medical staff ettiquette and conduct

Proper Etiquette and Name Disclosure

All health care professionals and medical staff and personnel are expected to adhere to proper etiquette which includes properly greeting patients and providing their full #name each time. If not, how else would a patient feel welcome and safe and could keep track for reference of who said what, or did what, on a given date, etc.?

QUESTION: “Are medical assistants supposed to offer their full name or only 1st name when a patient asks? All doctors give their full name, but do patients have the right to full name disclosure of the medical assistant also?”

introduction by name
medical assistant introduces herself by name

When you call a patient in from the waiting area the first thing you should do is introduce yourself by stating: “Hello, my name is Jen, I am your medical assistant”. You should also be wearing a name badge with your first and last name and showing your #credentials. If the patient asks for your last name, provide it with a pleasant tone of voice, then verify you have the right person before you continue the take-in procedure.

Medical Assistants Stating Their Name

In your role as a medical assistant is good policy and practice to state your full name when greeting and checking in a patient. By stating your name you establish an identity and instant rapport with your patients. Most medical assistants simply use their first name, while wearing a name badge with their full name and credentials printed behind it, e.g. MA, RMA, CMA, CCMA, NCMA, or whichever designations they have.

A typical greeting, once a patient has been called in from the waiting area, is: “Hello, my name is Judy, and I am your medical assistant.” However, if a patient asks for the full name, I believe it would be improper and unethical to refuse to give it. I am sure this would not go over well with the doctor under which the medical assistant works. To me, refusal to state the name immediately implies lack of cooperation, lack of empathy, lack of courtesy and comes across as unprofessional.

In addition, from my own observations as a patient, I always find it odd if a medical assistant calls me in for my exam, takes me to the exam room, begins to take my vital signs and NEVER states her name. Often, I will politely say something along the lines: “Excuse me, but I didn’t get your name”, just to let him, or her know I’d be more comfortable knowing with whom I am speaking. I highly recommend that every medical assistant automatically states his, or her name, because the patient will appreciate it and it just is the right thing to do.

Using Your Initials

The only time you might use just your initials is for charting purposes, such as initiating messages you took over the phone, or behind entries, updates, statements and memos you wrote into a patient’s medical record. Even then, just to be safe, it is a good idea to abbreviate the first name and write out the last, followed by your credentials and date, because the medical record is an official document and can be used as evidence in court.

One thought on “Proper Etiquette and Name Disclosure”

  1. It happens all too often! I am called in from the waiting area (by first name, of course!) and taken straight to the scales without the medical assistant ever introducing her-/himself by name. I find it annoying and disrespectful, but before I ever step onto the scales, I politely ask the medical assistant’s name (hoping s/he will get my point!).

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