#hellomynameis

I was recently a hospital in-patient with post-operative sepsis following a stent exchange procedure. During this admission I made some observations on the quality of my care. Perhaps the starkest of these was that not every member of staff who approached me introduced themselves. We have it drilled into us on day 1 of Clinical Medicine learning that starting the relationship with a patient begins with an introduction. It was easy marks in our exams. I’m sure it is the same for nursing and other healthcare professionals too. But something has failed…

As a healthcare professional you know so much about your patient. You know their name, their personal details, their health conditions, who they live with and much more. What do we as patients know about our healthcare professionals? The answer is often absolutely nothing, sometimes it seems not even their names. The balance of power is very one-sided in favour of the healthcare professional.

I have always been a strong believer in getting to know people’s names as part of building good working relationships with both patients and other colleagues. I think it is the first rung on the ladder to providing compassionate care and often getting the simple things right, means the more complex things will follow more easily and naturally.

So here the idea of #hellomynameis is born. If you support this idea please leave a comment below with your introduction to a patient. By doing this you are pledging to introduce yourself to every patient you meet. Please share this page with as many healthcare professionals as possible and let’s make things better… The NHS employs 1.7 million people. The majority of these people will interact with patients on some level. Let’s see how many pledges we can get!

Here is mine to get us started:

“Hello. My name is Dr Kate Granger. I’m one of the senior doctors who will be looking after you on the ward while you’re with us. How are you feeling today?”

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422 thoughts on “#hellomynameis

  1. Hello my name is Caroline Tyndall. I am the ward manager. Welcome to Seddon Rehab Unit. Please let me know if there is any way I can improve your time here with us x

      • Hello my name is Annie and i’m looking after you tonight. If you need anything at all please let me know. I say this to every patient in my section as well as any patients I meet in other sections of the ward when checking blood transfusions/chemo etc. I always say goodbye and thank-you each time I leave so that they know they are people too. Good luck with your campaign- great idea :-)

  2. “Hello my name is Dr Helen and I work with the rehabilitation team on this ward. ”
    I have been an in and outpatient more than I would have liked in the past year. This issue really got to me, as you say in your blog, the courses and teaching and exams we all do teach us the most basic of communication skills (ie introducing yourself), yet probably more than half of the staff I have met (as a patient) in hospitals do not introduce themselves.
    It can get very “them and us” at times in our profession. I am a human being therefore I have the potential to be both a patient and a doctor. As a doctor, I take responsibility for my patients wellbeing and telling them my name, and making sure they know it benefits me as then they know who to address the thank you letters/compliment letters to! As a patient, I expect at least to know who you are before you stick a needle in my arm/back or make comments about my case or ask me personal questions. I think your campaign is timely and will make enquiries to see if anyone has heard of it where I work.
    I watched your “dying matters” film. Your honesty and emotional openness probably helps you to form relationships with patients. Some Drs want to keep themselves remote and maybe anonymity helps with this. It shouldn’t stop us trying to build that relationship though.
    Keep on with what you are doing, its very necessary.

  3. “Hello, my name is Elise Palmer and I am a heart nurse specialist. what would you like me to call you? ”

    I always ask the patient how they would like to be referred to. I explain what I am going to do. I reassure them that information is confidential and gain their consent to asking ALL questions (including sexual health and recreational drugs to every patient) and clinical examination. I use the advanced communication skills that I gained during my course some time ago, so that I dont give uncessary info to a person without first identifying how they feel about the news I have given them. good communication is my passion, brillaint communication is my goal.

    • Hurrah! Thank you! I HATE it when totally unknown staff call me by my first name. If they ask me – I usually reply to call me by my first name – but I like to be asked. When a private patient, staff ALWAYS ask this question, so why are NHS patients “downgraded”? Surely everyone deserves courtesy.

      My mother had right idea; if anyone called her by her first name without her permission she pretended she was deaf. I always knew which nurses they were, as they used to say “you didn’t tell us your mother was deaf:.

      • Wow, that must have been really helpful in a busy hospital environment! Maybe staff can’t be bothered any more because they encounter patients who can’t just be grateful they’ve been addressed by their name, they have to make a point about which name is used, or which title. The NHS is an amazing gift, but if we see it as a right then we start to abuse it – even through seemingly innocuous behaviour like this.

  4. Hello, my name is Denise and I’m the Housekeeper here on Magnolia Unit. If you have any problems other than nursing queries, i will try to help you the best I can.

  5. Hello my name is Nicky Morgan, I’m the midwife looking after you today…

    I would then sit down with her and her birth partner to discuss and agree a plan of care for the shift

  6. Hello myname is Lindsay, I am one of the pharmacists working on the ward today. Would it be ok for us to have a chat about your medicines?

    I then explain what I need to know and how this can help them whilst they are with us in hospital. I always try and end by asking if they have any questions for me. These are often unrelated to my role but I always try my best to help, or ensure I get someone who can.

    • Hello
      This is very similar to how I introduce myself in my work as a pharmacist on in-patient wards. And the campaign provoked some great discussion in our clinical pharmacy team meeting today. Next stop joining the campaign within the RD&E hospital and more widely across our profession.
      Thank you.
      Ali

  7. Hello my name is Sam, and I am a clinical support worker here to transport you to the theatre suite. I’ll stay with you until you go into the anaesthetic room, and even though you won’t know it I’ll be in theatre with you too. Do you have any questions or need anything before we set of?

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  9. Hello My name is Clare Alexander , I’m the ward manager and ‘ill be looking after you today. What do you like to be called?”

  10. Hello my name is Abby Stewart, I’m one of the midwives and I will be looking after you today. If you need anything then let me know.

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  12. Hello my name is Rosie. I’m one of the student nurses working on the ward today. Is _____ your preferred name?

  13. _________? Hello, I’m Lizz, I’ll be your doctor whilst you’re in the emergency department, What’s brought you to us today?

  14. This is a great initiative. I do however, have a slight mistrust of staff who don’t also give me their surnames. I usually ask for a surname as there’s often no point subsequently asking for or referring to an ‘Anne’ or ‘Kate’ or ‘John’!

  15. Thank you for your blogs Kate. It has made a huge impression on me and many other doctors. We will take your points on board. Best wishes.

  16. Hello my name is sian woodfield. I’m an Echocardiographer and will be scanning your heart today for Dr …….. . Followed by a brief outline of the procedure. And by asking if it is ok to proceed.

  17. “I’m Dr / Greg Neate and (with some pride) I’m one of the consultants in the team…”

    Sorry to come across the wilful misreporting but it led me here and happy to support your call.
    The NHS has many good qualities but sadly some basic issues get and are allowed to be overlooked. Well done for raising this issue and hopefully starting many more staff / patient consultations with greater thought for each other.

  18. Hello, my name is Claire/Claire Picton and I’m the Consultant Nurse in this Emergency Department. What would you like me to call you? Who have you brought with you today?
    I decide when I meet people whether it is better to use my first name only or both first & last name. I always try to greet them with a friendly smile too. And while I am finding out about them, I try to find a connection that joins us in that moment, so I impart some information about myself. I hadn’t thought it through particularly, but I suppose it is about making the relationship more equal. Often something small to generate a rapport, like their month of birth being the same as mine, or of a member of my family’s.
    Best wishes

  19. All at St. John’s Hospice (North Lancs & South Lakes) are right behind this amazing campaign. Sad that it needed to exist in a way, but sure to make great strides in improving care and customer service in the minority of cases where it is lacking.

    We will certainly make sure we always introduce ourselves to our patients and do all we can to make them feel valued and important.

    Best wishes.

  20. “Hello, my name is Liam Welsh. I’m one of the radiotherapy doctors looking after you. How are you doing?”

    Your campaign moved me to tears. On some of the occasions that I’ve been an NHS patient, I’ve shared your experiences of poor introductions.

    I’m going to bring your campaign to the attention of my colleagues. I believe this campaign can be a real force for good, and can help all clinicians be more mindful of their impact on patient’s experience.

  21. “Hello my name is Antonia Ryan and I’m a student nurse. How are you today? Could I have a look at your notes please?”

    I’m a final year nursing student in my final placement in the community. I adore community nursing as I enjoy the privilege of caring for people in their own homes. I always introduce myself and my position, and I always ask if it’s okay if I do the procedure. Not many people say no to a student nurse giving them care, but you do get the odd one who would prefer a registered nurse with experience. I’m never offended, it’s completely up to the patient how they would like their care and I always appreciate that fact.

    I always ask if I can read the notes first so that I can check what’s been happening recently, what procedures they’ve had recently, and so I can begin delivering care in the most autonomous way. I always read the notes, and ask patients questions as I go along, so that the patient knows what I’m doing, so that they feel more comfortable and so that my interest in their care comes across.

    I absolutely adore this campaign, as I think it is sometimes apparent that people forget the absolute basics! It’s such a good way of reiterating the core value of communication and I cannot wait to qualify in September and spread the word amongst colleagues and friends.

    Thank you Kate.

    • ” Hi. My name is Jay Naik. I’m one of the consultants on the team…”
      Thanks for highlighting this fundamental issue Kate. Keeping the focus on the person, not the task, or the next thing, or other pressing matters sometimes can be challenging. I like to think that most of us want to deliver the best care we can and sometimes it needs a reminder or holding to account to help us remember what matters at times of stress or busy-ness.

      Thank you also for pointing out that consultants are prone to not introducing their junior staff, who often provide much of the care. It’s one more lesson, I’ll take from you.

  22. Hi My name is Yvonne an. is it OK to call you by your name…. I am your Nurse and here to assist you today. Is how I greet my patients or clients I am now working with another collegue to see if we can get this rolling in our area.

  23. I work in the community as a home care assistant with social services and this is how I introduce myself when visiting someone for the first time.

    Hello My Name is Lisa, how are you today? Could I just show you my ID badge so that you know who I say I am. Could I call you by your first name or would you prefer me use Mr/Mrs …….

    • Once this is established, on following visits, I always call out ‘Hi ‘client name’. it’s only Lisa, the carer’ as I enter the property

  24. Hello my name is Georgie Haigh. I am the senior sister for neurology. I was so inspired by Kate’s message at the Nursing conference that I have created our bespoke photo board with the heading #hello my name is. It is true that the smallest things make the biggest difference. It does sadden me that we have to discuss this in 2014, however, with everyone on board lets make a difference and start communicating again with our patients. It costs nothing and you don’t need a Phd to do it.

  25. hello my name is sarah iam a staff nurse who will be looking after you today, welcome to our ward, if there is anything you need or what to ask me then please do no matter how small you think it is i will try my best to help or answer any qusetions you have.

  26. Hello, my name is Cat and I am looking after your baby today. How are you feeling? Followed by a run through of baby’s care and any changes, with chance for parents to ask questions, and reassurance that they can ask as many times as they like. The Neonatal Journey is hard, and as a Neonatal Nurse I don’t just nurse the babies in my care, but also their parents.

  27. Hello my name is Dawn, I’m your nurse for today. If you need anything please call or push your nurse call button (here it is). By the way, what would you like me to call you?

  28. Hello, I’m Claire and I’m the arthroplasty practitioner. How are things today?

    I always refer to the patient by Mr or Mrs etc and wait until they invite me to use their first name.

  29. Hello, my name is Peter James and I am a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Haematology and I am also your key worker. I am here to help you through your patient journey and support you through your treatment. You must treat me as your new best friend and feel free to ask any questions about parts of your condition and treatment that you dont understand or simply use me as someone that you can talk to about anything when you are feeling low or needing a “shoulder to cry on”.
    On first introductions I always refer to the patients as Mr,Mrs, Miss, Sir or Madam as appropriate before ascertaining their preferred mode of address.

  30. Mrs/Mr …..? Hello, my name is Dr Lucy Pollock – I’m one of the (medical) consultants. It’s nice to meet you…or, on MAU, I’m sorry you’ve landed up in hospital…or, in my rehab unit, ‘You really have been through the mangle, how are you feeling?’

    Kate, I have been watching your project with admiration. It’s really changing things. And I shall try to introduce my junior doctors better too.

  31. Hi, my name’s Jo Smalley, I am a Macmillan Palliative care nurse specialist. I spoke with you on the phone last week. Are you okay for me to visit now?
    Can I ask what would you like me to call you……….( & ask the same of any other person there).
    Would you like to know about my role & how I can support you & then if it’s okay I would like to ask how things are for you?

  32. “Hello, my name is Melanie. I’m the radiographer that is going to be doing your examination”

    I then do the client ID checks and explain the procedure and what will happen with them while they are in Breast Imaging.

    I have campaigned about this a long time in the department I work in and now I’m a manager I can be more proactive in ensuring that this is carried out. I also insist that my staff say what role they have as we are always complaining that no-one knows what a radiographer is but if we never tell patients they will never be any the wiser.

    Thank you for giving oxygen to this campaign so that it can ignite the passion of the patients advocates.

  33. Hello I’m Dr Sullivan, I’m a consultant anaesthetist, I’ll be looking after you whilst you sleep for your procedure.

    Also one of my bugbears. Let alone the lack of name badges…

    I wish you well on your journey.

  34. “Good morning/ afternoon, my name is Jo, it’s lovely to meet you mr/mrs…” I’m an optometrist and my px have made an appt to see so have already received my full name etc- I always use formal pronoun for people older than me- then let them correct me ( and they usually do) with ” mr x is my Dad- call me John” etc- I wish you well I have been hospitalized a few times and certainly didn’t always know who people were although strangely always new what they were!

  35. Hello, my name is Dr Helen Peet, I’m the Consultant looking after you. You are on intensive care, the day is…… and it is (insert time). You are very safe, I need to examine you, I hope that is ok.

    This is my standard patter for one of our sedated ventilated patients, I then waffle away about their family, the weather and anything else that comes to mind whilst I examine and potter in the bed space.

  36. Hello, my name is Raquel and I’m one of the Anticoagulant sisters at the Luton Treatment that you will regularly see here. This is how our service works. Let me know if you have any questions….I say this to every new referred patient to our service.

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