillennialUrbanist View Post
I've always wondered: What's a correct way to address a medical practitioner or a psych therapist/counselor who's not a doctor? (MD or PA) Or a nurse (all levels: CNA, LPN, RN, and NP), for that matter.

I've had appointments with practitioners who weren't technically doctors (MD's), but rather DDS, LCSW, PA, or NP. I've always erred on the side of formality, and called them "Doctor LastName" as much as possible, unless they were strictly nurses. That's not always correct, but no one seemed to object, either.
* For dentists, "Dr. Last Name" is actually correct.
* For hospital nurses, both as a patient and an on-site IT technician, I referred to them as "Nurse FirstName"; they didn't correct me or report me. (Simply "FirstName" strikes me as too informal, given the difficult work they do.) They called me "Mr. LastName" when I was a patient, and "FirstName" when I fixed their computer.
* For talk therapists, it varies. Some went by "FirstName LastName". Others went by just "FirstName", which has a "fake friend" feel to it, given the client/therapist power differential.
* For physical therapists of massage/spa chains, it was always "FirstName" with no title beforehand. I'm fine with that, given the low power differential, unlike with talk therapists.
* (Not a medical profession, but...) For lawyers, I always called them "Mr./Ms. LastName". When I'm dealing with someone who can change my life with their expertise, I want to be formal.

But what about practitioners like PA's, NP's, DO's, and the likes? They're higher than nurses (for whom a first name is normal), but lower than true doctors (for whom "Dr." is 100% correct). So what's a correct way to address those specialists, both to their face and in third person? And what about chiropractors and such? I never saw one, but is "Dr. LastName" correct?
DOs take the same boards as MDs. It's just a slightly different style of education. They should be called "doctor". The NPs and PAs in my husband's medical practice always introduce themselves as "Katie", "Bryce", etc.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:05 PM
 
1,670 posts, read 815,233 times
Reputation: 7246
I call them by their first name, and they don't seem to mind.

Except for DOs, which are Dr.
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Old Yesterday, 12:22 PM
 
8,439 posts, read 5,763,569 times
Reputation: 15764
I call them the same thing I call all of my doctors, their first name. (Exceptions are doctors who I just meet)
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Old Yesterday, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Central IL
14,206 posts, read 7,738,185 times
Reputation: 33149
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillennialUrbanist View Post
I've always wondered: What's a correct way to address a medical practitioner or a psych therapist/counselor who's not a doctor? (MD or PA) Or a nurse (all levels: CNA, LPN, RN, and NP), for that matter.

I've had appointments with practitioners who weren't technically doctors (MD's), but rather DDS, LCSW, PA, or NP. I've always erred on the side of formality, and called them "Doctor LastName" as much as possible, unless they were strictly nurses. That's not always correct, but no one seemed to object, either.
* For dentists, "Dr. Last Name" is actually correct.
* For hospital nurses, both as a patient and an on-site IT technician, I referred to them as "Nurse FirstName"; they didn't correct me or report me. (Simply "FirstName" strikes me as too informal, given the difficult work they do.) They called me "Mr. LastName" when I was a patient, and "FirstName" when I fixed their computer.
* For talk therapists, it varies. Some went by "FirstName LastName". Others went by just "FirstName", which has a "fake friend" feel to it, given the client/therapist power differential.
* For physical therapists of massage/spa chains, it was always "FirstName" with no title beforehand. I'm fine with that, given the low power differential, unlike with talk therapists.
* (Not a medical profession, but...) For lawyers, I always called them "Mr./Ms. LastName". When I'm dealing with someone who can change my life with their expertise, I want to be formal.

But what about practitioners like PA's, NP's, DO's, and the likes? They're higher than nurses (for whom a first name is normal), but lower than true doctors (for whom "Dr." is 100% correct). So what's a correct way to address those specialists, both to their face and in third person? And what about chiropractors and such? I never saw one, but is "Dr. LastName" correct?
"talk therapist" is too broad a category - ANYONE can call themselves a "therapist" even if they don't have a H.S. diploma. So they can have fewer formal qualifications that someone qualified to do physical therapy.

If all you need is casual "counseling" then that may be fine. If you have more serious issues then I'd rather go to someone with at least a master's in Counseling or even Social Work. Now, do you call them Mr. /Ms. or by their first name? lol
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Old Yesterday, 01:27 PM
 
Location: San Angelo, TX
1,708 posts, read 2,882,779 times
Reputation: 1785
Anyone who treats you medically:

Doctors: Dr. Surname
All others (without a medical degree): First name
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Old Yesterday, 01:34 PM
 
8,719 posts, read 8,886,712 times
Reputation: 27185
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgardener View Post
I call them by their first name, and they don't seem to mind.

Except for DOs, which are Dr.
I call most of my doctors by their first name, but I know most of them too.
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Old Yesterday, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Northern panhandle WV
2,910 posts, read 1,991,893 times
Reputation: 6223
Funny but I never address them at all as anything, I just speak to them. I also do not want to be called by my first name which virtually everyone gets wrong even after being corrected. Instead if they must address me it should be Mrs. xxx.
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Old Yesterday, 04:30 PM
 
5,701 posts, read 3,247,022 times
Reputation: 19741
The younger ones all seem to prefer a first name basis. Argh! What's left of the boundaries of professionalism?
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Old Yesterday, 04:42 PM
 
2,928 posts, read 6,357,470 times
Reputation: 5337
I was a nurse practitioner and most of my patients called me "Miss First Name" Some would start with Mrs. Last Name and I would say "Please call me First Name".

(I live in the South so "Miss First Name" has nothing at all to do with whether or not the person is married)
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