Over the years, Marketing and Communications has developed a preferred style for the punctuation and use of many titles and terms used throughout Seattle Children’s. In conjunction with our preferred style, we use the Associated Press style, which is considered the authoritative word for journalists on the rules of grammar, punctuation and usage. For medical references, we use Stedman’s Medical Dictionary for spelling of all diseases, disorders, syndromes, etc. (The Associated Press Stylebook can be purchased at major bookstores or ordered through the Associated Press, AP News features, 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020; it is also available as an online resource. Visit the Associated Press Stylebook. Below is an alphabetical listing of style guidelines as they are applied when writing about Children’s.
A B C
Academic, courtesy and job titles (see also first name vs. last name) | Academic publications, citing for (print and digital communications) | Acronyms | Addresses, style of | Ages | Ampersand (&), use of | Apostrophes, use of | Area, or zone, names | Autism spectrum disorder | Blind | Braille | Breastfed | Bullets | Campus and building names | Capitalization | Caregiver | CEO (see Seattle Children’s executive staff) | Charitable Trusts | Chairperson | Citations (see “Academic publications, citing“) | Clinical programs and sub-specialty programs names | Clinical Trials | Commas (see “Serial commas“) | Composition Titles | Contractions
D E F
Dashes | Dates and Date Ranges | Daycare | Deaf and hard of hearing | Dietitian | Disciplines | Disease names | Down syndrome | e.g. and i.e., use of | Email | Family-centered care | First name vs. last name | Flyer | Follow-up | Fundraising | Fundraiser
G H I
Gender (see “Male and female) | Geographic regions | Hand washing | Headers, web content (see Capitalization) | Headlines | Healthcare | Healthy vs. healthful | Hyphens | I-131-MIBG therapy | Initials | Internet | It’s vs. its
J K L
M N O
Mailstops | Male and female | Medical conditions names (see also Disease names) | Medical conditions and people first language (see also People first language) | Medical dictionary reference | Medical terminology | Monetary units | Months | Nonprofit | Numerals | Numerals (using numerals to improve readability) | Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic | OK
P Q R
Percentages | Pharmaceutical (drug) names |Phases of clinical trials (see “Clinical Trials“) | Physician assistant | Plain language | Pronoun usage (see “Male and female”) | Rankings | Referring to a patient’s condition (see also People first language) Room numbers
S T U
Seasons | Seattle Children’s boards | Seattle Children’s departments | Seattle Children’s executive staff | Seattle Children’s facilities, including regional clinics – addresses and location names | Seattle Children’s Healthcare System | Seattle Children’s name | Seattle Children’s Research Institute Discovery Portal | Serial commas | Spelling reference | State names | Stem cell transplant | Suicide, writing or speaking about | T cell and T-Cell | Telephone/fax numbers | That vs. who – use of | Time of day | Titles, job titles, courtesy titles, academic titles and degrees (see also first name vs. last name) | Undercompensated | URLs
V W X Y Z
Seattle Children’s follows a modified PubMed style for referencing/citing academic articles.
- Last name, then first and middle initials, with no comma separating
- In printed materials, list all authors if there are six or fewer; list the first three authors followed by “et al.” if there are seven or more.
- For digital communications, list all authors; if space is limited, follow the guideline for print.
- If the Seattle Children’s author(s) is not one of the first three authors listed, use ellipses between the third author and the Seattle Children’s authors.
- Comma between author names with period after last author.
- Bold the names of authors affiliated with Seattle Children’s.
- Article title in sentence case followed by a period (unless other punctuation is at the end of the title).
- Link to article whenever possible.
- Journal name abbreviated and italicized (use the approved PubMed abbreviations and followed by a period.
- Year (and abbreviated month if there is one) then a semi-colon for edition, then colon for pages. No spaces before or after semi-colons and colons.
Speltz ML, Kapp-Simon KA, Cunningham M, et al. Single-suture craniosynostosis: a review of neurobehavioral research and theory. J Pediatr Psychol. 2004 Dec;29(8):651-68.
Speltz ML, Kapp-Simon KA, Cunningham M, Marsh J, Dawson G, Fisch-Coydan JJ, Lukoff BD. Single-suture craniosynostosis: a review of neurobehavioral research and theory. J Pediatr Psychol. 2004 Dec;29(8):651-68.
Homayounfar N, Park SS, Afsharinejad Z,…Cunningham ML. Single-suture craniosynostosis: a review of neurobehavioral research and theory. J Pediatr Psychol. 2004 Dec;29(8):651-68.
On first reference, use the entire name, followed by the acronym in parentheses. On subsequent references, use only the acronym.
Example: An echocardiogram (ECG) is a painless test. We give 20 ECGs a day.
For U.S. Mail: DO NOT use periods in addresses on mail to be sent through the U.S. postal system.
Example: Seattle Children’s M/S X-XXXX PO Box 5371 Seattle, WA 98145-5005
In Print: Abbreviate compass points when part of a numbered address, but do not use periods (e.g., NE, SE, etc.).
Example: Seattle Children’s physical address is 4800 Sand Point Way NE.
Use abbreviations for Ave., St., Blvd., etc., only with a numbered address; spell out when used with street name only.
Example: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but Pennsylvania Avenue
Always use figures for address numbers.
Example: 4800 Sand Point Way NE
- Always use numerals for ages.
- Use hyphens when using age as a descriptor before a noun or as a substitute for a noun.
- When necessary for clinical accuracy, use fractions to indicate partial years.
The boy is 5
The 5-year-old boy
An appointment is needed at age 5 1/2.
When expressing an age range, use “to” in a sentence or a title and a hyphen when showing ages in a list.
Correct: The game is appropriate for children 8 to 11.
Correct: The game is appropriate for:
- Children 8-12
- Teens 13-17
It’s also OK to use a construction such as “children under age 5” or “children age 10 and older” to indicate a range.
Incorrect: Do not use references to “aged,” (e.g., “Children aged 10 and older.”).
Ampersand (&), use of
Do not use ampersands (&) in place of the word “and” unless it is part of a formal name, such as U.S. News & World Report. Seattle Children’s does not use ampersands in names of programs and services.
Correct: Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center opened in 2010.
Incorrect: Scott & Jim went to the store.
Correct: U.S. News & World Report ranks Seattle Children’s one of the best pediatric hospitals in the nation.
Apostrophes are used in only two cases: to signify that a letter has been omitted (contractions) and to signify possession.
Correct: It’s a random occurrence, but there’s a reason for everything.
Correct: The dog’s dish of water was spilled by the child.
Incorrect: Its not funny when someone falls.
Incorrect: The photo’s are for sale.
Each area of the hospital is called a “zone.” The zone names are Forest, River, Mountain and Ocean. Each has a unique icon and artwork. Always capitalize the name of the zone; the word “zone” is not capitalized.
Example: River zone
First use: autism spectrum disorder; subsequent use: autism
Do not use autistic or ASD
In headlines or social posts where brevity is paramount, it is OK to use autism
Use “blind” (lowercase) when referring to a person without sight. Use “low vision” or “partially sighted” rather than “visually impaired.” Do not use “blind” by itself to refer to a group of people. Instead use “blind people,” “blind community,” etc. Use of “deaf-blind” is appropriate; capitalize when referring to a specific person or group of people. (e.g.,: “a fundraising event for the Deaf-Blind community”).
The general term “braille” is no longer capitalized.
One word, no hypens. Also breastfed, breastfeeding and breastmilk.
Use bullets only when they add to the readability of material. Don’t substitute a bullet when subheading is needed. Bullets should be used to introduce individual elements of a list. Capitalize the first word following the bullet. When each bulleted item is a complete sentence, capitalize the first letter and put a period at the end. Do not punctuate bulleted items that are not, by themselves, complete sentences. However, if the list is a mix of complete sentences and fragments, put a period at the end of each bullet point. Note: It’s preferred to have all bullets in a list be either complete sentences or sentence fragments.
Example of bullets as complete sentences:
How you can protect patient privacy:
- Conduct conversations with or about patients as privately as possible.
- Keep patient lists and medical records in a secure location.
- Provide information on a need-to-know basis.
Example of bullets that are not complete sentences:
This evaluation can be validated by:
- Employee’s continuing education
- Written tests
- Direct observation
Example of bullets that are a mix of complete sentences and fragments:
- White blood cells, which fight infection.
- Red blood cells, which carry oxygen.
- Platelets, which help blood to clot and stop bleeding.
- All 3 kinds of blood cells. Low levels cause aplastic anemia.
Consider if a bulleted list is necessary when the items are single words.
Wash your hands to avoid spreading:
Wash your hands to avoid spreading germs, bacteria and viruses.
Seattle Children’s Hospital main campus (Seattle Children’s, Laurelhurst campus and main campus are OK when communicating to internal audiences):
- Jack R. MacDonald Building (formerly Building 1)
- For logo construction and signage, see Seattle Children’s Research Institute logo suite
- In text, on first reference use Jack R. MacDonald Building. On subsequent reference use the MacDonald building (don’t capitalize building)
- Jack R. MacDonald Building (formerly Building 1)
Example: Most of the bench research at Seattle Children’s takes place in the MacDonald building.
- In headlines use MacDonald Building (initial cap building because it’s in a headline)
- Janet Sinegal Patient Care Building
- Melinda French Gates Ambulatory Care Building
- 70th and Sand Point
- Seattle Children’s Research Institute
- Olive Lab
- West 8th
- Metropolitan Park West or Met Park West
See specific topic areas for direction regarding capitalization of titles and disciplines. For headlines, use title case (capitalize the first and last words of the title and all of the verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs as well as words that are four or more letters long).
“ALL CAPS” give the impression that you are screaming at the reader, and that’s not the impression we want to leave with our internal or external audiences. Exclamation marks (which give the same effect) are also not part of our usual brand.
Correct: New England Patriots Win Super Bowl
Correct: Patriots Steal Victory From Falcons
Incorrect: GENEROUS DONOR BEQUEATHS $10 MILLION
Incorrect: Great Strides Made in Diabetes Research!
For subheads, use sentence case (capitalize the first word and any proper nouns)
Example: Come from behind win shocks Falcons
For sidebar headlines, use title case. In a headline or title, all elements of a hyphenated word should be capitalized (except for articles, short prepositions and short conjunctions).
Workshop Scheduled for Spanish-Speaking Staff
Up-to-Date Analytics Explained
Status Remains Touch-and-Go
Within a sentence, only capitalize the elements of a hyphenated word or phrase that are proper nouns (e.g., mid-September; English-speaking). Do not capitalize the short forms of organizational names.
Correct: Please meet me at the hospital’s main campus.
Incorrect: Please meet me at the Hospital’s main campus.
Correct: He is the center’s new director.
Incorrect: He is the Center’s new director.
Web-specific header guidelines for seattlechildrens.org (see also Interactive Guidelines):
- For page titles, use title case. Example: “Drowning Prevention and Water Safety for All Ages”
- For paragraph headers (H2), use title case unless the heading is in the form of a question . Example: “Have Fun and Be Safe” but “Can you have fun and be safe?”
- For accordion expandable headers, use sentence case with no period. Example: “Our approach means fewer surgeries”
- For paragraph sub-heads (H3), use sentence case with no period. Example: “Find a CCTR faculty member by last name”
- For “right-nav module” headers (modules featured in the right column), use title case. Example: “Passion for Prevention”
- For “call to action” links at the end of a content blurb, whether in the left or right column, use sentence case with no period. Example: “Download a donation form”; “Start a guild”; “Donate a vehicle”
- For buttons, use title case. Example: “Learn More” button at the bottom of the right-nav “Passion for Prevention” module.
One word, no hyphen
In general, use the full name of the charitable trust on the first reference.
Example: Jack R. MacDonald Charitable Trust
It is preferred to indicate the specific trust on the second reference rather than to just say “the trust”.
Example: the MacDonald Trust
The correct title for an elected head of a Seattle Children’s board is “chairperson,” but Children’s follows the preference (“chair,” chairman” or “chairwoman”) of the individual who holds the chair position. Use the full name of the board on first reference to avoid confusion among the different boards.
Use Seattle Children’s as the institutional umbrella for names of clinical programs and sub-programs.
Correct: Seattle Children’s Pancreatitis Clinic Incorrect: Seattle Children’s Gastroenterology and Hepatology’s Pancreatitis Clinic
Correct: Seattle Children’s Spine Program Incorrect: Seattle Children’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine’s Spine Program
Note: To avoid confusion when a reader may need to know the physical location of the clinic or program, consider saying, “Seattle Children’s Pancreatitis Clinic located within Gastroenterology and Hepatology”
Note: Avoid using “at” to identify the location of a clinic or program within Seattle Children’s. The use of “at” indicates that Seattle Children’s is providing services within a different healthcare system.
Example: Seattle Children’s Neonatology at Franciscan Health System
Please note that the words “clinic”, “program” and “center” are only capitalized when used as part of a proper name.
Example: Dietitians in our Celiac Program will help your family adjust to a gluten-free life. We created the Northwest’s first dedicated program for children with celiac disease.
Clinical trials are research studies that test whether a medication, treatment or medical device is safe and effective for people, and whether it is better than current treatment practices. When writing about a specific phase of a clinical trial in a sentence, use a lower “p” in phase with a numeral.
Example: In a phase 1 clinical trial, researchers test the safety of a new treatment or medicine.
Seattle Children’s departs from AP Style for composition titles.
Use italics for titles of complete works (such as books, movies, magazines, and journals, with the exception of religious works, like the Bible, and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material, like almanacs and dictionaries, etc.). Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Capitalize an article – the, a, an – or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.
Use quotation marks around article or chapter titles, song titles and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art. Same rules of capitalization apply.
Gone With the Wind
“The Star Spangled Banner”
The NBC-TV Today program
Webster’s New World Dictionary
Use contractions with discretion; consider tone and audience.
Use dashes to denote an abrupt change in thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause.
We will fly to Paris in June – if I get the reservations.
Smith offered a plan – it was unprecedented – to raise revenues.
Put a space on both sides of a dash in all uses. In Word, a dash is created by typing the hyphen key twice. For more information on using dashes, refer to The Associated Press Stylebook.
Write dates without “st,” “nd,” or “th.”
Example: We will hold the meeting May 2.
When referencing a specific day and year, abbreviate all months except March, April, May, June and July. Spell out all months when using alone or with only a year.
Correct: Sept. 27, 2013 or September 2013
Incorrect: September 27, 2013 or Sept. 2013
Do not abbreviate days of the week. Use a comma after the date and year when a year is written.
Example: March 2, 2011,
Do not use a comma when specifying a month and a year.
Example: March 2011 (not March, 2011)
Format for events is day, month, date, time, place.
Example: Thursday, Nov. 2, 4 p.m., at the Northgate Mall
For date ranges, use “to” to indicate a time span. Include the month before each date.
The conference is scheduled for March 6 to March 9.
The exhibit is open April 18 to May 3.
Seattle Children’s departs from AP Style for the spelling of daycare.
One word (noun or adjective)
Use “deaf” (lowercase) when using a general term for hearing loss. Use “hard of hearing” (lowercase) when referring to partial hearing loss. Capitalize “Deaf” when referring to a person or the culture of people who are deaf. Do not use “deaf” by itself to refer to a group of people.
Correct: “Deaf people” or “the Deaf community”
Incorrect: “the deaf”
Use dietitian (it’s the American spelling of the word; dietician is the British spelling)
Capitalize the name of a discipline within a sentence only if the name is a proper noun.
He is a professor of pediatrics. She is a professor of English.
Diseases and conditions named for the individual who identified them (such as Hodgkin lymphoma, Parkinson disease and Down syndrome) do not take an apostrophe. Check Stedman’s online medical dictionary for guidance.
Correct: Hodgkin lymphoma
Incorrect: Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Not “Down’s Syndrome.” Defer to the current edition of Stedman’s Medical Dictionary for spelling of all diseases, disorders, syndromes, etc.
The abbreviation e.g. is Latin for “exempli gratia” meaning “for example.” The abbreviation i.e. stands for the Latin “id est,” meaning “that is to say.” Use e.g. to specify a few examples of something. Use i.e. to further clarify something.
We like vegetables – e.g., broccoli, green beans and cauliflower.
We like all vegetables – i.e., we’re healthy eaters.
The word “email” is no longer hyphenated. “Email” is capitalized only when it begins a sentence. In online text, email addresses should be contained within a natural language link rather than written out.
Correct: Email us to find out more. Correct: Contact John Smith to find out more.
Incorrect: To find out more contact John Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In print, do not underline email addresses. It is also necessary to write out the email address.
Hyphenate “family-centered; capitalize only at the beginning of a sentence.
For internal communications, use a person’s first and last name in the first instance, and their first name in all subsequent instances. For external communications, use a person’s first and last name in the first instance, and their last name without courtesy titles (Mrs., Mr., Ms., Miss) in all subsequent instances. When it is necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name, as in married couples or brothers and sisters, use the first and last name. In stories involving juveniles, Seattle Children’s style is to refer to them by first name if they are under 21 years of age in all subsequent instances.
First reference: Dr. John Doe is the ARTist of the Month.
Second reference in InHouse: John is a team player and a great guy.
Second reference in external publications: Doe is a team player and a great guy.
One word (noun)
Two words, hyphenated.
This visit is a follow-up. (noun)
The patient needed a follow-up visit. (adj.)
In general, lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, etc., when they indicate a compass direction. Capitalize these words when they designate a region. (Check out the AP Stylebook entry “directions and regions” for more details on this topic)
Correct: Seattle Children’s North Clinic provides expert care closer to home for families in North King County.
Correct: The summer storm is moving east. Showers and thunderstorms are expected in the Northeast by late morning.
Two separate words; takes a hyphen when used as a compound modifier (e.g., hand-washing campaign).
Capitalize all words except articles and prepositions that have three or fewer letters. Capitalize an article (the, an, a) or a word with fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title. Always use Arabic numbers (figures) in headlines.
Daylight Saving Time Goes Into Effect Monday
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Now Is the Time to Vote
Parents of Children With Feeding Tubes Work With Hospital to Produce Long-Term Change
A Mother’s Reflections About Her Family’s Experience
Seahawks Win 3 Games in a Row
Seattle Children’s 5th in Research Funding
Seattle Children’s departs from AP Style for the spelling of healthcare.
One word in all instances.
Where multiple providers are intended, use “healthcare providers.”
Children’s preference is to use “healthy” as an adjective.
For information on when and how to capitalize hyphenated words, see “Capitalization.” Hyphens should be used to:
- Avoid ambiguity: “The president will speak to small-business men.” (“Businessmen” is normally one word, but in the context of this sentence, “small” could refer to the physical size of the business owners rather than the size of the business).
- Make compound modifiers. When a compound modifier of two or more words that express a single concept precedes a noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound except the adverb “very” and all adverbs that end in “ly”: a first-quarter touchdown, a bluish-green dress, a very good time, an easily remembered rule, etc.
- Avoid duplicated vowels, tripled consonants. Examples: anti-intellectual, pre-empt, shell-like.
- In headlines, capitalize the second word of a hyphenated word for ease of reading.
Example: New Leadership Re-Energizes the Workplace
Retain the hyphen with the prefix “co-” when forming nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status, such as “co-author,” “co-director,” “co-chair” or “co-payment.” Do not use a hyphen to replace the word “to” when referring to ranges of numbers or time. Seattle Children’s preferred style is to use the word “to” rather than a hyphen, except in a bulleted list. (See also “Ages.”)
Example: The study will take 15 to 18 years.
For more on hyphens, see The Associated Press Stylebook.
I-131-MIBG therapy is a type of radiation therapy used to treat cancers like neuroblastoma and some tumors of the adrenal glands.
Use periods and no space when an individual uses initials instead of a first name.
Example: H.L. Mencken
- “internet” no longer takes a capital “I.”
- “World Wide Web” is the proper noun for a global system linking documents, images, sounds and other files across the internet.
- “web,” “website,” “webcam,” “webcast,” “webmaster,” “webpage” and “webfeed” are all single words and are capitalized only when starting a sentence
- “Email” stands for “electronic mail.” The “e” is capitalized only when it begins a sentence.
- “Online” is one word, no hyphen, and capitalized only when it starts a sentence.
“It’s” stands for “it is”; “its” is possessive.
Correct: It’s not my fault.
Correct: Its teeth were the size of my hand.
Incorrect: Its a beautiful day for a picnic.
Incorrect: It’s tiny wings were very fragile.
Use italics when using Latin names in web content Example: We have exploited the animal model C. elegans to examine this problem.
Two words, no hyphen
Two words, hyphenated. Do not use “limb-saving” or “limb salvage.”
Refer to the list in the Phone Directory on CHILD (accessed through the CHILD home page) for an up-to-date listing of mailstops.
Avoid sexist references. Gender-specific pronouns should be used specifically, not generally. For example, “A good doctor keeps his patients’ medical records in order,” can be restated: “A good doctor keeps orderly medical records.” If the sentence cannot be rewritten to make it gender neutral, it’s OK to use “their” for a singular reference. For example: “Every child has their own favorite toy.” Do not write “he/she” or “his/hers.”
- It is appropriate to use gendered pronouns (“he/she” or “his/hers”) when writing about conditions that are specific to males or females.
Seattle Children’s standard for referencing medical conditions and spellings is Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary is also helpful.
Consider the audience when using medical terminology. In general, use the lay term first; put the medical term in parentheses if it is needed. For an audience of medical professionals, use the precise medical term.
Use figures and the appropriate symbol, e.g., $10.58. Where no cents are indicated, do not use the trailing zeros.
Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. (Spell out when using alone, or with only a year.) When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas.
Correct: Nov. 5, 2011; November 2011; March 4, 2011; March 2011
Incorrect: Dec. 2011; Apr. 2011; April, 2011
In tabular material (content arranged in table format), use three-letter forms without a period.
Examples: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
Preferred over “not-for-profit”
(We have a second standard for content intended specifically for patients and families. See entry below “Using numerals to improve readability”) Spell out whole numbers one through nine. Use figures for 10 and above. Use figures whenever preceding a unit of measure or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things. Express mixed numbers, including ages, with fractions with a full space between the whole number and fraction. When using figures, make sure the “st” or “th” are not superscript (even though Microsoft Word will autocorrect to superscript) Express mixed numbers, including ages, with fractions. Always use numerals for hospital floor numbers, e.g., 6th floor, and for process steps, e.g., Step 1.
The woman has three sons and two daughters.
He has a fleet of 10 station wagons and two buses.
He got it right the first time.
By the 10th time, it was a habit.
The ladder was 12 1/2 feet tall.
In headlines, use figures for ordinal numbers, e.g., Seattle Children’s 5th in Research Funding. Use 1st, 2nd, etc. when the sequence has been assigned in the form of a name.
Sentence start: Spell out a numeral at the beginning of a sentence. If necessary, revise the sentence. (One exception: a numeral that identifies a calendar year.)
Correct: 1996 was a very good year.
Incorrect: 993 freshmen entered the college last year.
Correct: Last year, 993 freshmen entered the college.
For more on the use of numerals, see The Associated Press Stylebook.
To improve clarity and ease of reading for patient education materials and for the Medical Conditions, Clinics/Programs and Safety/Wellness sections of seattlechildrens.org, follow these guidelines. (Note: Content created for other purposes should follow the guidelines in Numerals entry above): Use figures when indicating quantities, durations, units of measure and ages, even when less than 10.
To diagnose your child, our team will do 1 or more of the following:
There are 2 ways to determine the stage of neuroblastoma in children.
Over the past 5 years, we have cared for 11 children with Muenke syndrome.
Usually, surgery takes less than 3 hours. Your child usually will stay in the hospital 1 to 2 nights.
Spell out “one” if it is used as a pronoun.
Example: Healing happens faster when we are kind to one another.
Spell out if the number is the first word of a sentence.
Example: One parent may stay overnight at a time.
Use numbers and fractions for nutrition or recipe measurements in all instances.
Example: 3/4 tsp.
Use abbreviations with no periods for units of measurement.
Example: Give 10 mg of Ritalin after breakfast.
Provide common equivalents when using ounces.
Example: Give with 1 cup (8 oz.) of water.
Note a child’s weight in both pounds and kilograms.
Example: Child’s weight is between 44 to 87 lbs. or 20 to 40 kg.
Use numerals for procedural steps or medicine instructions and time measurements.
Example: 1. Remove the cap on the spacer’s mouthpiece.
Example: Take 1 pill before bedtime each day for 1 week.
Use numerals for medicine instructions and include ml equivalent on any liquid medicine measurement.
Example: Give 5 ml Tylenol.
Use ratios instead of % to express natural frequencies.
Correct: 1 in 4 American women will die from heart disease.
Incorrect: Women in the U.S. have a 25% chance of dying from heart disease.
Do not use symbols to describe quantities (e.g., < and > or ≤ or ≥). Instead, use words to describe your meaning.
Example: Serve 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
First use: Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic; subsequent use: OBCC When needed, use the approved OBCC/Seattle Children’s co-branded logo, available on the partnership logo usage page.
Both letters capitalized in all instances. Do not use “ok” or “okay.”
Put the individual before the medical issue when noting that someone has a condition, illness, disease or disability.
Correct: Children with autism benefit from early diagnosis and treatment.
Incorrect: Autistic children benefit from early diagnosis and treatment.
Use the % sign when paired with a numeral. Do not put a space between the numeral and the percent sign.
Example: Average hourly pay rose 2.1% from a year ago.
Sentences with the % sign take a singular verb when a singular word follows an of construction. It takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an of construction.
Examples: She said 50% of the membership was there.
He said 50% of the members were there.
Use the percent sign with each individual figure when expressing a range.
Example: Only 50% to 60% of the electorate turned out to vote.
Use decimals, not fractions.
Example: The mortgage rate is 4.25%
Capitalize the word; no trademark is needed.
As with all job titles, this one is lowercase when it is used alone or follows a name; it is uppercase when it directly precedes a name. Not “physicians assistant” or “physician’s assistant.”
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Plain language is communication your audience can understand the first time they read it. See Make It Easy to Read for tips on using plain language. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Everyday Words for Public Health Communication has accurate, simple options for common healthcare terms.
Seattle Children’s style is to use the number sign and a numeral to designate a position in a scale of achievement or status in both headlines and running text (this differs from AP Style). For ordinal numbers, our style is to write out first through ninth in running text, and use figures in headlines.
Examples for running text:
Seattle Children’s is the #5 pediatric hospital in the nation.
Seattle Children’s is the fifth best pediatric hospital in the nation.
Examples for headlines:
We Are #5!
We Are 5th Best!
Seattle Children’s uses a letter and number identifier to express room numbers. The letters indicate the zone (R= River, O=Ocean, M=Mountain, F=Forest). The first numerical digit indicates the level, the second number group indicates the specific room.
Example: RB.7. 333 is room 333 on the 7th level in sub-zone B of the River zone.
Do not capitalize in text.
Example: The conference is next spring.
These are the correct titles of Seattle Children’s boards: Seattle Children’s Healthcare System Board of Trustees Seattle Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation Board of Trustees Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association Board of Trustees Seattle Children’s Research Institute Advisory Board The name of a board is capitalized when it appears in its entirety. The words “board” or “board of trustees” are not capitalized when they appear separate from “Seattle Children’s.”
The Seattle Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees approved the resolution.
The board approved the measure.
When writing to an external audience, always use “Seattle Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees” on first reference. When writing to an internal audience, it is OK to shorten to “Children’s Board of Trustees.”
Capitalize names of specific departments, organizational units or process areas.
Examples: Human Resources Department, Business Services Department, etc.
Capitalize department or process area names when they are used as proper nouns, even when “Department” is not used.
Example: “Jane Doe directs the payroll process” but “Jane Doe, director, Payroll”
Capitalize clinics when the name is used as a proper noun.
Example: Asthma Clinic
When the word “department” or “division” is used alone, it is not capitalized.
Example: The department manager is responsible for enforcing the policy.
When used in a generic sense, “medical staff” is not capitalized.
Example: The medical staff includes primary care physicians and specialists.
On second reference, department names may be shortened.
“PT” instead of “Physical Therapy”
“IS” instead of “Information Services Department”
Follow this format (order and style of punctuation) when listing Seattle Children’s executive staff in a continuous line format in publications and online.
Jeff Sperring, MD, CEO, Seattle Children’s
James Hendricks, PhD, President, Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Douglas Picha, President, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation
Cara Bailey, MBA, Senior Vice President, Chief Innovation and Improvement Officer
Suzanne Beitel, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Zafar Chaudry, MD, MS, MIS, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Mark Del Beccaro, MD, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
Myra Gregorian, MA, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer
Lisa Hayward, MHA, JD, Senior Vice President, General Counsel
Sanford Melzer, MD, MBA, Executive Vice President, Networks and Population Health
Madlyn Murrey, RN, MN, Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer
Jeffrey Ojemann, MD, Senior Vice President, Interim Surgeon in Chief
Leslie Walker-Harding, MD, Senior Vice President, Chief Academic Officer
Russ Williams, MHA, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
In a listing, use space or rule to set Dr. Sperring off from everyone else. He is followed by the two presidents. The presidents are followed by hospital executives in alphabetical order. Please note that their titles are uppercase when in a listing, yet lowercase in a sentence.
Hospital Campus: mailing addresses M/S X-XXXX PO Box 5371 Seattle, WA 98145-5005 www.seattlechildrens.org
Hospital Campus: physical address and phones 4800 Sand Point Way NE Seattle, WA 98105 206-987-2000 (main number) 866-987-2000 (toll-free) 866-583-1527 (Spanish-speaking families)
70th & Sand Point: mailing address M/S S-XXX PO Box 5371 Seattle, WA 98145-5005
70th and Sand Point: physical address and phone Seattle Children’s Administrative Office Building 6901 Sand Point Way NE Seattle, WA 98115 206-987-7000
Jack R. MacDonald Building/Seattle Children’s Research Institute: M/S JMB-X 1900 Ninth Ave. Seattle, WA 98101 206-884-7300
Home Care Services 2525 220th St. SE, Suite 200 Bothell, WA 98021-4440 425-482-4000
Metropolitan Park West MPWX-X 1100 Olive Way Suite 500 Seattle, WA 98101 206-884-7800
Olive Lab/Seattle Children’s Research Institute 1100 Olive Way, Suite 100 Seattle, WA 98101 206-884-7900
Roosevelt Commons 4300 Roosevelt Way NE PO Box 5371 Seattle, WA 98105
Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic 2101 E Yesler Way Seattle, WA 98122 206-987-7200
Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: mailing address M/S CB-21 PO Box 5371 Seattle, WA 98105
Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: physical address 1500 116th Ave NE Bellevue, WA 98004 425-454-4644 Fax: 425-455-1711
Seattle Children’s North Clinic 1815 13th St., Everett, WA 98201-1679 425-783-6200 (Opens Aug. 15, 2018)
Seattle Children’s Olympia 615 Lily Road NE, Suite 140 Olympia, WA 98506 360-459-5009
Seattle Children’s at Overlake Medical Tower (home to Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and the Sleep Disorders Clinic) 1135 116th Ave. NE, Suite 400 Bellevue, WA 98004 425-454-4644
Seattle Children’s South Clinic 34920 Enchanted Parkway South, Federal Way, WA 98003 253-838-5878
Seattle Children’s Tri-Cities 969 Stevens Dr., 1B Richland, WA 99352-3557 509-946-0976
Seattle Children’s Wenatchee 526 N. Chelan Ave., Suite B Wenatchee, WA 98801 509-662-9266
First use: Seattle Children’s Healthcare System; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s. Seattle Children’s Healthcare System is the legal name for the corporate entity that includes all aspects of the organization’s activities. Seattle Children’s Healthcare System is a Washington state not-for-profit corporation serving as the parent organization for several affiliated entities including:
Seattle Children’s Hospital — An independent, not-for-profit regional pediatric medical center affiliated with the University of Washington School of Medicine and serving greater Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle Children’s Research Institute — A division of Seattle Children’s that conducts pediatric research aimed at improving the health and well-being of people of all ages.
Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation — A not-for-profit organization that seeks and receives private donations to support the uncompensated care, capital, research, program, educational and endowment needs of Seattle Children’s Hospital and Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
Seattle Children’s Guild Association — A not-for-profit organization of guilds, auxiliaries, thrift stores and volunteers that financially supports the uncompensated care provided by Seattle Children’s and gives appropriate support to enhance the quality of care provided to its patients.
First use: “Seattle Children’s”; for subsequent use: “Seattle Children’s” or “the hospital” in everything published externally. (For internal communications, it’s OK to use “Children’s” or “the hospital” on subsequent use). Please avoid using the acronym “SCH” in anything published internally or externally. Please note that on second reference “hospital” is lower case, as it is not a proper noun.
The hospital campus of Seattle Children’s is in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Seattle. Seattle Children’s aims to be a good neighbor in all its activities. The hospital staff has an alternate commute rate of more than 60%.
First use: Seattle Children’s Research Institute; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s, research institute, or the institute in everything published externally. (For internal communications, it’s OK to use Children’s or the research institute on subsequent use). Please avoid using the acronym SCRI in anything published internally or externally (though it can be used in informal emails intended for an internal audience). Please note that on second reference “institute” and “research institute” are lower case since they are not proper nouns.
Seattle Children’s Research Institute conducts pioneering research to find innovative cures and advance pediatric care throughout the world. The research institute is actively recruiting prominent investigators to bring their innovative programs to Seattle. The institute has nine multidisciplinary centers dedicated to…
Note: The institute has nine interdisciplinary research centers, and two programs (the Science Adventure Lab and the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics).
First use: Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s or the foundation in everything published externally. For internal communications, it’s OK to use Children’s or the foundation on subsequent use. Please note that on second reference “foundation” is lower case as it is not a proper noun.
In 2008, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation successfully concluded an eight-year campaign to raise money for facilities, uncompensated care and research. The foundation celebrated this accomplishment on Sept. 16 with an event at Safeco Field.
Do not use initials in reference to Seattle Children’s (e.g. “SCH.”).
First use: Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s.
Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation is consistently rated one of the top employers in the Puget Sound region. Seattle Children’s actively cultivates a caring community.
Off-site clinics These are the correct names for Seattle Children’s off-site clinics:
- First use: Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s Bellevue, or the clinic
- First use: Seattle Children’s North Clinic; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s North, the North clinic, the clinic (Opens Aug. 15, 2018)
- First use: Seattle Children’s Olympia Clinic; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s Olympia, the Olympia clinic, the clinic
- First use: Seattle Children’s at Overlake Medical Tower (includes Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and the Sleep Disorders Clinic); subsequent use: Seattle Children’s at Overlake
- First use: Seattle Children’s South Clinic; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s South, the South clinic, the clinic
- First use: Seattle Children’s Tri-Cities Clinic; subsequent use: Seattle Children’s Tri-Cities, the Tri-Cities clinic, the clinic
Partnerships, alliances and initiatives:
The Stay On Top of It campaign provides drowning prevention and water safety information from Seattle Children’s and the Washington State Drowning Prevention Network. The network was developed in 1994 with the Washington State Department of Health and Seattle Children’s. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is a world-class cancer treatment center that unites expert doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s. Seattle Children’s is a founding member of the alliance.
First use: Seattle Children’s Research Institute Discovery Portal
Subsequent use: the Discovery Portal
Seattle Children’s Research Institute Discovery Portal is a visitor center for guests, donors, community members, faculty and staff to learn about the research underway at Seattle Children’s. The Discovery Portal features bench research and clinical advances.
We prefer to follow the newspaper style of omitting a comma before the word “and” in a simple series of three.
Example: “A good diet consists of low cholesterol, low fat and high fiber.”
We use Webster’s New World College Dictionary as the official word on spelling.
The names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in sentences and running text, whether they stand alone or are used in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base. When used in conjunction with a town or city, the state name should be followed by a comma. Large, well-known cities do not require a state name (but it’s OK to include the state name).
The STP Bike Ride ends in Portland, Oregon.
The STP Bike Ride starts in Seattle.
You can only get to Juneau, Alaska, by air or sea.
Stem cell transplant without a hyphen
When talking about someone taking their own life, the preferred language is “died due to suicide” or “death due to suicide”. Avoid using “committed suicide”. For more information see www.reportingonsuicide.org.
T cell (no hyphen) is correct when used as a noun T-cell (with hyphen) is correct when used as an adjective to describe a noun.
Example: Cancer immunotherapy reprograms a patient’s own T cells to fight cancer.
Example: T-cell therapy promises to revolutionize cancer treatment.
Always include an area code. Place a hyphen between the area code and exchange, and a hyphen between the exchange and the last four digits.
Internal extensions use a hyphen between the 7 and the last four digits.
Toll-free numbers do not require a 1 at the beginning.
Use “who” when writing about people.
Correct: The man who left the store was tall.
Correct: The bird that flew into the window was stunned.
Incorrect: Employees that are affected by layoffs will be greatly missed.
Incorrect: The dog who ate my homework was white.
Use figures except for noon and midnight. Hours between midnight and noon take a.m.; hours between noon and midnight take p.m. It is expressed with a space between the numeric time and the letters, the letters are lowercase and each takes a period.
Example: 11:15 a.m., 3:28 p.m.
Use a colon to separate hours from minutes.
Example: 3:30 p.m.
Do not include minutes when something occurs on the hour.
Example: 11 a.m., not 11:00 a.m.
Use the word to, not a hyphen or dash, to designate a time range.
Example: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If both elements in the time range occur within the morning or the evening; use a.m. or p.m. only once.
Examples: 9 to 11:30 a.m. 9:15 a.m. to noon 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Titles, job titles, courtesy titles, academic titles and degrees (see also first name vs. last name)
Titles are capitalized when used before a person’s name, and lowercase when used when used after a person’s name. (For readability, it is better to put the person before their title.)
Correct: Executive Vice President Jane Doe
Correct: John Doe, executive vice president
It’s not necessary to use the word “department” with the department name after a person’s name and title.
Example: Jane Doe, analyst, Strategic Planning and Business Development
Using descriptive language that communicates what a person does rather than a formal job description (unless the title is self-explanatory, like CEO or president) is preferred, especially in communications geared to a general audience. For internal audiences, use your judgment about whether the reader will understand what a job title means.
Preferred for external communications:
Beatrice Smith, an editor who maintains the Editorial Style Guide
John James, who evaluates and treats children with hearing loss, led the seminar on cochlear implants.
Preferred internal communications:
John James, who evaluates and treats children with hearing loss, led the seminar on cochlear implants.
John James, an audiologist, led the seminar on cochlear implants.
Within text, “Dr.” is used on first reference for physicians and, when appropriate in the context, for others who hold doctoral degrees (PhD). Last names only are used on subsequent reference in external communications. First names only are used on subsequent reference in internal communications.
Example for external communications: Dr. Bruder Stapleton is Seattle Children’s chief academic officer. Stapleton is also a nephrologist.
Example for internal communications: Dr. Bruder Stapleton is Seattle Children’s chief academic officer. Bruder is also a nephrologist.
Use “Drs.” when identifying more than one person with a medical degree or doctorate
Example: Drs. Bruder Stapleton and Jim Hendricks are dedicated to academic research.
Avoid using credential letters that are not commonly understood, especially in communications geared to a general audience. For internal communications, the credential letters should be used at the writer’s discretion. Descriptions of someone’s role is preferred to stating their credentials.
Preferred: Molly Brown, an advanced practice nurse in Nephrology, oversees patients’ medication compliance after transplant.
Not preferred: Molly Brown, ARNP, oversees patients’ medication compliance after transplant.
When listing more than one credential, put the most advanced degree last, or just the most advanced degree (as the previous degree is inferred).
Example: Joe Doe, RN, MN
Preferred: Joe Doe, MN
No periods are used with credentials.
Correct: Joe Doe, RN, MN
Incorrect: Joe Doe, R.N., M.N.
Use credentials, rather than courtesy titles, in listings.
Correct: Tumaini Coker, MD
Incorrect: Dr. Tumaini Coker
If mentioning a degree is necessary to establish someone’s credentials, the preferred form is to name the degree and avoid using the abbreviation. There is an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc., but no possessive in Bachelor of Arts, etc.
Correct: Henny Penny has a master’s degree in mass communications.
Correct: Henny Penny has a Master of Science in mass communications.
One word, no hyphen, lowercase.
For online links, use descriptive words rather than a URL for the link text whenever possible (this text is also known as anchor text). If the URL needs to be written out, do not include https:// or www.
Follow these best practices for creating links.
Correct: To learn more, visit the CDC’s website.
Incorrect: To learn more, visit the CDC’s website (cdc.gov).
Do not include the punctuation in a link at the end of a sentence.
Correct: If you’re looking for a job you can search for jobs online. (Period should not be underlined.)
Incorrect: If you’re looking for a job you can search for jobs online at www.xxxxxxxxx.com.
Do not use “click here” for a link.
Correct: Learn more about Seattle Children’s.
Incorrect: Click here to learn more about Seattle Children’s.
Do not underline a URL.
It is no longer necessary to include http:// or www. at the beginning of a URL.
Correct: Learn more about our training courses at training.org
Incorrect: Learn more about our training courses at www.training.org.
One word, no hyphen. The “w” is not capitalized. (See also, “Internet”)
One word, no hyphen. The “w” is not capitalized. (See also, “Internet”)
Two words connected by a hyphen
Example: She documented the complete work-up.
Use capital “X” and hyphenate.
Use figures, without commas: 2011. Use an “s” without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries.
Example: the 1890s, the 1900s
When stating a month and year without a date, do not place a comma after the month.
Example: November 2011
Years are the lone exception to the general rule in numbers that a figure is not used to start a sentence.
Each area of the hospital is called a “zone.” The zone names are Forest, River, Mountain and Ocean. Each has a unique icon and artwork. Always capitalize the name of the zone; the word “zone” need not be capitalized.
Example: River zone