It’s All in A Name!

Years ago one of us had a patient named James Dick. He was a great guy who referred his wife and kids and then his brother and his brother’s entire family. Some cousins and other assorted members of the family tree followed. One day an insurance company clerk called, saying to Carole at the front desk “I’m calling about the treatment for Mr. Dick,” to which she replied…

“You’ll have to tell me which one – we have a file cabinet full of Dicks!”

So we have to thank Mr. Dick for a few things:

  • He was a great patient who referred many family members.
  • He provided us with a very memorable laugh.
  • His name was easy to pronounce!

We all know it is great to call a patient by name as frequently as possible. But what if you are shying away from doing so because you don’t know the proper pronunciation? Or even worse – what if you have been mispronouncing a patient’s name for years and they haven’t said anything about it?

If you are even slightly unsure about the way a patient’s name is pronounced, just ask! They will appreciate it. Then, write it phonetically inside of the chart and review it during the morning huddle.

Don’t try to use those fancy phonetic characters that no one understands – just write it out in a way that cannot be mistaken. (Example – the name of a French dentist we know would be phonetically spelled as “PEE-AIR SHY-THEED.”)

While the sound of a patient’s name may be the most beautiful thing to them, hearing it pronounced incorrectly is just the opposite.

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