STAFF at Irish hospitals have been told they can no longer call patients by "pet names", under new Health Service Executive (HSE) guidelines.
The organisation has issued strict new rules stating that doctors and nurses should only refer to inpatients by their first name and not monikers such as "dear", "love" or "lads".
The initiative is part of a wider overhaul of communication in hospitals across the country to ensure language used by medical staff is "person-centered".
Staff have also been warned about "de-personalising" patients by referring to them by their bed number of their ailment, such as "the one with the hip".
A HSE report on the matter said: "Do we talk about 'feeding people' instead of assisting with meals or refer to someone coming back from theatre as 'the hip/the hernia/knee' etc?
"This is a powerful chance to help raise awareness of how de-personalising some commonly used language can be.
"The current activities include participants and their colleagues undertaking language exercises to look at the language they use day to day and whether or not it is person-centered."
Some 18 hospitals across the country are already adhering to the new measures, according to the Irish Daily Mail.
The guidelines are expected to be implemented at remaining Irish hospitals over the coming months.