So what do you call your friendly neighborhood doc? I've found that as I spend more time in the field I'm less formal with the healers of higher learning. I always refer to them as sir, ma'am or just plain doctor in front of patients but at the desk all bets are off.
I don know if it's my moderately cheeky nature, my anarchic attitude or my inability to remember names easily but I call every male doc either man, dude, slick, cuz (short for cousin) or by their first name. I always call women docs by their first name because I can't find a generic nickname that doesn't sound condesending. In fact I've only once been corrected by someone who wanted me to call them by her title and surname. The older docs look a little taken aback by my inpertinence but quickly get used to it. The younger docs tend to embrace it.
The people I always seem to have problems with are the older nurses. I have been told more than once that calling a doctor anything but doctor is disrespectful. I personally believe that calling everyone by first or nicknames fosters teamwork and provides a breeding ground for true interdisciplinary practice. At least that's what I'll say next time I get called on the carpet for it.
And a word to the wise, if you find yourself itching to try this in your own practice don't refer to anyone of Indian descent as Hoss (southern for horse, meaning strong guy). I don't know what it translates to, but it will get you a dirty look.