Purpose Encounters between patients and medical staff are the foundation for building the patient-medical staff relationship, which is a keystone of care. We investigated perspectives of patients, caregivers, and medical staff related to greetings in oncology practice. Methods A total of 186 patients (median age, 62 years) and 104 caregivers (median age, 54 years) visiting the outpatient clinics at the Davidoff Cancer Institute completed a questionnaire about greeting-related preferences. Similar questionnaires were completed by 93 staff members (physicians, nurses, secretaries, and psychosocial team). Results Overall, patients preferred to be addressed informally (ie, by their given name) during first and subsequent meetings with their physician (59% and 75% of patients, respectively). However, most physicians (79%) addressed patients more formally (using surname or full name). Overall, 53% of patients wanted the physician to shake their hand. Physicians reported shaking hands with their patients at the beginning (46%) or end (71%) of the first meeting. Most patients (76%) wanted physicians to formally introduce themselves (by their full name) and mention their academic degree (65%). For other oncology professionals, a majority of patients (63%) preferred an informal introduction (by given name only). No major differences were observed between patients' and caregivers' perspectives. Conclusion This survey provides insights that may help oncology professionals in building relationships with their patients. Specifically, ourfindings suggest that patients with cancer in Israel prefer a casual environment; yet, they prefer that physicians introduce themselves in a more formal manner.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy