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Professionalism or lack of?
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#1 bakesgirls

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:23 PM

http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/cult...2b75l.html#poll

Just curious what others think of staff calling their clients and each other things like  'darling', 'sweetheart', 'honey' and so on.

I don't see an issue with staff calling each other such names if the other person is agreeable to it. I can see the issue though with calling clients such names, as it can be interpreted as condescending.

What do you think? Political correctness gone too far, or a problem that should be addressed?

ETA- Do you think it's OK for clients to call a professional, or anyone for that matter, 'honey', 'love', 'darl', or do you think it just needs to stop on both sides? If it's disrespectful to call a patient such names, surely it's inappropriate for patients to call their nurse or carer something similar?

FWIW, I have slipped up on occasion and called a petient one of the above names, but I do my best to remain professional and call them either Mr/s so and so, or by their first name, whatever they prefer.

Edited by bakesgirls, 11 December 2012 - 06:07 PM.


#2 lucky 2

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:45 PM

In my experience we have always been advised not to use that kind of language when talking to patients/clients, its been that way for 20+ years.
But it happens and I've done it, by accident usually as in it's just slips out.
I try not to make a habit of it but I think there are more pressing issues in the public health system.
Staff definitely need to be careful so they don't end up with compliants made against them, probably more by colleagues than by patients.


#3 Guest_~Songbird~_*

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:48 PM

.

Edited by *SnowFlower*, 20 February 2013 - 05:10 PM.


#4 Lucretia Borgia

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:53 PM

The article I read on this stated "mate" was also included in this...? I think you are pushing the proverbial uphill to get that word out of every workday conversation!

It kind of rubs  me up the wrong way when I get called honey or sweetheart....it doesn't happen so much these days though (to me)

#5 amabanana

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:53 PM

TBH it depends on how it is used.  Once and in a nice tone, sure.  Over and over and in a condescending tone, not so much.

#6 Stellajoy

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:54 PM

It's better to have a blanket rule.

I have an older male collegue who calls me "darl", luv, and girly.

As in we are having a meeting , five males and myself, all of who I'm more educated than, and he will turn to me and say "get us some coffee would you darl"

It is so very patronizing and condescending.

I didn't want to make a complaint against him so next time he asked "can you make coffee luv?" I told him I could, I'd made 1000s of coffees in a cafe while I put myself through my undergrad degree, I'd made myself a LOT of coffees while studied late at night doing my masters, but for the last ten years working in my field I've paid other people to make me coffee so I'm a bit rusty. Then I showed him where the kettle was.

He never did it again.

So no, I don't think it's over the top to ask staff not to adress each other by terms other than there given name.

#7 Froger

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:55 PM

I've had nurses call me darl, love  and sweetheart.  I quite like it. It hasn't seemed condescending to me. Rather it made me feel like they cared about me, as they are emptying my catheter bag and showering my fat naky body, LOL.  I'd rather be called a term of endearment by a nurse than Mrs/Ms Whatever.

#8 bakesgirls

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:00 PM

QUOTE (Lucretia Borgia @ 11/12/2012, 05:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The article I read on this stated "mate" was also included in this...? I think you are pushing the proverbial uphill to get that word out of every workday conversation!


Yep, 'mate' was also included in the list of words, sorry I forgot to add that in the OP. I agree, it's going to be a tough word to extinguish from everyday conversation.

#9 liveworkplay

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:00 PM

Unless its an adult to a young child, I detest the whole Sweety, Darl, Honey and cringe whenever I hear it. I agree it sounds extremely unprofessional. Mind you, I also think mate has no place in a professional/client relationship. What they call each other (workmates) I don't care, but I am not some random public servants mate.

QUOTE
Terms like 'mate', 'darling', 'sweetheart' and 'honey' are not appropriate, the memo says, because they may be perceived as "disrespectful, disempowering and non-professional".

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/cult...l#ixzz2EjCS3qwN


QUOTE
I'd rather be called a term of endearment by a nurse than Mrs/Ms Whatever.


Really? I feel the exact opposite. Whilst I think first names should be used, pet names are totally stepping over the mark.

Edited by liveworkplay, 11 December 2012 - 06:02 PM.


#10 Exhaustedbuthappy

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:03 PM

QUOTE (Stellajoy @ 11/12/2012, 05:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's better to have a blanket rule.

I have an older male collegue who calls me "darl", luv, and girly.

As in we are having a meeting , five males and myself, all of who I'm more educated than, and he will turn to me and say "get us some coffee would you darl"

It is so very patronizing and condescending.

I didn't want to make a complaint against him so next time he asked "can you make coffee luv?" I told him I could, I'd made 1000s of coffees in a cafe while I put myself through my undergrad degree, I'd made myself a LOT of coffees while studied late at night doing my masters, but for the last ten years working in my field I've paid other people to make me coffee so I'm a bit rusty. Then I showed him where the kettle was.

He never did it again.

So no, I don't think it's over the top to ask staff not to adress each other by terms other than there given name.


Oh, I love this. I wish I had the guts to say something similar!

#11 Guest_bottle~rocket_*

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:14 PM

I agree that it's generally not appropriate for people to use these terms with their colleagues or clients (with the exception of "mate").  Even if colleagues are good friends outside of the workplace, it's not appropriate in the workplace.  

I think being called "darl" or "honey" by hairdressers, beauty therapists and such is a bit different though!

#12 EsmeLennox

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:29 PM

I would not be appreciative of being called any of these things in the workplace. Nor do I use any o fthese when speaking to my colleagues. I occasionally use 'sweetie' or 'mate' with younger students if they are upset about something and need a bit of extra kindness and warmth, but I do not make a habit of it.

In other situations it would depend on the context.

#13 PatG

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:39 PM

One place I worked there was a client who called me darl.  I hated it!  My boss was pretty cluey though and any time this client was there for a meeting he (the boss) made sure he made and offered the coffee! In general any of us made the coffee.  This same client on conference calls would say "hi guys" and then feel the need to correct himself and add "oh, and ladies too".  I'm fine with "guys" being gender neutral.

I think the best thing to do is avoid using terms at all.  You can come across caring without darl, love etc- "afternoon, how are you feeling?  Could I have a look at XYX", or using what ever name the person asks you to.

#14 Guest_3Keiki_*

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:40 PM

I used to use some of those terms in an effort to calm people, reassure people or placate people. When people dealing with health frontline health professionals stop using bi..., or bast... or fu...., cu... or any of the lovely things I was subjected to I am sure everyone will be happy to do the Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss thing.... jus saying

#15 countrymel

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:40 PM

QUOTE (Stellajoy @ 11/12/2012, 06:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's better to have a blanket rule.

next time he asked "can you make coffee luv?" I told him I could, I'd made 1000s of coffees in a cafe while I put myself through my undergrad degree, I'd made myself a LOT of coffees while studied late at night doing my masters, but for the last ten years working in my field I've paid other people to make me coffee so I'm a bit rusty. Then I showed him where the kettle was.

He never did it again.



A boyfriend of mine many, many years ago.. was told on his first day of his apprenticeship by one of the TAs "Can you go and make coffee boy?"

He answered "Ah well I already know how to make coffee, I'm here to learn how to be an electrician, I don't know how to do that!"

His supervisor was shocked and then laughed.. "Too bloody right mate! Well said!"  and from that day on the TA made the coffee!


My boss calls me sweetheart and darling - but she is a very 'Mumsy' kind of woman and I don't mind.  She is utterly professional when it is called for and that's what counts.

When I was in hospital having my miscarriage the nurse who held my hand and said "It is not fair darling it is NOT fair!" had my eternal gratitude.


#16 la di dah

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:52 PM

I've wigged out Aussies by defaulting to sir/ma'am in work type settings but that's what I'm used to.

I don't mind dear/honey/babygirl sort of thing from waitresses/hair stylists etc. but I would find it cloying in an office environment.

I'd rather be called Ms. but that tends to not happen. I don't mind calling clients by title, I prefer the professional distance. And I found female clients especially enjoyed hearing their contractors call and ask for Dr. such-and-such and not Cindy, or whatever, as it seems people are often more willing to saw off a woman's work title than a man's.

#17 Riotproof

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:55 PM

TBH, I think it's a load of crap. Health professionals are meant to be caring, aren't they?
I think there is probably an age line, whereby if the health worker is much younger than the patient it shouldn't be used, but surely we can trust them to be the judge of that.
I don't think a term of endearment on it's own can be condescending anyway, it's the tone and body language that accompanies it.

#18 Stellajoy

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:59 PM

QUOTE
A boyfriend of mine many, many years ago.. was told on his first day of his apprenticeship by one of the TAs "Can you go and make coffee boy?"

He answered "Ah well I already know how to make coffee, I'm here to learn how to be an electrician, I don't know how to do that!"


Awesome!

I still havent tackled the guy who calls me "girly" in a REALLY condescending way. He is about 75 though and a volunteer. Im trying to get brave enough to snap back with "Ok Old man" but it would just feel so rude...ironically

#19 SnazzySass

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:01 PM

I agree that there should be a blanket rule to stop harassment or sexism but I am sad that it has to be that way. When I was hospital the most calming thing was a nurse saying “it will be alright lovie” It made me feel cared for and safe when I was really scared.

#20 KylieMin0gue

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:03 PM

I work in aged care, and residents that I know well I always call names like mate, sweetheart, handsome (for the males) etc.  They love it.  The place that I am looking after them in is effectively their home, and I find that my residents are more relaxed when the staff are down to Earth, and not formal all the time.
Of course there are some residents that like to be called Mr or Mrs such and such get called by their formal names, but most like it to be more casual.


#21 liveworkplay

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:04 PM

QUOTE
I don't think a term of endearment on it's own can be condescending anyway, it's the tone and body language that accompanies it.


Unless it is a very close relation or friend to assume a relationship with someone where a term of endearment appropriate is totally unprofessional and crossing the boundary.

I even cringe if it is the check out chick or hairdresser uses such terms. Totally over-familiar IMO.

#22 skepticaemia

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:12 PM

I think it is about the maturity to make the judgement of when it is appropriate. I always start with Mr/Mrs or Sir/Madam even. But there are plenty of instances of when I have picked my target and slipped into some of the terms above - normally to a patient who I have already progressed to hand-holding, rubs of the arm etc with. After many years, I think I pick my targets pretty well.

On the flip side, the 19 yr old hairdressing apprentice calling me "sweetie" on first contact certainly rubs me up the wrong way, as does the check out operator who I have had about 8-items-or-less worth of relationship with.

#23 Riotproof

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

QUOTE (liveworkplay @ 11/12/2012, 08:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Unless it is a very close relation or friend to assume a relationship with someone where a term of endearment appropriate is totally unprofessional and crossing the boundary.

I even cringe if it is the check out chick or hairdresser uses such terms. Totally over-familiar IMO.


The article is talking about health professionals, isn't it? The kind of people who see other people when they are scared, very unwell, in pain, vulnerable? I don't think "sweetheart" is a problem in that situation and I don't think it compares to a hairdresser calling you "honey" while blowdrying your hair.

#24 la di dah

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:32 PM

QUOTE (Riotproof @ 11/12/2012, 08:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The article is talking about health professionals, isn't it? The kind of people who see other people when they are scared, very unwell, in pain, vulnerable? I don't think "sweetheart" is a problem in that situation and I don't think it compares to a hairdresser calling you "honey" while blowdrying your hair.


Personally I'd rather hear it from the hairdresser than my doctor/nurse. shrug.gif

I like the emotional distance when I am being physically intimate with a stranger.

#25 Riotproof

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:38 PM

QUOTE (la di dah @ 11/12/2012, 08:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Personally I'd rather hear it from the hairdresser than my doctor/nurse. shrug.gif

I like the emotional distance when I am being physically intimate with a stranger.


But again, isn't that judgment? Isn't that reading body language and treating the whole person? I can't imagine someone saying something that could be construed as "personal" while performing a pap smear or breast examination, but if the patient is visibly scared, suffering from some trauma, what possible harm could a "sweetheart" do?

I'm not saying it should be open slather, but I feel it's taking away a legitimate tool to treat patients.




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