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Pronouns in Healthcare

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Pronouns in Healthcare

It has become common for individuals to share their pronouns, including in the healthcare setting. You may notice a provider state their pronouns or ask what your pronouns are. Here are some of the most common questions about pronouns. 

What are pronouns? 

Pronouns are the gender defining words used when talking to/about a person such as she/her and him/his. Pronouns are part of someone’s gender expression, and people can have multiple sets of pronouns for themselves or none at all. Pronouns are not specific to a sexuality. 

Why are pronouns important? 

Including pronouns is important in respecting a person’s identity and creating a more welcoming space for people of all genders. Sharing pronouns is becoming common, including at Independence Health System.  

What if I use the incorrect pronoun? 

If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun when speaking with or referring to someone, you should apologize, and use the correct pronoun going forward. Mistakes do happen, but it is important to recognize it, and correct yourself. If you do not know someone’s pronouns, you can always use singular ‘they’ pronouns. 

What if someone uses the incorrect pronoun for me? 

If someone were to use your incorrect pronoun you should inform the person of the mistake. For example, if you use he/him pronouns you could say “My pronouns are he/him.” You may also suggest they use your name or singular ‘they’ pronouns. 

How can I show support? 

A simple way to show support is to cultivate a safe environment. Including pronouns on your email signature or introducing yourself with your pronouns are all steps in making it a welcoming environment.