Nurses, physicians weigh in on new doctoral nurse degree

  1. 18
    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 colleagues. The program confers the title of doctor on nurses, but some in the medical profession say only physicians should call themselves "doctor."

    Dr. Steven Knope is a family practitioner in Tucson, Ariz. "If you're on an airline," he jokes, "and a poet with a Ph.D. is there and somebody has a heart attack, and they say 'Is there a doctor in the house?' — should the poet stand up?" Knope laughs. "Of course not."

    Physicians such as Knope say the title of doctor implies a certain amount of training, hours in medical school that nurses just don't have. Dr. Ted Epperly, president of the American Association of Family Practitioners, says that while doctors place a high value on nurses, sharing the same title could confuse — and even harm — patients.

    Full Story and listen to radio show here:
    Last edit by brian on Feb 23, '09

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  2. 237 Comments...

  3. 60
    In the article, Dr. Steven Knope (anti-doctoral prepared nurses) attempted to drive his point home regarding patient confusion by asking the question of whether or not a doctoral prepared poet would stand up if they overheard someone shouting for a doctor on a plane that had an individual suffering from an MI onboard. Is he drawing a parallel between doctoral prepared nurses and poets? If so, going forward when he asks for a nurse to do something in the hospital then I think it’s appropriate to answer that the doctor nurse is busy authoring a sonnet or a haiku at the moment. Clean the patient yourself doctor doctor.
    mystory, caroladybelle, amms, and 57 others like this.
  4. 30
    This discussion always reminds me of the moment when Dorothy discovers that the Great and Powerful Oz is simply a man behind the curtain. Advanced Practice Health Care Providers are perceived as a threat to the authoritarian medical establishment. It's a pity; given the current state of health care and the shortage of providers.

    Thanks for highlighting the article, Brian.
    PostOpPrincess, Smitty08, Apgar10, and 27 others like this.
  5. 33
    I can't help but think about all the times I would get upset at the doctors office upon hearing the doctor refer to his medical assistant as "Nurse".......

    I think a doctorally prepared nurse should be able to be called a doctor.

    I think that the doc's should start wearing name badges to the hospital that show that they have MD behind their name. This would prevent confusion - Just like the rest of the hospital staff to show who is an RN, CNA, RT, etc....

    Oh yeah...I was remiss in adding, that I think that they should have their own color of scrubs too! LOL.
    Last edit by ®Nurse on Feb 23, '09
  6. 11
    Thank you for posting this article...I think is important to clarify what is the scope of practice entailed to a doctoral nurse degree. The MDs are saying that doctoral level educated nurses are using a title which do not belong to them compared with the extended training and education an MD has. What I consider as important is to educate the public because in their mind once they hear the title "doctor" in connection to a person who wears a white coat people in general think of an MD. I think this disagreement between MDs and DNDs is an uphill battle for the scope of practice of medicine doctor has been clearly established for many years whereas doctoral nurse degree is seen as an emerging minority within a field of medicine who has become a "thorn on the MD's side" which they feel obligated to challenge every step of the way starting by the right of nurses to be called doctors after obtaining valid education and credentials. I have noticed the MDs' attempts to diminsh the DNDs' accomplishments, already, in this article by comparing the nurses' DND hard earn degree with a PhD in poetry. I can even imagine the MD not giving the status of equality to the DND as far as an advance level practice by assigning the DND to do tasks that an LVN or even a CNA could do or even more abusive to make the DND do all the job while the doctor sits back "supervises" while getting all the credit and earning a way higher salary than the DND who is doing all the job. That is why I think a clearly defined scope of practice for DNDs is critical for it benefits all: the patient, the advanced level practice nurse and the doctor who feels his little kingdom threatened by the new and very well educated "doctor" in the block.
  7. 15
    From this article, it seems that the "issue" of confusion is easily cleared up by a proper introduction by the Dr-Nurse.

    As a young teen..It was years before I realized what a physician's assistant was...for a long time I thought it was like a medical assistant, but for a physician. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that it was MUCH more than that.

    I also used to think that a nurse practioner and a practical nurse was the same thing...again, this was a learning curve for me.

    The new title of DNP, is just another avenue of practice that the public will have to be educated about.

    I COMPLETELY disagree that the title will harm me, that was a crock.
  8. 46
    Interesting...since when does a MD or a DO have exclusive right to the term "Doctor"? I bet most Professors would just love to beg to differ with them.

    I can totally understand the term "Physician"...because that is what they are. With this title, they have exclusive domain. Even their own abbrevs clue us in that the term "Doctor" requires a qualifier for them...Medical as a qualifier for the Doctor in MD.....Of Osteopathy as a qualifier for the Doctor in DO. No different than a Doctor in Nursing, History, Political Science, Engineering, et cetera. As it stands, Physicians do not have the exclusive right using the term Doctor. They are Physicians. A title which earns great respect all its own. Anyone who has earned the term Doctor (if granted by an institution of higher learning) should be permitted to use that professional title in professional company. Yes, they have earned it...even a Physician. However, we need to understand that the term Doctor is not synonymous to Physician.

    One thought regarding all of this is...maybe it is time that physicians NOT add to the confusion (that they seem so concerned about) not referring to oneself as a doctor. It is more true and correct to say, "I am your Physician." No confusion. No different than "I am your Nurse" or "I am your Lawyer."

    The example previously given about a person having an MI on an airplane...a misleading example...only begs if not leads the audience to a desired conclusion. It is most correct in this example, however, to ask, "Is there a physician on the plane?"
    wannabesedated, 451F, amms, and 43 others like this.
  9. 19
    I have seen the same attitude from MDs in regaurds to DOs. I think it is important to point out the vetrinarians, podiatrists, dentists, and chiropractors all carry the title of "Dr". So, if someone said "is there a Dr around," should a veternarian stand up? Give me a break!
    PostOpPrincess, Smitty08, classykaren, and 16 others like this.
  10. 25
    What a crock.

    Some one needs to explain to the docs that the only reason they are called Drs is that they have a doctoral degree in medical science. Doctoral degrees have been around far longer and had, for quite a while, much more conveyed dignity and training then that given to medical professionals.

    If they are going to have a stick up their butts about the title "Dr" then they need to stop stealing the term from liberal arts and just take on the term "Physician" since that is technically more accurate.

    Sometimes it just go to show you that an "expert" is someone who knows a lot about one subject and next to nothing about anything else.
  11. 15
    Sheer arrogance. What about Doctors of Business, Accounting, History, Language, Physics, etc... Do they no longer deserve to be called Doctor?

    It is pure arrogance at the hands of this MD who wishes to have the term "Doctor" exclusive for his own ideology.

    If a nurse has gone the extra mile (or ten) to become doctorally prepared then by golly s/he should be "Doctor Nurse"

    `Nuff said

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