Maybe in Ohio, but a while ago in the South, "Miss Erin" would have been a perfectly respectful form of address, slightly less formal than "Miz Jones." Unless your name was Frank, Bob, or something other than Erin. I generally follow the doctor's lead--if she signs his e-mail "Jane," then she's Jane. If she signs it Dr. Smith, then she's Dr. Smith. A Quaker education and years in parts of the library profession where first names are pretty much universal left me inclined to be called Fred. Unless I'm a patient lying in bed with tubes coming out of various parts of my body--then I found it strangely comforting to be called "Mr. King." The title allowed me a bit of dignity that I usually didn't need.

BTW, I recently acquired two nieces and a nephew who insist on calling me "Uncle Bob." Fine with me, but I'm not really sure how they came up with that. 

Fred King
Medical Librarian, MedStar Washington Hospital Center
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-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jones, Erin
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 2:56 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: chat: form of address with doctors

I'm no Emily Post, but I believe you should always use "Dr." or any other title unless someone specifically says "Oh, just call me Bob." 

I'd also say this goes for teachers, too, if that is they way they have indicated they wish to be addressed (which they have through your daughter)...and I'm 44.

I don't mind "Ma'am" because it's better than "dear" or "honey" which I have had much younger residents call me (aaaargh!). 
I do draw the line at "Miss Erin"...unless you are below age 6 this will not stand!


Erin Jones, MEd, MSLIS
Ernst Sternfeld, MD, Medical Library
Flower Hospital
5200 Harroun Rd.
Sylvania, OH 43560
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-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Cosart, Barbara D.
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 2:28 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: chat: form of address with doctors

Hello All,

This has been on my mind for a while. I always address email correspondence to an MD or DO as Dr. So-and-so. Most of them, however, sign their first name to their email, or even introduce themselves by their first name. Am I being too formal? What is expected these days? I don't want to seem rude by addressing them more formally than they address themselves.

I hadn't thought too much of it until one of my daughters went from a small private school (where teachers were addressed by first names) to a regular public school, and suddenly, the teachers (to the kids) were Mrs. R- and Mrs. M--.  My daughter's teacher is soooo much younger than me, that I had too much of a hard time calling her Mrs. R-myself and I address her by her first name. I don't know if that is right either.

Most of the new residents are also a lot younger than I am (I am 40), and I was chatting with some mom friends the other day about how it grates on our nerves to be called Ma'am.

What do you do?

Barbara Cosart, MLIS, AHIP --please note new phone number!
CEC Medical Librarian for Nursing
Clinical Education Center at Brackenridge
Seton Healthcare Family
1400 N. IH-35, Suite 2.303
Austin, TX 78701-1966
Phone: (512) 324-7000 x 77444
Fax: (512) 324-7654
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