31 Jan Calling Dr. Patel
Calling Dr. Patel.
I have a lot of colleagues and friends that are physicians.
Some I have been friends with for more than a decade and some are more recent. Some of my physician friends have been practicing for 40 or more years while others have just finished medical school.
The one thing I always do is use the prefix Dr. before their surname.
This last week I was conversing with a few of my friends and when we started the conversation I greeted her with the usual, “Good afternoon Dr. Patel, how are you doing?”
She responded to me with the following, “Andy, how many times do I have to tell you just call me Jenn?” She continued to remind me of how long we have known one another and the work we have done together and that I need to drop the formality.
Andy, why do you keep calling me Dr. Patel?
This is my explanation.
I call you Dr. Patel because you have achieved the title of M.D.
I call you Dr. Patel because it is a sign of respect for you, for the work you do, and the care you provide for patients in our communities.
I call you Dr. Patel to acknowledge the hard work, the dedication, and the sacrifices you had to endure for nearly a decade to become a physician in your specialty.
I call you Dr. Patel because when I walk into a hospital or clinic I see so many people wearing a white coat nowadays that patients are confused. Patients begin to call PA’s, NP’s, and MSN’s “doctor.”
I call you Dr. Patel because I have observed some of your family and colleagues minimize your work, your achievements, and your status.
I call you Dr. Patel because I do not want to accidentally call you by your first name in the wrong setting. I do not want to give others the impression that not using the prefix is acceptable for everyone.
I call you Dr. Patel because I know at any given moment I can call you, ask if you would be willing to give a second opinion, and you are willing to provide your time and attention at the N of 1.
I call you Dr. Patel because I respect the science, the art, and the sanctity of medicine.
I call you Dr. Patel because you are the Me in Medicine.
I call you “doctor” because you “answered” the calling to deliver care with patients at the N of 1.
“Doctor” is my loving way to honor and respect you at the N of 1.