nametagDo you always introduce yourself by name to your patients? Or do you simply say, “Hi, I’ll be your nurse today?”

In their Viewpoint essay in the June issue of AJN, Raeann LeBlanc and two colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing make a strong case for the professional introduction, in which “a nurse states her or his full name and role in the patient’s care.”

The authors argue that professional introductions are “a powerful way to make clear the centrality of the nurse’s role in the care of the patient.” When nurses use professional introductions, we make our knowledge and expertise more visible and help patients better understand just what it is that nurses do.

The authors also address potential safety concerns nurses may have about disclosing their full name to a patient, and they offer some reasons why the importance of professional introductions may not be taught in nursing school.

Considering the nature of our work, I would add that the professional introduction is also a simple but essential courtesy. Intimate touching is a central and routine aspect of nursing.

With this in mind, isn’t a proper introduction a sign of respect for our patients—as well as for our work?