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Tell patients your name, tweets doctor turned inpatient

Nurses and other frontline NHS staff are being asked to tell their patients their name, as part of a campaign launched by a terminally ill doctor on the popular social media website Twitter.

The “hello my name is” campaign was started by Dr Kate Granger after she became frustrated with the number of staff who failed to introduce themselves to her when she was an inpatient with post-operative sepsis at the end of August.

Dr Granger, 31, has terminal cancer but continues to work as an elderly medicine registrar. Since leaving hospital, she has started a campaign on Twitter asking NHS staff to make a pledge to introduce themselves in future to their patients.

Speaking to Nursing Times, she said: “I was approached by so many nurses who just came up to me and didn’t introduce themselves and I had to keep asking what their name was.

“This isn’t about bashing the NHS, it has saved me many times when I should have died, but I do believe we can always do better in everything we do,” she said. “I am trying to make a positive quality improvement.”

She added: “It is an easy free thing to do that doesn’t take 10 seconds.”

Dr Granger told Nursing Times she had been “amazed” by the positive response so far to her initiative, adding that she was particularly pleased that so many students had “got on board with the idea”.

You can support Dr Granger’s campaign on Twitter by sending her a message at @GrangerKate, including your name and the phrase #hellomynameis.

It has already been endorsed by several senior nurses at NHS England, including chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and head of commissioning (nursing) Michelle Mello, as well as Department of Health director of nursing Viv Bennett.  

In a post on Twitter this week, Ms Cummings said: “Hi Kate, my name is Jane and I am the CNO. I hope you feel better soon and that everyone you meet says #hellomynameis. Thanks for highlighting.”

Readers' comments (25)

  • Tiger Girl

    The interesting bit is that the behaviour of the nurses seems wrong to a practising medic, after the medic 'turns into a patient'. It is very easy to become overly focused on what is, to paraphrase an in-vogue term, 'silo thinking'.

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  • Kate defiantly has a point. I often phone wards to get patient information I will have to ask for the name of the person I am speaking to. This will often be met with Nurse ! When asked again it is given reluctantly I have introduced myself its only common courtesy to tell someone your name. Lets treat patients and other professionals with respect !!

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  • polly mitchell

    I see this all the time! It is important and it's simple! Its obviously not just nurses that do this! It is just talking to people as you would like to be spoken to - pretty basic. I think it is also part of feeling important, sometimes Docs introduce themselves to promote a sense of grandeur - you miss the name and hear about six titles! Nurses have a LOT to be proud of and so saying 'hello my name is X and I'm your nurse' should feel good!

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  • I strugle to understand as to why a nurse or indeed anyone would not introduce themselves? I fully understand we are all busy and working beyond our individual capacity but a fundamental basis of introduction? And unfortunatly I believe the culprits are not newly qualified too!

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  • Don't need no campaigns!

    Fancy senior nurses having to tell nurses or anybody else to introduce themselves! Maybe they also need somebody to remind them what their name and role is while they are at it although for most of us it is an automatism and something one doesn't normally even need to think about or is it another generation thing and current fashion not to tell others who your are?

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  • Obviously, this must happen in pockets. I work in a massive inner city teaching hospital and we always introduce ourselves, always have (even us evil 'not newly qualified'). I've been a patient in other areas of the hospital and those looking after me have always introduced themselves. I didn't realise it was an issue.

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  • I have a niece in her twenties who also has a genetic deletion whereby she has special needs. My neice is articulate and more then capable of developing relationships with people from all walks of life. Recently she was admitted to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth under the care of the on call surgical team. Not one member of the team including the Consultant and nursing staff introduced themselves or actually spoke directly to my neice. A promised dietition referral did not materialise, a Doctor told her not to eat McDonalds ! this would be a rare treat for her as there is not a McDonalds resteraunt witin 10 miles of her community living home. My neice was also told off by a Doctor for calling a 999 ambulance and also told not to do it again. My neice lives in Social Service Community living accommadation and has a life line since overnight cover has been withdrawn due to austerity cuts. My neice has never called an ambulance rather the lifeline service decides if this is necessary. I was appalled at the way my neice and her family were treated.
    However a subsequent emergency admission under the medical team to the same hospital with an accompanying disbability nurse has been more than satisfactory for my neice and her family. I have worked in the NHS for over 30 years and Surgical teams have traditionally been recognised as arrogant. In the year 2013 surgeons should recognise patients of all abilities have human rights and should be treated with dignity, and consulted over decisions being made for them. I felt the Surgical team should have researched the Syndrome my neice has and built a rapport and relationship with her. The NHS has heavily invested money in IT systems so that Doctors have a wealth of medical information. There is no excuse for the way my neice was treated. I support the introduce yourself campaign wholeheartedly.

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  • Your issues appear to have been about far more than staff introducing themselves. Hopefully, you complained to the hospital.

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  • I trained as a nurse in the UK, but have spent most of my career in the USA. When I first came to the US I found the casual atmosphere a little disorienting. Nurses would answer the phone and say simply "Hi 3NW this is Jane", nurses always introduced themselves to patients/families by their first name. Recently on a trip home to see my family my husband was admitted for emergency surgery when I had trained and I found it very hard - I had no idea who my husband's nurse - and niether did he beyond "I think it is the young nurse with blonde hair" and even when I called "Ward 36 Staff speaking" seemed so cold and formal. It takes less than a minute to introduce yourself, and make things feel a little more user friendly...

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  • This is quite interesting. I always introduce myself to the patient using my first name and tell them that I am the nurse in charge of their care today. I then find out how the patient likes to be addressed and away we go. All my colleagues do the same. No big deal. A while ago, there was quite a heated NT online debate about the informality of nurses and I got pelters for being so informal. The 'unprofessional' word was even thrown at me!

    I just see it as part of my job, but I do think that if we are going to have campaigns, then they should about much more important issues.

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  • George Kuchanny

    Not introducing yourself by name only tells the recipient of conversation one thing. 'Warning - Silo Mentality'. Much more so if it is a doctor. Newly qualified doctors get given a nice little rubber stamp with name and GMC number on it to whack their med note entries with. Nice and clear. What happens? Yep round the block 100 times jaded consultant tells them not to bother and nice stamp goes into the bin. Silo mentality right enough.

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  • I work in a children's Day Care ward and we have a very limited time to get to know our patients and prep them for procedures. First thing I say is 'my name is Jo and I am the Nurse looking after you all today, and you are? This clears all potential misunderstandings viz who is who in the family and seems to make them feel at ease. We tell them when we go off the ward that we have a colleague nurse 'x' who can be called if they need help. This buddy system covers breaks for taking/collecting from theatre and works very well. What's the problem? Are people worried about being identified as the HCP responsible for someone's care? If so, then maybe that's the real issue? Basic common courtesy, together with a professional attitude to the patients needs is all that's needed.

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  • This is hardly ground breaking...I have had the courtesy to introduce myself to patients ever since I started in 1977....

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  • I think it's important not just to tell patients our names but our roles. I hear all sorts of hospital staff saying "hi I'm Clare / Steve" etc.. but the patient might not have a clue what that persons role is.

    I have always stated not just who I am but what I am to the patient. My husband is a consultant, he does not tell patients his first name which I think is fair enough if he doesn't want to, he will say "hello I'm Dr x and I'm your consultant".

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  • Why does this need an article and so many comments. surely introducing yourself is fundamental to any human contact for the first time and with strangers.

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  • Introducing yourself and your role may be fundamental, but the facts speak for themselves, it is not happening routinely otherwise it wouldn't have been raised in the first place.

    To dismiss Kate Granger's campaign is to ignore that what should be fundamental quite clearly isn't - we should be listening to all feedback and acting on it.

    If this debate, triggered by what some seem to be deriding as unnecessary, stimulates us to think about this and the possibly more serious underlying issues, then this has to be a good thing.

    @GrangerKate, I hear you!

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  • Anonymous | 17-Sep-2013 2:10 pm

    can't argue with that and as you say all constructive feedback is vital, as is acting meaningfully upon it.

    I am not deriding anything but didn't see something I take totally for granted as a problem with others. I just haven't experienced this poor element of human behaviour considered by most quite natural and spontaneous and doesn't normally even require thinking about (although modern technology, mobile phones and the effects of pressure and stress brought about by poor healthcare management seem to have caused some people to focus their attention elsewhere). that apart, how else can one act when confronted by another human being without addressing them. Smiling, open gestures, hand shaking, introductions, etc. are all part of the human condition used in one form or another since time began to signal to others an absence of hostility unless, of course, individuals have other intentions which hopefully is not the case in healthcare no matter how you might feel about the other unless they are about to attack you!

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  • Anonymous | 17-Sep-2013 2:10 pm

    There's the problem. No one was 'deriding' anything. Some people simply have a different view of what others have said. No need to get snippy.

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  • Anonymous | 17-Sep-2013 5:15 pm

    I agree. Taking a different view isn't the same as dismissing the subject out of hand, as anon 2.10pm appears to be suggesting. There are much bigger problems facing patients and healthcare workers which could do with some organised campaigns. Of course, we should introduce ourselves to patients. But I think that it would be much more beneficial to patients if we stopped engaging in behaviours which harm them. Like tolerating dangerously low staffing levels, putting up with unacceptable working conditions and nurses working themselves into stressful states. Let's have some campaigns about those.

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  • I always ensure that I give patients a name when I meet them. Just not my own. I don't want them trying to distract me from all my very important paperwork and box ticking. I also wear dark glasses, as I don't want them recognising me, following me around and asking for things. They can be a wee bit clingy that way.

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