So when is a Police Constable not PC? When the police force has issued even more guidelines of how to address people, or how to refer to the time of day. Or not, as the case may be - apparently it may cause confusion for "different cultural backgrounds" if you bid someone a "Good Afternoon".
Codswallop, Tishposh, Baloney and Tripe. I'm sorry. But it is. And I know that the beginning of this sentence sounds like some American legal firm. Sorry for that too.
I can understand not asking for a Christian name. I'm not Christian, and I wouldn't be upset if someone asked me for my Christian name, but I can, just about, understand that rule. I don't necessarily agree with it, but I can understand it. We don't need rules and regulations for every single little thing. There should still be some room for common sense.
The one thing that I have been left thinking about is names in general, and in particular, what do you call your patients?
Do you call all male patients "sir"? Really? Even the six year olds?
Do you call all female patients "madam" or "ma'am" or "miss"? Really? Even the really scared ones?
I know that if someone calls me "sir" it means one of the following. Either I've been knighted by Her Majesty, no-one told me about it and I've missed the Investiture, or someone is trying to sell me double glazing. I hate it. Don't call me sir.
If you call me Mr. M, I am equally as uncomfortable. Either I'm talking to one of my kids' teachers, who are trying to balance the tightrope of officialdom, distance and the personal touch, or I'm meeting the bank manager for another review of my ever-growing overdraft.
My parents were kind enough to give me a first name, so please use it.
I know that this isn't the case for everyone. I know there are many people who prefer to be addressed as Mr. SoAndSo, or Mrs. WhatsHerName, and they are entitled to that courtesy. The Rules say that this is how everyone should be addressed.
No room for manoeuvre, no room for the personal touch.
I think that this is what aggravates me the most. I disagree that calling people by their first names is unprofessional. Sometimes I find that it's just what they need to hear. Admittedly not ALL (ahem) our calls are life-threatening, and not at every given moment is either the patient or their relative in great distress, but if they are, then I think that addressing them by their first name, or whatever other name they choose, has a calming effect.
It portrays that we can walk that tightrope. Be professional at all times, and yet have the personal touch that shows you can empathise, sympathise and treat as necessary.
If, for example, Jill Greaves, was trapped in an upside down car after a high speed RTC, I'm sure she'd rather hear the strange multitude of voices saying "Don't worry, Jill, we'll have you out of the car and in the warm as soon as we can", rather than "Mrs. Greaves, we understand your concerns and are aware of your predicament, so we are undertaking your rapid extrication from the vehicle".
So what do YOU call your patients?
I vote for common sense.
I vote for asking your patient how they would like to addressed.
And I vote for bidding your patients Good Afternoon. But only if it really is.