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Anyone Using 'Doctor' Title at Work?

Doctoral   (787 Views | 8 Replies)
by jfmDNP jfmDNP (New) New Expert Nurse

jfmDNP has 11 years experience and specializes in Family Medicine.

107 Profile Views; 13 Posts

A question for the newly or previously minted DNP, has anyone used the title 'doctor' in the clinical setting? Curious how other colleagues have been introducing themselves.

My physician colleagues were the first to initiate the change of referring to me as 'doctor' soon after I received my DNP and made my educational training, including theirs, visible in the waiting room so patients can see each provider's qualifications.

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Neuro Guy NP has 7 years experience as a DNP, PhD, APRN and specializes in Vascular Neurology and Neurocritical Care.

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Most states will allow it as long as you also introduce yourself as a nurse practitioner in the same breath e. G. "Good morning, I'm Dr. jfmDNP, I'll be your nurse practitioner" or some other similar variation. Some institutions though, will frown upon this, so you'll have to decide whether that's a hill you're willing to die on or not.

One hospital I have recently joined gave me admitting privileges and yes some of my physician colleagues refer to me in that manner, but we all still introduce me as a nurse practitioner when appropriate.

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Numenor has 8 years experience as a MSN, NP and specializes in Internal Medicine.

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On 4/4/2020 at 1:46 PM, jfmDNP said:

A question for the newly or previously minted DNP, has anyone used the title 'doctor' in the clinical setting? Curious how other colleagues have been introducing themselves.

My physician colleagues were the first to initiate the change of referring to me as 'doctor' soon after I received my DNP and made my educational training, including theirs, visible in the waiting room so patients can see each provider's qualifications.

I don't have a DNP, because it is literally probably one of the most fluffed up doctorates out there, however NONE of my DNP colleagues use the term "doctor" while in the hospital. I use, "Hi, I am Numenor, I will be your primary provider for your hospital stay".

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SummerGarden has 12 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr.

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OP, good for you!! Maybe this will spread across all settings of nursing? Currently, I have experienced what the other posters have posted... In fact, I have a coworker who has a DNP and we work in the hospital setting... My coworker only uses "Dr." at nursing conferences, peer group expert consulting and collaborative functions, and when teaching courses. The argument currently within our profession and other professions is that within the clinical setting the doctor title is confusing to patients. Plus, PTs and Pharmacists are doctor's too and they do not use the title in the hospital or outpatient clinical settings either.

So, maybe this will change? Maybe using the title doctor will be OK if nurses with DNPs and PhDs wear big tags with their badges showing RN or NP? While MDs, DOs, PTs, and Pharm Ds wear their corresponding education/licenses while they state that they too are doctors? Just some thoughts.. Good luck to you and your collogues with the revolution! 🙂

Edited by SummerGarden

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WestCoastSunRN has 24 years experience as a MSN and specializes in CVICU, MICU, Burn ICU.

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I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I don't want patients to be confused, but on the other hand medicine must be distinguished in other ways besides requiring a doctorate degree, because, as previous posters have mentioned, many healthcare professions are requiring or utilizing doctorate degrees. Also, we live in a different age where medicine is no longer expected to be at the top of a healthcare hierarchy. The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (which the AMA, along with every other major professional healthcare organization endorses) calls for a non-hierarchal approach to healthcare. This means, among other things, we all have to earn respect for the work we do and what we contribute to the team as opposed to letters behind any of our names.

That said, I don't feel the need to advocate for the right to be called "doctor" in the clinical setting - especially if my colleagues are not supportive of that.

However, I think it's probably right - that if you are going to be formal about addressing someone that you call them "Dr ______", regardless of their profession, but I guess if nursing advocates for it, I think the same courtesy should extend to everyone, as well. So give credit where it's due, but across the board and educate patients that all sorts of people have terminal degrees -- it doesn't mean they have the same skill sets.

Also, we call our psychologists "Dr ___________" - and that does not seem to confuse anyone.

It's an interesting thought and we are probably at the place in healthcare where maybe the tide needs to get ready to change?

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Numenor has 8 years experience as a MSN, NP and specializes in Internal Medicine.

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23 hours ago, WestCoastSunRN said:

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I don't want patients to be confused, but on the other hand medicine must be distinguished in other ways besides requiring a doctorate degree, because, as previous posters have mentioned, many healthcare professions are requiring or utilizing doctorate degrees. Also, we live in a different age where medicine is no longer expected to be at the top of a healthcare hierarchy. The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (which the AMA, along with every other major professional healthcare organization endorses) calls for a non-hierarchal approach to healthcare. This means, among other things, we all have to earn respect for the work we do and what we contribute to the team as opposed to letters behind any of our names.

That said, I don't feel the need to advocate for the right to be called "doctor" in the clinical setting - especially if my colleagues are not supportive of that.

However, I think it's probably right - that if you are going to be formal about addressing someone that you call them "Dr ______", regardless of their profession, but I guess if nursing advocates for it, I think the same courtesy should extend to everyone, as well. So give credit where it's due, but across the board and educate patients that all sorts of people have terminal degrees -- it doesn't mean they have the same skill sets.

Also, we call our psychologists "Dr ___________" - and that does not seem to confuse anyone.

It's an interesting thought and we are probably at the place in healthcare where maybe the tide needs to get ready to change?

PT and PharmDs are mostly doctorates. Do we call them doctor? No. Do they ask for it? Generally, also no.

Patients are easily confused and while there are multiple doctorates in HC, it will only lead to confusion to use that title in the workplace.....and for what gain? Ego?

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WestCoastSunRN has 24 years experience as a MSN and specializes in CVICU, MICU, Burn ICU.

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24 minutes ago, Numenor said:

PT and PharmDs are mostly doctorates. Do we call them doctor? No. Do they ask for it? Generally, also no.

Patients are easily confused and while there are multiple doctorates in HC, it will only lead to confusion to use that title in the workplace.....and for what gain? Ego?

Right - I see your point. In fact, I stated it in my post and share the similar concern. But I think you missed the counter point altogether.

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Numenor has 8 years experience as a MSN, NP and specializes in Internal Medicine.

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5 minutes ago, WestCoastSunRN said:

Right - I see your point. In fact, I stated it in my post and share the similar concern. But I think you missed the counter point altogether.

I don't think there really is one. Doctors=physicians in the clinical setting. Outside of it, the Dr. title is often used on conferences or email sigs where it is more appropriate. Psychologists are a grey area because they act usually independent, you rare see one in an inpatient setting or general multi discipline practice.

I literally get called "doctor" every single day despite me correcting patients. They are already baseline confused what NPs are in the first place, throwing two letters in the mix adds nothing to patient care.

Edited by Numenor

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I have both a DNP and a PhD. I rarely use the title in any setting and prefer to be called by my first name.

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