Introducing yourself to clients and other health care team members by first and last name, and professional designation is an expectation of RN, RN(AP) and RN(NP) practice. Although a small action, the professional introduction of one’s self can have significant impacts on the quality of care received by the client. Introducing yourself:
- Can help build trust and rapport with the client. Consider your own experience with engaging other professionals. For example:
- would you feel comfortable/ trust legal services from a lawyer who did not provide you with their last name or credentials?
- Informs the client who they are receiving care and/or health care services from and the education and/or professional background of the provider. Providing your first and last name and professional designation is being accountable and responsible. Consider your own experiences with receiving health care services. For example:
- When you received services, did the provider introduce themselves to you by first name, last name and designation/ role? If yes, how did this make you feel? If no, did you notice? Have you ever wondered, after the interaction, who was that, what exactly did they say and how do I get in touch with them again?
- Enables the client to check your status on Nurse Check and follow-up with you or your employer to provide feedback about your practice. The solicitation of feedback and reflective practice is an entry level competency which supports you to demonstrate accountability and continuously improve your practice.
- Promotes interprofessional collaborative care by promoting role clarity within the team.
- Consider your own experience working within a team. For example,
- Have you ever wondered if Mohammed was the Occupational Therapist, only to find out later that he was the Pharmacist?
- Reduces risk of error where multiple providers may have the same or similar first or last name. Consider your own experience. For example,
- Have you ever confused which Jen or Jordan left a handwritten note at the desk?
Recognizing the importance of professional introductions, take a moment to reflect on how you introduce yourself to clients and other health care team members.
- Do you introduce yourself by first name, last name and designation when initially meeting new clients or team members? What other information do you/could you initially provide to establish your profession and role on the team.
- Does your identification tag have your first and last name as well as designation? If not, what actions can you take to ensure your client and team members have easy access to this information (writing your full name and designation on a whiteboard, doing a full introduction routinely while providing care, writing your name down for the client if they ask for it etc.).
*RNs, RN(AP)s or RN(NP)s that work in practice settings where the use of first and last name and designation is not routine practice should carefully reflect on the conscious and unconscious bias that may be influencing their actions.
For more information on professional introductions refer to this video:
- ABCDs of Professional Introductions: Teaching Nursing Students the Most Fundamental of All Communication Skills