Introduction: The greeting is the first form of verbal and nonverbal communication and is a valuable tool to support the physician-patient relationship.
Objective: Assess parents and children preferences on how they want pediatricians greet and address them.
Material and methods: Cross-sectional study. The population was persons accompanying patients (parents or guardians) between 1 month and 19 years old and patients older than 5 years old. A survey questionnaire was completed after the medical visit.
Results: A total of 419 surveys from patients' companions and 249 from pediatric patients were analyzed; 68% of the companions preferred the doctor addressed them by the first name, 67% liked to be greeted with a kiss on the cheek and 90% liked to be treated informally. Preferring to be greeted with a kiss on the cheek was associated in multivariate analysis with the companion was the mother, age younger than 39 years and longer time in knowing the pediatrician; 60% of the patients preferred to be addressed by their first name.
Conclusions: In the outpatient setting patients companions and patients themselves prefer to be addressed by their name informally and be greeted with a kiss on the cheek.