Forms of address between patients and general practitioners is an underexplored area which may influence productive dialogue within a consultation. This article aims to describe how Australian patients prefer to be addressed by their GP, how patients prefer to address their GP, and the factors influencing these preferences.
Twenty consecutive patients of 13 randomly selected GPs (n=260) were surveyed on preferences for use of names in consultations and the factors influencing these preferences.
Ninety percent of patients prefer to be addressed by their first name. Thirty-five percent of patients prefer to call the GP by first name, 27% by title and last name, 21% by title only, and 10% by title and first name. A range of influencing factors was identified.
These findings allow GPs to feel confident in addressing their patients informally. They indicate the diversity of patient preferences for addressing their GP and the factors influencing these choices.
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