Well, you can call me Ray

Dr. Nancy

How do you address your doctor? Say her name is Dr. Nancy Smith. Do you call her Dr. Smith? Nancy? Or Dr. Nancy?

I may be in a tiny minority, but that Dr. Nancy thing drives me nuts. If you’re not on familiar terms, Dr. Smith seems the proper form of address. If you know her well, or socially as well as professionally, then Nancy seems quite acceptable. And certainly fair’s fair if the doctor calls you by your first name. After all, you are both adults.

Dr. Phil

But Dr. Nancy? No, sorry. To me that’s either a silly affectation adopted by the doctor or a form one would suggest a child use. You can imagine my distress then, at Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s show on MSNBC being called “Dr. Nancy.” The adults she interviews often address her as Dr. Nancy. Ugh. Ditto Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura. Ugh. Ugh.

Dr. Laura

Maybe the usage is a regionalism I’ve not encountered and it sounds perfectly proper and acceptable to large segments of the population. Or maybe it’s the result of an adult clinging to a childhood habit. Or maybe it comes when an adult patient is trying to be friendly but still show some respect.

Whatever the reason, to my ear it sounds silly and childish. Sorry, I can’t help it. That’s just the way I roll.

2 thoughts on “Well, you can call me Ray

  1. Dr. Last Name. Even those I interview for articles. I do not presume the power to strip someone of a title or degree, or presume enough familiarity to be on a first-name basis. Often, the ones I interview say, “Please, call me First Name.” Even then, I have trouble choking that out.

    Then again, I’m the kind of person who uses honorifics with everyone until they say otherwise. That’s how my mama taught me to roll.
    When I’m in that awkward “choking” situation, I usually end up punting and avoiding the direct address altogether.

  2. I get rather chaffed at this myself. It’s Doctor Last-Name, not Doctor First-Name. It’s only Doctor First-Name if they’re on TV.

    Of course, I don’t have a doctor anyhow, but that’s only because I live in America and, hey, who can afford one?
    I don’t think I’d trust those stagestruck TV doctors to be keeping up with the world of medicine anyway, except maybe Sanjay Gupta who, to his credit, doesn’t go by “Dr. Sanjay.”

... and that's my two cents