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Letter: Just call me Walter

I’d really hate to lose my first name. It was given to me by two people who loved me dearly, and it has been with me all my life. Yet I have lived and worked in medical communities in a number of states for much of my adult life and have been surrounded by a very conspicuous class of people who have lost theirs: physicians.

We all know people who go by Doctor Blank (you fill in the last name). Though the word “doctor” comes from a word which means to teach, it is really shorthand in our culture for a medical doctor, one highly taught and trained in medicine. Yet these rightly respected folk have first names, too. In earlier versions of our culture, everyone had a title, Dr. Blank or Nurse Blank or maybe just Mr. Blank or Miss Blank or Mrs. Blank (Ms. Blank had not yet come on the scene).

But in our culture, calling everyone else by their first name really puts physicians on a pedestal that many of them would just as soon come off.

In the medical workplace, having everyone on a first-name basis might help morale a lot, both for physicians and everyone else. The patients could still be told, “The doctor will see you now.”



Legacy Comments1

Bravo! I think that too often titles in the workplace or with service providers intimidates folks. Liked your letter!

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