Who Gets To Be Called Doctor? - page 10

by DoGoodThenGo | 13,736 Views | 96 Comments

Many nurses are going back to school to earn doctorate degrees, but does that give them the right to call themselves doctor? Many physicians donít think so, and they are pushing for legislation to restrict who gets to call... Read More


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    Using the "doctor" title in a clinical setting won't make nurses any more respected. As mentioned before, one problem is that this confuses patients. But look at the debate this sparked. The further I get in nursing, the more I see the use of this title as a lousy attempt at earning respect. Someone else made the comment that nurses shouldn't focus on their title, but put their time to good use by focusing on performance instead of semantics. But trying to prove yourself as equal to or better than someone who has (in some cases) twice as much education as you?
    When my mother earned her PhD in nursing, she said the physicians she worked with treated her with more respect, since they knew she wasn't an idiot. She was always a very good nurse, but they saw her as more of an equal (intellectually speaking, not as a physician) and treated her as such. She said they began to treat her better when they knew she was working on her MSN, which in some ways I can believe. After some of the lowlifes I've seen working as RNs, it makes sense that nurses want to improve their image by attaining higher education. They will never be physicians, which is fine, but there is no reason why nurses can't have higher standards, and with those higher standards, more respect and equality.
  2. 0
    Quote from kdrose01
    When my mother earned her PhD in nursing, she said the physicians she worked with treated her with more respect, since they knew she wasn't an idiot. She was always a very good nurse, but they saw her as more of an equal (intellectually speaking, not as a physician) and treated her as such. She said they began to treat her better when they knew she was working on her MSN, which in some ways I can believe. After some of the lowlifes I've seen working as RNs, it makes sense that nurses want to improve their image by attaining higher education. They will never be physicians, which is fine, but there is no reason why nurses can't have higher standards, and with those higher standards, more respect and equality.
    But as you said, she was always a very good nurse. If she weren't worth her weight, the physicians may have reacted differently. I see no problem with the advanced education, just using the same title as an MD in the clinical setting. RNs should have higher standards. I was actually surprised when I first started that an RN required a minimum of an ADN. I expected a minimum of Bachelors.

    But regardless, there will be lowlifes with BSNs, MSNs, and lowlife MDs as well. That's unfortunately the way of the world. That's besides the point, though. MDs have more education than DNPs and the focus is different (scope of practice). It's two different job functions. So reserving the doctor title for MDs in the clinical setting makes perfect sense.
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    But regardless, there will be lowlifes with BSNs, MSNs, and lowlife MDs as well. That's unfortunately the way of the world. That's besides the point, though. MDs have more education than DNPs and the focus is different (scope of practice). It's two different job functions. So reserving the doctor title for MDs in the clinical setting makes perfect sense.
    I completely agree that you will have lowlifes in every profession. However, I disagree that reserving the title of doctor is only for physicians in a clinical setting, since I don't believe a title should be usurped by one specific profession. Patients are capable of learning that a "doctor" could be a physician, nurse, psychologist, pastor, etc. And as I said before, it's best to introduce one's self anyway, and that introduction should include your profession, so the patient knows if you're a physician, nurse, social worker, or nursing assistant.

    To be honest, it bothered me at my sports medicine office that my physical therapist was referred to simply by his first name, even though he earned his title of doctor, but my physician was referred to everyone as "Dr. So-and-so." It particularly bothered me when my physical therapist diagnosed me correctly initially and the physician - as much as I liked him personally - did not, costing me a great deal of time and money on physical therapy that did little for me. During my fourth and final visit with the physician, which was after I had maxed out what my insurance would cover for treatment, he finally realized the problem was with my feet, which the PT had said from day 1. More education or not, the one with the "lesser" education was the one who found the problem during his assessment. If I didn't have a history of stories like this (usually with NPs versus MDs/DOs), maybe I would think differently about awarding a title to a specific group.

    Maybe I'm just biased, but I saw how incredibly hard my mother worked in order to earn her BSN, MSN and PhD (on top of the diploma she already had for a combined 13 years + her years working in the hospital), so the idea that physicians have more education irks me. Sorry, but I think it's unfair to dismiss the accomplishments of many in order to placate some, namely physicians who want to retain sole proprietorship of a title that was never really theirs to begin with.
    llg likes this.
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    I've had a lot of lectures in classes with an underlying "insecurity as a nurse" theme presenting itself in the manner that professors talk about constantly needing to "correct" the doctors. There have even been slides with mock NCLEX questions about what to do when a doctor is being rude to you as the nurse.
    I've seen this to an extent in my program, though not to the degree to which you're referring, and I think much of it stems from having older professors, who have faced a great deal of demeaning behavior by physicians over the years, so they're trying to assert themselves - and rightly so. As I said earlier, my mother's a nurse (has been one for 40 years) and can tell you MANY stories about how badly she's been treated by physicians because they've historically been allowed to treat nurses as inferiors (including ones she's caught making serious medical errors). My older nursing professors can also tell you similar stories. I remember one in particular where my instructor was speaking to two physicians who said they missed the days when nurses used to stand when physicians entered the room as a sign of respect.

    Nurses have fought against this unfair treatment by trying to improve the image of the profession through attaining higher education and creating more pathways in which to practice. If they hadn't, I certainly wouldn't be in nursing school now, since I am educated and already had a career in place. So I think it's important to think about where nursing is in its journey when thinking about what your instructors are telling you. In many ways, physicians wanting to retain the title of doctor for themselves is viewed as another jab at nurses, who have worked so hard to better not only themselves, but the profession as well.
    llg likes this.
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    I like how we always assume that patients are too stupid to understand things. It doesn't take an advanced degree to understand that not everyone with "Dr." in front of their name is an MD or DO. Of course some people with MD or DO after their name might need to be reminded of that, perhaps we could offer some remedial classes.
    kdrose01 and llg like this.
  6. 3
    Quote from olivia.tieman
    MDs have more education than DNPs and the focus is different (scope of practice). It's two different job functions. So reserving the doctor title for MDs in the clinical setting makes perfect sense.
    The issue isn't how much education any particular individual has or what opinion any particular individual may have of doctoral degrees in particular disciplines -- the issue is that a physician and a doctorally-prepared nurse, physical therapist, psychologist, pharmacist, whatever, have all earned doctoral degrees. IMO, the whole problem is this crazy idea physicians have that they somehow own the honorific "Dr." in clinical settings. I honestly cannot see any way that that "makes perfect sense." On the contrary, it seems extremely illogical to me.
    Conqueror+, kdrose01, and llg like this.
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    Let's not forget ... The use of the "doctor" title by physicians is a relatively recent phenomenon. PhD's in philosophy, theology, chemistry, anthropology, etc. used the "doctor" title long before physicians were educated at the doctoral level. And as a practice doctorate and not a research doctorate, their MD degree is still ranked below that of a PhD.

    200 years ago, physicians and surgeons were not typically educated at the doctoral level. Surgeons were not even educated at the college level. But there were "doctors" in the universities teaching and researching their various academic disciplines. Physicians claimed the "doctor" title when the MD degree became the standard -- joining the ranks of doctorally prepared professionals who had already been using it for a very long time. Now they are trying to claim that they are the only ones who should use the title -- forgetting that they never "owned" the title to begin with.

    They were welcomed into the "doctor" group by the academics. Now they are trying to force everyone else out and claim sole ownership.

    The public is able to handle the truth. People can understand that there are many fields in which someone can get a doctoral degree and earn the right to use the "doctor" title that goes with it. Some people just need a little education and/or a few reminders now and then.
    elkpark, wooh, Conqueror+, and 1 other like this.


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