I think this depends on context.  Most of the medical staff are my friends, and I call them by their first names  -  but in certain clinical settings it becomes Dr. Smith.  Most of call me Patty, except the newbies.  (We won't mention the fact that I'm old enough to be their mother ... or grandmother.)

But when I send them something, it goes into the interoffice mail as J. Smith MD or T. Jones DO.  Even if it's for my husband.


Patricia Kahn, MS, AHIP
Niles Perkins Health Science Library
Pen Bay Medical Center
Six Glen Cove Drive
Rockport ME 04856
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(207) 596-8456 voice
(207) 593-5281 fax

From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Erwin, Patricia J. [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 8:41 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: chat: form of address with doctors

When I started working (40 plus years ago) as a secretary, even the other secretaries were addressed as Miss or Mrs.  When I became a medical librarian, all doctors whether MD, Ph.D, were addressed as Dr.  I remembering being quite confused when one of our Ph.D.-MD very firmly told me his name was Frank, and I was to use it.  I did, but never in a clinical situation.

Almost everyone knows me as Pat - but occasionally we will get new residents or fellows who call me Mrs Erwin.  I tend to look over my shoulder to see who they're talking to.  But some things have changed - in a clinical situation, they are always Dr.  I am treated as a valued colleague, and in meetings or gatherings, I generally call them by their first name.  Interestingly, at a recent discussion group, we went around the room to introduce ourselves - all of the residents, fellows followed the same format - I am "first name, last name, specialty" I work with Dr. ....)


Patricia J. Erwin, MLS
Lead Reference Librarian
Mayo Clinic Libraries
12-47 Plummer Library
Phone: 507-284-4952
Email: [log in to unmask]
Mayo Clinic
200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905

-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nichols, William
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 7:27 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: chat: form of address with doctors

In the main & just from personal preference (me being the relatively informal type that I am) I concur.  I know from experience, though, that in some former jobs I would be addressed in e-mail or whatever by my first name, & the sender manually signed off as "Dr." or whatever other title they preferred or felt entitled to, the clear intent being that they wanted to remind me who was who & what was what.  And that would even be for things as simple as "Hey, if you have the time would you mind seeing if you could find me a copy of..."


William F. Nichols, MLS | Medical Librarian | Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine |
350 Howard Street | Spartanburg, SC 29303| Office: 864-327-9852  Fax: 864-804-6986 (The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, and they may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.) -----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Levin, Len (Library)
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 4:51 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: chat: form of address with doctors

        And I think I read a long time ago (as a librarian, I should probably look this up first...oh well) - maybe in Emily Post or Miss Manners - that if someone refers to me as "Hi Len, could you help me with blah, blah, blah," that there should then be no expectation that I turn around a refer to them as "yes, Dr. X."  And since almost no one calls me Mr. Levin, I rarely call any physician "Dr. so-and-so!"

Len Levin, MS LIS, MA, AHIP
Head, Education & Clinical Services
Instructor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health Lamar Soutter Library University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Ave. North
Worcester, MA  01655
V 508-856-6028
F 508-856-5899
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-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stemmer Frumento, Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 3:03 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: chat: form of address with doctors


My feeling is that we, as medical librarians, are on the same professional level as the physicians we work with. Therefore, as one professional to another, we address each other by our first names. Plus, after being in this business for almost 30 years, I've taken physicians off "that" pedestal a long time ago.

Katherine Stemmer Frumento
Director, Library Services

Greenwich Hospital
5 Perryridge Rd.
Greenwich, CT 06830
(203) 863-3285
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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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