Georgia law prohibits DNPs from using the term "doctor"

Updated:   Published

  • Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill into law May 2 preventing nonphysicians from using specialty titles such as "doctor," in an effort to promote transparency for patients.

Senate Bill 197 was written by state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, a certified anesthesiologist assistant. It's summary outlines an aim "to prohibit deceptive or misleading terms or false representations by healthcare practitioners in advertisements and representations" and to do the same regarding the "misappropriation of medical or medical specialty titles."

Georgia blocks nonphysicians from using specialty titles


10,833 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 44 years experience.

So people who acquire doctorates are not allowed to use that earned title? 

klone, MSN, RN

14,578 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Yep. And you should see the hubbub this is causing on LinkedIn. 

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,437 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

So are they also going to apply this to other, non healthcare doctorates or are they picking and choosing?


1 Post

Specializes in Healthcare management and leadership. Has 31 years experience.

I have a doctor in Healthcare management and leadership and thus is unacceptable.  Thank you Kemp voters.   This is the beginning of us going backwards.

Mike D

1 Post

Specializes in Rad Tech College Professor. Has 46 years experience.

RTR CT MEd  In Education and Clinical environment if you earned the degree you should be able to use Title Doctor. If Medical doctors are upset they should have a new title. In Heathcare 2023 there are Doctorates in Nursing, Education, Physical Therapy, Occupation Therapy ect. The Senator who wrote the bill probably has a Masters level CNA.  He does not care.  Patients should be educated about what degrees are in Healthcare.   Debate over Jill Binden rights to be called Dr Biden is crazy.  

allnurses Guide


7,066 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 47 years experience.

Largely, it will affect advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants who hold doctorate degrees. There has been significant ongoing debate at a national level regarding clinical titles and whether or not these professionals should be allowed to use "doctor" as a title or if doing so confuses patients.

How misleading is this? My very strong impression over the years is that the "significant ongoing debate at a national level" is generated from well-funded MD lobby groups protecting their turf.

Really disappointing to say the least.

Emergent, RN

2 Articles; 4,111 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

What about Dr Laura and Dr Phil?😮

Specializes in Medsurg. Has 15 years experience.
Emergent said:

What about Dr Laura and Dr Phil?😮

Good point!

Of all the things they could be addressing, this is on their radar? 

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 38 years experience.

I really think that this is just ridiculous. If you earn the Doctoral Degree, then you have earned the right to use the title of Dr. I think that there are significantly more important things that Georgia needs to take care of rather than this. I have a friend that is a DNP, and when she meets her new patients she identifies herself as Dr. Nurse. If the parents have any questions about that she takes the time to educate them. I think this attempt at legislation needs to be abandoned.