What do you think about nurses and PA's being called "Doctor"? - page 3

by PalmHarborMom 13,743 Views | 67 Comments

I am wondering what everyone thinks about Physician Assistants and Nurses with Doctorate degrees being called "Doctor"? I ask because there have been several times in the last few years that I have had family members be... Read More


  1. 0
    "Considering the title "Doctor" is a title of educational achievement, why would you hold a distinction between the educational specialty? Why can we not call all those who hold the educational achievement title of Doctor, Doctor?"

    This is not entirely true. The title "Doctor" is not just a title of educational achievement, particularly when it pertains to health care. Like nurses, md's and do's must pass boards. Just because you graduated college with a degree, doesn't earn you the title. It may however, earn you a prison sentence for practicing without a license.

    With that said, I'd like to elaborate a little more on the whole "doctor" title. MD's and DO's go through 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, and 4 years of residency. That's a total of 12 years, plus passing medical boards for the designation. It seems a little bit unfair and wholly inaccurate for someone else to go through 4 years of undergrad and earn the same distinction of another field.

    I don't disregard anyone with a phd as not a real doctor, let me be clear on that. They have spent 8 years of their life or more in academia, and have contributed a significant piece of work to their field to earn their degree. I disregard those with 6 years or less of full-time college (less than a true masters degree) and no written work supporting their contributions who fancy themselves as a "doctor" of this or that.
  2. 1
    Quote from realmaninuniform
    "Considering the title "Doctor" is a title of educational achievement, why would you hold a distinction between the educational specialty? Why can we not call all those who hold the educational achievement title of Doctor, Doctor?"

    This is not entirely true. The title "Doctor" is not just a title of educational achievement, particularly when it pertains to health care. Like nurses, md's and do's must pass boards. Just because you graduated college with a degree, doesn't earn you the title. It may however, earn you a prison sentence for practicing without a license.

    With that said, I'd like to elaborate a little more on the whole "doctor" title. MD's and DO's go through 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, and 4 years of residency. That's a total of 12 years, plus passing medical boards for the designation. It seems a little bit unfair and wholly inaccurate for someone else to go through 4 years of undergrad and earn the same distinction of another field.

    I don't disregard anyone with a phd as not a real doctor, let me be clear on that. They have spent 8 years of their life or more in academia, and have contributed a significant piece of work to their field to earn their degree. I disregard those with 6 years or less of full-time college (less than a true masters degree) and no written work supporting their contributions who fancy themselves as a "doctor" of this or that.
    The title of doctor pertains to, and only to, the educational achievement of the individual. The term Doctor has nothing to do with licensure.

    A Medical Doctor who does not have a license to practice is still entitled to the title of Medical Doctor. The title of nurse is a title of licensure, not of educational achievement.
    KelRN215 likes this.
  3. 3
    Quote from realmaninuniform
    There seems to be some misunderstanding here. I don't have a problem with addressing someone, anyone, as "Doctor" provided that they have the credentials, i.e. a phd, md, or do. Never once did I say a DNP isn't "a real doctorate." I was referring to the "doctors" of physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy. Most of which who have less than a common masters degree. None of which who have prescriptive authority for anything. As for PA's, they are not doctors, period. To the best of my knowledge their is no such thing as a doctorate in physician assistance. The very sound of it is an oxymoron.

    As for the other fields, a phd, is a doctor. I referred to many college prof's as doctors, not because they were medical doctors, but because they had earned their doctorate of philosophy in their field.
    (Emphasis mine)

    There does seem to be some misunderstanding. Once again, there are lots of other doctorates in various healthcare disciplines besides PhDs, MDs, and DOs. No one here is talking seriously about referring to individuals with "less than a common (??) master's degree" as a doctor. Plenty of individuals in PT, SLP, OT, and other healthcare disciplines hold earned doctoral degrees in their fields and are doctors of PT, SLP, OT, etc. (however, a Master's degree is the minimum for licensure in PT, SLP, and OT, and has been for quite a while, so I'm not sure what you mean by "most of which who (sic) have less than a common masters degree"). There are psychologists who hold a PhD and psychologists who hold a PsyD (the clinical doctorate in psychology). Both are called "Dr. So-and-So." The PharmD has been the entry level in pharmacy for some time, and all pharmacy programs in the US are doctoral programs. Prescriptive authority has nothing to with the with use of the term "doctor." Neither, for that matter, does the length of one's education, but, rather, the degree one holds.

    BTW, there is one physician assistant doctoral program in the US -- it's a joint effort between Baylor University and the US Army, and awards a DSc (Doctor of Science) degree.
    llg, KelRN215, and NRSKarenRN like this.
  4. 1
    "A Medical Doctor who does not have a license to practice is still entitled to the title of Medical Doctor. The title of nurse is a title of licensure, not of educational achievement."

    This is exactly my point. Why is it we can refer to anyone with a "doctorate" degree as a doctor, regardless of license status when you are only a nurse when you pass NCLEX and are licensed within a state?

    I think the title of "doctor" is being handed out far too freely AND EASILY these days. You can earn your "doctorate" entirely online now. And the accreditation system in post secondary education is a farce. I love these "regionally accredited" for-profit on-line universities, who charge outrages fees for their subpar programs in obscurity.
    mrmedical likes this.
  5. 1
    "Plenty of individuals in PT, SLP, OT, and other healthcare disciplines hold earned doctoral degrees in their fields and are doctors of PT, SLP, OT, etc. (however, a Master's degree is the minimum for licensure in PT, SLP, and OT, and has been for quite a while."

    Shirley, you can't be serious. "A Master's degree is the minimum for licensure in PT, SLP, and OT and has been for quite a while?" No. Each state has their own practice act. A BACHELORS is the minimum. That in itself is a farce. Does it really take 4 years of post secondary education to perform a physical therapy eval and recommend treatment? No. It should be about a 3 month program, honestly. Let's not forget that "therapy" is a relatively new "science" which first devolved from nursing.

    Again, this is the problem I have with recognizing "doctors" of this that or the other. Consider the course matter, the relevancy, and the total intelligence involved. Not to mention accreditation, comprehensive medical knowledge, total time spent, etc. etc.

    These "earned doctoral degrees" you speak of are obtained in 6 years or less, the same amount of time or less than it requires for a Master's degree in related fields. And again, these "doctors" don't write a dissertation, nor do they have prescriptive, or any real authority. Hence why I take their title with a grain of salt. Not to mention most are bottom feeders.

    Case in point, working on the alzheimers unit, I once had a "doctor" of SLP, tell me that I needed to chart on a PT who was having no difficulty swallowing, hadn't spoke in years, no episodes of aspiration, and was in end stage dementia, then contact the physician so they could do therapy. I balked initially, but humored the "doctor". The pt received 3 days of "therapy" and was discharged "reaching full rehabilitation potential". The pt. died about a week later peacefully in their sleep at the ripe old age of 97. I'm no doctor, but it doesn't take a doctor to evaluate that this wasn't an appropriate client for "therapy".

    And the therapy vulturism far from stops there. They love to pick clients who are so severely cognitively impaired there is no way in hell that "therapy" is going to benefit them in end of life. Yet to appease the bobs, and keep the money flowing, we are forced to subject our pts to this ********. It's really quite disgusting and makes me look down upon the various "therapy" practitioners, at least in LTC.
    chare likes this.
  6. 0
    Today's Doctoral Physical Therapists have a broad education:

    My alma matters extensive Doctoral PT program requirements: Physical Therapy Courses
    Drexel Universiy: Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum

    I've seen some amazing progress made by patients in home care with our DPT's skilled care. Helps that we have several DPT programs and 2 nationally renown Rehab hospitals in Philadelphia: Magee and Moss Rehab.

    Our Doctoral Speech Therapist, known as Dr M., introduced VitalStim Dysphagia Therapy for Difficulty Swallowing to our home care agency. They have had great success with several patients weaned off tube feedings back to oral food.

    They can have "Doctor" on their name tag with discipline listed in 1 " print at bottom of ID badge clearly documenting their profession.
  7. 1
    Quote from realmaninuniform
    "Plenty of individuals in PT, SLP, OT, and other healthcare disciplines hold earned doctoral degrees in their fields and are doctors of PT, SLP, OT, etc. (however, a Master's degree is the minimum for licensure in PT, SLP, and OT, and has been for quite a while."

    Shirley, you can't be serious. "A Master's degree is the minimum for licensure in PT, SLP, and OT and has been for quite a while?" No. Each state has their own practice act. A BACHELORS is the minimum. That in itself is a farce. Does it really take 4 years of post secondary education to perform a physical therapy eval and recommend treatment? No. It should be about a 3 month program, honestly. Let's not forget that "therapy" is a relatively new "science" which first devolved from nursing.

    Again, this is the problem I have with recognizing "doctors" of this that or the other. Consider the course matter, the relevancy, and the total intelligence involved. Not to mention accreditation, comprehensive medical knowledge, total time spent, etc. etc.

    These "earned doctoral degrees" you speak of are obtained in 6 years or less, the same amount of time or less than it requires for a Master's degree in related fields. And again, these "doctors" don't write a dissertation, nor do they have prescriptive, or any real authority. Hence why I take their title with a grain of salt. Not to mention most are bottom feeders.

    Case in point, working on the alzheimers unit, I once had a "doctor" of SLP, tell me that I needed to chart on a PT who was having no difficulty swallowing, hadn't spoke in years, no episodes of aspiration, and was in end stage dementia, then contact the physician so they could do therapy. I balked initially, but humored the "doctor". The pt received 3 days of "therapy" and was discharged "reaching full rehabilitation potential". The pt. died about a week later peacefully in their sleep at the ripe old age of 97. I'm no doctor, but it doesn't take a doctor to evaluate that this wasn't an appropriate client for "therapy".

    And the therapy vulturism far from stops there. They love to pick clients who are so severely cognitively impaired there is no way in hell that "therapy" is going to benefit them in end of life. Yet to appease the bobs, and keep the money flowing, we are forced to subject our pts to this ********. It's really quite disgusting and makes me look down upon the various "therapy" practitioners, at least in LTC.
    Okay, so we're back to what I mentioned in my original post about people objecting to doctorally-prepared advanced practice nurses being referred to as "Dr. So-and-so". Your objections arise from your personal opinions of the doctoral degrees earned by individuals in some healthcare fields.
    llg likes this.
  8. 0
    Quote from realmaninuniform
    "A Medical Doctor who does not have a license to practice is still entitled to the title of Medical Doctor. The title of nurse is a title of licensure, not of educational achievement."

    This is exactly my point. Why is it we can refer to anyone with a "doctorate" degree as a doctor, regardless of license status when you are only a nurse when you pass NCLEX and are licensed within a state?

    I think the title of "doctor" is being handed out far too freely AND EASILY these days. You can earn your "doctorate" entirely online now. And the accreditation system in post secondary education is a farce. I love these "regionally accredited" for-profit on-line universities, who charge outrages fees for their subpar programs in obscurity.
    The term nurse refers to, and only to, one's licensure. Someone who has earned a BSN, MSN, or a DNP but has no license to practice can still retain and utilize their educational achievement title, just not the state regulated term of licensure.

    Educational achievement has little to nothing to do with licensure.

    It's like the military, regardless of the persons actually job, they are still due all the respect of their rank. Educational achievement titles are like military ranks.
  9. 0
    Quote from realmaninuniform
    "Plenty of individuals in PT, SLP, OT, and other healthcare disciplines hold earned doctoral degrees in their fields and are doctors of PT, SLP, OT, etc. (however, a Master's degree is the minimum for licensure in PT, SLP, and OT, and has been for quite a while."

    Shirley, you can't be serious. "A Master's degree is the minimum for licensure in PT, SLP, and OT and has been for quite a while?" No. Each state has their own practice act. A BACHELORS is the minimum.
    I am completely serious (and kinda curious about why someone in healthcare wouldn't already know this). A Master's degree is the minimum for licensure in PT, OT, and SLP in all fifty states (and has been for years, although I'm sure there are still some baccalaureate-prepared individuals who were grandfathered in and are still practicing), and there are plenty of doctoral programs in those fields. The physical therapy community has already set a deadline for when the doctoral degree will become the minimum requirement for (new) PTs.

    "All PTs must receive a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice ... Professional (entry-level) physical therapist education programs currently are offered at 2 degree levels:
    Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Degree
    Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) or Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) Degree
    The accredited professional (entry-level) doctoral programs (DPT) are identified by the key code (D6) on the Directory of Accredited Physical Therapist Programs. Of the 211 accredited physical therapist programs, 210 are accredited DPT programs and 1 is a MPT program. Both degrees currently prepare students to be eligible for the PT license examination in all 50 states. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) will require all programs to offer the DPT degree effective December 31, 2015."
    Physical Therapist (PT) Education Overview
     
     
    "Occupational therapists need a master’s degree in occupational therapy. Additionally, all states require occupational therapists to be licensed."
    Occupational Therapists : Occupational Outlook Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
     
     
    "A master's degree in speech pathology, commonly known as speech-language pathology (SLP), is the basic requirement to practice in all states."
    Speech Pathology Education and Training Requirements
  10. 1
    It's a gross misrepresentation of title and power and education level. The PA and NP I've worked with introduce themselves as "Hi, I'm Bob, I'm a PA" and "Hi, I'm Shirley, the nurse practitioner" and the staff would tell the patient that their appointment is with the PA or the NP. The mid-level should NOT present themselves as a doctor even though they're just as good, or better, than the MD. I know a lot of people want the MD because they can do no wrong, but most patients appreciate the mid-levels when they recognize their knowledge and compassion and slower-paced schedules. I'd have several pts only want to see the PA or NP after the initial meeting. When pts are apprehensive about seeing the PA or NP (and I've worked with both at two different offices) I explain that they can do nearly what the MD can and the MD still supervises and the MD even trained our PA himself.
    realmaninuniform likes this.


Top