Nurses, physicians weigh in on new doctoral nurse degree - page 18

by brian 38,875 Views | 237 Comments Admin

New Degree Creates Doctor Nurses — And Confusion All Things Considered, February 22, 2009 No one wants to badmouth Florence Nightingale, but a new degree for nurses is causing bad blood between doctors and their longtime... Read More


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    Have to say that there are really two issues here. #1 are folks smart enough to understand that DNP is a doctoral degree from college, just like a doctorate in any other major? #2 can physicians handle/utilize nurses with advance practice without feeling threatened??
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    I'm not even going to begin to make a comment on the idea of DNPs independently practicing, but I have to agree with the physicians community that DNPs should not be called doctors in a hospital setting on the grounds that it confuses patients between nurse and physician. Nurses and physicians are both very respectable roles, but they are different roles and that should be made clear to the consumer/patient.
    Spidey's mom likes this.
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    I have already heard the question "doctor doctor, or a doctor?" IMO it is just too confusing.
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    :deadhorse
    BBFRN, ®Nurse, cardiacRN2006, and 1 other like this.
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    Love "All Things Considered"; think the show is pretty balanced. Except the whole "doctor of poetry" thing. That's absurd. NPs/DNPs practice--for lack of other terms--medicine. And nursing. It's a little confusing, and there's no clear definition for the public to digest. (unless they watch House where they can see doctors practicing medicine. and nursing. and radiology. and phlebotomy. and epidemiology. and every specialty known. and....so on. But I digress.)


    NPs/DNPs diagnose and treat, and from what I understand, DNPs have the option of further specialty training--not that NPs, or RNs don't. Only now there is a structured educational component for NPs to advance to a doctoral level. Here's the elephant in the room--MD=medical doctor, PhD=doctor of philosophy. PhDs are doctors, and many MDs also have PhDs. Many don't. NPs have the option of receiving a PhD--which is a familiar educational status, or DNP--which is not familiar. As far as I know, there aren't "Doctors of architecture" or "Doctors of English"--there are just PhDs. The DNP, from what I understand, is NOT a PhD--it's a new doctoral degree, which is of advanced nursing including a master's or specialty, or both (are there programs that go direct to DNP skipping the master's component?).

    Anyway a DNP is, in fact, a new kind of doctor that is similar to (but not the same as) the MD in that the focus is in the diagnosis and treatment of illness--only coming from a nursing foundation.

    The question left hanging is, nursing is not historically a field that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of illness. So, how does one become a DOCTOR of diagnostics and treatment without this as a foundation?

    This is a very good question. I don't dispute it's verity, though I recognize that it's a conundrum. In the interest of disclosure, I am soon to graduate with an MSN and hope to be an NP within the next month or two. My educational focus at this point is in diagnosis and treatment. And I got here through nursing. These are facts, but in regards to educating the public about the advanced nursing role, I honestly don't have a solid explanation at this point (besides the nursing practice manual/standards of care--understandable to nurses, but a bit obtuse for public consumption). I believe that the role and the recognition/understanding of the role are evolving right now. I won't be a DNP for a while--maybe forever. If it proves to be an obvious choice for advancing my ability to meet the highest standard of advanced nursing care, I will pursue it. For now, I am content with my educational background (ie, have incurred enough debt already!)


    -Kan
    Last edit by sirI on Apr 25, '09 : Reason: referred to now deleted thread
    flyingchange likes this.
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    On the confusion of the pts regarding doctors in this country:

    Quote from BradleyRN
    Under this flawed logic, i guess i should start calling Phenergan Phinnigran or anticoagulants "blood thinners". Perhaps we should make a whole list of public misconceptions and perpetuate those inaccuracies for their own good. Im convinced.
    If a phD in history is a doctor, then a doctorate of nursing is a doctor. The term "physician" is reserved for MD's. Are we suggesting that if a pt thinks a DNP is a doctor, then suddenly the DNP is going to practice outside their scope, and take advantage of the pts? There are doctors of many fields, and they earned their titles. :spin:
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    Most pharmacists have a doctorate (some are grandfathered in with a bachelors) and I have never met a pharmacist who insisted on being called Doctor.
    RN1982 likes this.
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    Quote from geekgolightly
    Most pharmacists have a doctorate (some are grandfathered in with a bachelors) and I have never met a pharmacist who insisted on being called Doctor.
    A pharmacist with a bachelor's is not a doctor, but the point isnt about nurses insisting on being called "doctor" as much as it is physicians insisting that they arent.:spin:
    flyingchange likes this.
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    As a nursing student, I found that to be some of the most interesting reading I have ever done and I learned a lot about how they think. A little background: there is no reason I couldn't go to medical school, I just wannabe a nurse! I honestly think that nurse/NP/DNP are better roles! Personally, I have always felt I got better care from an NP and prefer not to see a physician.

    Having said that, it is clear that communication issues are festering even in this area. They don't want nurses to be called doctor but what do they call a psychologist in the psych department?

    They are convinced that the nurses want to be minidoctors but I have met such an entity! All the nurses I know with masters and doctorates are proud to be nurses. I don't think nursing is supposed to mimic medical education. I am proud of what nursing is. I like that we have to take community and that we feel we have a role in social reform.

    I understand why they hate the idea of nurses being called "doctors" to a certain extent because lots of nurses don't care for the way hospitals try to confuse patients into thinking that CNAs or PCTs are all "part of the nursing team." Thus, I can empathize (which doesn't mean that I agree that they shouldn't be called doctor).

    I find it ironic that they complain about how the nursing community is trying to take their jobs with all of the studies that are done (Pearson?). In reality, we are trying to prove our value and competence in the role. Sad that they can't view it as a sign that we can play the role rather than an attempt to usurp their role.

    Their posts make it clear that they do not understand nursing at all. Wish we could bridge the gap. I like that nurses are trained in community health and social policy stuff. Its affects our patients too.
    flyingchange likes this.
  10. 0
    Technically, there title 'doctor' can be used by anyone with a doctorate degree. However, colloquially, the title 'doctor' means, to the average person, that the holder of the title is a medical doctor. I think it would be deceptive for a nurse practitioner to use the title in the healthcare setting. It would be by and large misunderstood.

    I find that patients often misunderstand anyways, and will refer to a PA or NP who rounds on them as 'doctor so and so'. I think the public needs more education, in general, about mid level practitioners.


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