In theory, I agree with "if she signs her e-mail "Jane," then she's
Jane..." but in practice I almost always say "Dr. Smith." (I call the
residents by their first names, though.)  

I remember being amused by a former resident who always called me
"Helen" unless he had medical students in tow.  Then he said "Mrs.

I've always disliked being called "Miss Helen."  

I'm not from the South, but I live in an Army town (Carlisle - Home of
the Army War College).  My children had many friends from military
families and I've gotten used to "Ma'am," even though it was never part
of my own vocabulary as a child.  At work, I usually let it go if a
medical student who may only be here for a month calls me ma'am.  All
others, I invite them to call my by my first name.


Helen Houpt, MSLS, AHIP
PinnacleHealth System
Library Services
4300 Londonderry Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
(717) 657-7247
(717) 657-7248 fax
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-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of King, Fred
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 3:18 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: chat: form of address with doctors

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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