Just stumbled on a blog post written by a first-year resident who calls himself “Anonymous Doc.” He raises a good question about why nurses and doctors are referred to in such different ways:
I don’t think I’ve talked about this before, but the doctor/nurse divide is weird. One of my intern friends called me the other night and said there’s a nurse he likes, and in theory wants to ask her out, but doesn’t think he should. It would be awkward, he’s like her superior… he doesn’t feel comfortable doing anything. And maybe he’s right. But the whole dynamic is weird. They call us doctor, and we call them by their names– and sometimes not even. At one of the hospitals, there’s this strange custom where the nurses all go by Miss or Mister and their first names. So I’m Dr. Lastname and they’re Miss Jenny or Mister Steve. It’s bizarre. Miss Jenny sounds like a kindergarten teacher. Maybe. And some of the residents use these names when they talk about the nurses to each other, like– “did you give the order to Miss Amber?” “did you tell Miss Jeanette?” Are we children? I feel like we’re colleagues, and we should all just call each other by our first names. Like colleagues do. Patients can call us Dr. Whatever, but I don’t feel like I need the nurses to treat me like a superior, and I also don’t want to treat them like they’re my nursery school teacher.