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Should Nurses With Doctorates Be Called 'Doctors'?

Living 2011/10/02 21:35:56
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A growing number of nurses are choosing to pursue doctorate degrees. Last year, 153 nursing schools gave doctor of nursing practice degrees to 7,037 nurses. That was a significant increase from 2004, when only four schools gave the degrees to 170 nurses. But does that mean that we should call them doctors?

Some nurses think so. For example, one nurse with a doctorate degree introduces herself by saing, “Hi. I’m Dr. Patti McCarver, and I’m your nurse.” However, many physicians disagree and are pursuing legislation to prevent nurses from using the title.

“There is real concern that the use of the word ‘doctor’ will not be clear to patients,” said Dr. Roland Goertz, the board chairman of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Arizona and Delaware have already adopted laws forbidding nurses, pharmacists, and others to use the title “doctor” unless they immediately identify their profession. The New York State Senate is considering a proposal that would bar nurses from using the title regardless of the their degree. A law has also been proposed in the United States Congress that would prevent individuals from misrepresenting their education or license to practice.

What do you think? Should nurses with doctorate degrees be allowed to call themselves ‘doctors’?

Read More: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/who-gets-...

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  • moonchild 2011/10/02 21:49:06
    Yes, they deserve it.
    moonchild
    +19
    MDs do not have the corner on the title 'doctor'.. It's an earned degree of education. Most doctoral prepared nurses are NOT working the bedside and are not going to confuse patients. There is no reason a nurse can not introduce herself, "Hello, I'm Dr. Smith, I'm a nurse specialized in 'xyz' and I'm here to discuss 'xyz'.."

    Doctors aren't worried about confusing patients (it's so condescending assuming patients will be confused), doctors don't want nurses of any level of education to be considered professional equals. Doctors don't want to show a nurse that kind of respect.

    Anyone with a PhD has earned the title 'doctor' as well as anyone in any field with a doctorate- it's an earned title.

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  • John Bond 2014/01/31 16:00:04
  • catecholamine.2010 2012/06/01 07:59:08 (edited)
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    catecholamine.2010
    +1
    No they should not be. At least not in any clinical setting. The implication is medical doctor. Medical school is the ultimate test of work ethic, dedication, and intellectual ability, and the mantle it confers should only apply to those have graduated from it. Get over yourself nurse. If you want to be called "doctor" then go to Med school.
  • Edward R 2011/12/27 21:52:37
    Yes, they deserve it.
    Edward R
    The word “doctor” is a title, not a profession. The title comes from earning a doctoral degree; any doctoral degree. There are many, many different doctoral degrees such as doctor of medicine, doctor of dental surgery, doctor of music, doctor of environmental design, doctor of psychology, doctor of divinity, and on and on and on. Almost every academic discipline offers a doctoral degree. Anyone who holds any doctoral degree has the title of “doctor.” There are also doctor of philosophy degrees (PhD) in many fields. That degree is considered a research degree for that particular discipline, such as an engineer who completed a PhD in engineering has earned the professional degreed title of “doctor” but his or her profession is “engineer.” Another example, completing a doctoral ‘practice’ degree in psychology awards the doctor of psychology degree, or PsyD degree. Completing a research degree in psychology awards the PhD degree in psychology. Like the engineer mentioned previously, a person who completed medical school and earned a doctor of medicine degree also has the degreed title of “doctor” but his or her profession is “physician” not “doctor.” So why do people think only physicians can be called “doctor?’ Because the average person never interacts with a person with a doct...
    The word “doctor” is a title, not a profession. The title comes from earning a doctoral degree; any doctoral degree. There are many, many different doctoral degrees such as doctor of medicine, doctor of dental surgery, doctor of music, doctor of environmental design, doctor of psychology, doctor of divinity, and on and on and on. Almost every academic discipline offers a doctoral degree. Anyone who holds any doctoral degree has the title of “doctor.” There are also doctor of philosophy degrees (PhD) in many fields. That degree is considered a research degree for that particular discipline, such as an engineer who completed a PhD in engineering has earned the professional degreed title of “doctor” but his or her profession is “engineer.” Another example, completing a doctoral ‘practice’ degree in psychology awards the doctor of psychology degree, or PsyD degree. Completing a research degree in psychology awards the PhD degree in psychology. Like the engineer mentioned previously, a person who completed medical school and earned a doctor of medicine degree also has the degreed title of “doctor” but his or her profession is “physician” not “doctor.” So why do people think only physicians can be called “doctor?’ Because the average person never interacts with a person with a doctorate in astronomy or physics or biology or archeology or English, or any other academic discipline. But everyone interacts with a doctored degree physician, so almost everyone thinks the “doctor” title belongs only to physicians, and they e ven think “doctor” and “physician” are synonyms. By the way, when a physician is incompetent and dangerous to his or her patients and his or her medical license is revoked, he/she still has the academic title of “doctor.” When you lose your license to practice medicine you are no longer a physician but the academic college that granted your doctoral degree does not revoke your degree; one would still be “doctor” by college degree but not a “physician” if the license to practice as a physician was revoked. Like all academic disciplines nursing also has doctoral degrees. And like anyone else with a doctoral degree their appropriate degreed title is “doctor.” They are a nurse with a doctoral nursing degree, just like a physician with a doctoral medical degree. Also, you may find it interesting that the average nurse graduating with a doctoral degree has completed 12 years of college. The average physician graduating has completed 8 years of college.
    (more)
  • Dheadly Lhust 2011/10/18 04:34:42
    Yes, they deserve it.
    Dheadly Lhust
    +1
    Why not? They do have a DOCTORATE, therefore they have earned their title.
  • bricklyn 2011/10/14 05:08:10
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    bricklyn
    Technically they are a doctor. However, in a medical setting they should not be called a doctor as they are not being employed in the capacity of a physician.
  • Dr. Ale... bricklyn 2013/10/17 19:43:27
    Dr. Alex Stroud
    +3
    The M.D. is now and will remain only a practical doctorate. There are four levels of doctorates. Those who practice are practical, and lowest on the totem pole, then phd or others like it are research, because they research to find answers to questions on a global level. Your next higher level is a Higher Doctorate, for which there are very few, Doctor of Divinity being one. It is an imperical degree which means it is granted by an body or group. Doctorates in divinity attend a seminary, run by a church, ie the Roman Catholic Church, a group stands behind this degree, for which the candidate must show proof of community outreach, theoretical practice, and continuing practice. Then you have your honorary doctorates, these are granted by an institution my merit of a candidates proven abilities in philanthropy, community service, published works aiding the merit of the subject matter. All should reserve the right to retain the academic title of "Doctor," with the exception of the honoraria. Rules placed upon them are subject to the institution bestowing the honor, and are laid out to the candidate, it is normally uncommon to see an honorary degree holder claim the title though.
  • bricklyn Dr. Ale... 2013/10/18 18:20:36
    bricklyn
    I said DOCTOR, not M.D. There is a major difference. You obviously do not understand the difference at all.

    There are NOT four level of doctorates either. They all are give the same academic standard. The individual themselves chose their own occupation. That can be research, teaching or part of a group project in the corporate environment. The least important are the clergy as they have the lowest lever of educational standards and accreditation.

    There are hundreds of different kinds of doctors, a Medical Doctor is only one of them.

    The Doctor od Divinity as you want to think of a doctor is an oxymoron, they do not have a rounded education that other discipline have. The scope of their course content is extremely limited. No religious education can ever be considers to have in the same light as other doctoral degrees.
  • Dr. Ale... bricklyn 2014/07/15 14:47:15
    Dr. Alex Stroud
    Who are you to judge the level of their education? Who are you to determine if their education is adequate? I think that if you fear the level of their education, then you should just not see them, and request another provider, or leave that clinic, or hospital that supports the education of their staff and contracted providers.

    As for my response to your statement, "If you say so, apparently you are the authority on the matter!"
  • bricklyn Dr. Ale... 2014/07/19 09:01:54
    bricklyn
    I am also an educated person. Unless they are hired as a doctor, they should not be using that title in the position they are working at. It is that simply.

    It has nothing to do with the level of education. If you are have the medical doctor, but are hired to wash the floor, you should be be using the title either. That also happened in N. America today. As you have not been hired for your qualification, but the job you applied for.

    I have absolutely no fear of the level of anyone education. Which is a stupid statement. But it would cause conflict with staffing and wages as well.You get the title for the job you were hired for. Period
  • sockpuppet 2011/10/07 00:00:46
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    sockpuppet
    Maybe we could just make little "finger quotes" in the air when we say it. :O)
  • bricklyn sockpuppet 2011/10/14 05:08:57
    bricklyn
    childish
  • sockpuppet bricklyn 2011/10/14 15:51:13
    sockpuppet
    Maybe, but it's easier to see than eyeball-rolling.
  • bricklyn sockpuppet 2011/10/14 20:19:58
    bricklyn
    again childish
  • sockpuppet bricklyn 2011/10/14 22:05:20 (edited)
    sockpuppet
    Maybe if you learned the language and stopped trolling,
    you'd begin to like Americans more. :O)


    grad school   ha
  • bricklyn sockpuppet 2011/10/15 20:17:21
    bricklyn
    +1
    I use English.
  • sockpuppet bricklyn 2011/10/16 00:31:18
    sockpuppet
    I'm glad we're still together, Muskie. I was beginning to think
    you'd found another lucky guy to play with. :O)

    So, tell me... in which field are you degreed?
  • bricklyn sockpuppet 2011/10/17 18:44:08
    bricklyn
    science
  • sockpuppet bricklyn 2011/10/17 19:46:55
    sockpuppet
    Nursing, by any chance?
  • bricklyn sockpuppet 2011/10/18 00:24:35
    bricklyn
    No, veterinary medicine.
  • sockpuppet bricklyn 2011/10/18 03:16:23
    sockpuppet
    Honorable profession. I've known some excellent vets.

    I was an RN. Unique set of challenges for a male nurse
    when I was doing it. Got out just in time. :O)
  • bricklyn sockpuppet 2011/10/19 18:28:30
    bricklyn
    I love working with animals. It is the humans that frustrate me.
  • mtensmey 2011/10/05 13:55:10
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    mtensmey
    +1
    Doctor, when used in a hospital means someone with a license to practice medicine, not someone with a PhD. The can use the term outside the hospital just like anyone else with a doctorate degree. Pushing legislation might be unnecessary though.
  • askmike mtensmey 2011/10/05 19:41:22
    askmike
    There are dozens of employees with doctorates in hospitals that are not licensed to practice medicine. They are doctors and their co-workers address them as doctors.
  • sockpuppet mtensmey 2011/10/07 00:07:40
    sockpuppet
    It was always kind of complicated in the military, where nurses often outrank the docs they're taking orders from, as well. Fortunately, the medical personnel tend to ignore the rank structure, as they're just passin' through. :O)
  • bricklyn mtensmey 2011/10/14 05:13:58
    bricklyn
    A PhD is not the same as a MD. A lot of others use the title of Dr. even though they are not medical doctors. In a hospital setting it could be confusing for people who do not understand the difference. My daughter has a lot of peoploe asking her for advise after she got her PhD in Environments Biology. They thought she was a medical doctor and had never heard of any other kind.
  • Student 2011/10/05 12:18:26
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    Student
    No. Teachers with doctorates are not call superintendent of schools.
  • askmike Student 2011/10/05 14:08:31
    askmike
    Huh?
  • bricklyn Student 2011/10/14 05:14:38
    bricklyn
    They can be.
  • busyboots 2011/10/05 11:31:52
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    busyboots
    I see nothing wrong with "Nurse Practitioner".
  • Ami Kate 2011/10/05 11:06:59
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    Ami Kate
    No.
  • xxspottoxx 2011/10/05 07:56:12 (edited)
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    xxspottoxx
    Well, yes because its confusing to patients but also because they dont deserve it. They aren't in university for anywhere near the amount of time that a doctor is. They also dont have to do an internship they can just leap straight into their positions. It takes at least 8-9 years for a doctor to earn his title, its not fair for nurses to use it.
  • joanna ... xxspottoxx 2011/10/05 16:40:55
    joanna hodge
    +4
    This is total garbage. It takes years to get a PhD (I know from personal experience) and anyone who has put that much time and effort into independent research and thinking absolutely deserves to use the title Dr. Patients are not as stupid as you think they are.
  • xxspottoxx joanna ... 2011/10/06 07:53:31
    xxspottoxx
    +1
    I didn't call the patients stupid ma'am, I just said it may be confusing. I also wasn't addressing you when I wrote my response and do not appreciate you insulting my response. I also don’t give a rat’s ass about your personal experiences, I didn't ask for your opinion so I don’t believe I should have to see it.
    Now, a nurse may put a lot of work into achieving their doctorates degree, it's nothing compared to what actual doctors have accomplished. A lot of people put a lot of energy into independent research but not all of them deserve the tile Dr. that should be reserved for the people who put in the time to earn themselves a full medical license.
  • bricklyn joanna ... 2011/10/14 05:17:41
    bricklyn
    I disagree. When my daughter got her PhD, she was repeatedly asked for medical advise. When she explained that she was an environmental biologist, people were surprised and said they had never heard of anythink other than a medical doctor. She ended up taking the DR. off of her credit card to shop the nonsense.
  • MDresident joanna ... 2012/01/05 03:06:47
    MDresident
    +1
    As a resident working 80+ hour weeks in the hospital, I can tell you with 100% certainty that there is a LOT of confusion regarding the roles of the various individuals running in and out of a patients room. This has NOTHING to do with the fact that the patient is stupid as you very ignorantly state, but rather that they are sick and overwhelmed by everything that is going on. Not to mention the fact that a patient in an academic center will likely be seen by at least 3 RNs, 3 techs, 1 intern, 1 resident, 1 attending, some medical students and perhaps some consulting services (that again often have atleast 1 attending, 1 fellow and 1 resident each)... that is A LOT of people to keep track of even on your best days.
  • bricklyn MDresident 2013/10/18 18:29:15 (edited)
    bricklyn
    Sad, but many supposedly 'doctors' are not doctors at all. They are simply 'interns' parading around a doctors in white jackets,with out the education or training at all. A nurse with the education and more training should be given far more respect that these 'doctors in training'
  • juskro92 2011/10/05 02:30:26
    No, it's confusing for patients.
    juskro92
    I think no in a hospital or workplace. It's very confusing. Outside however, the title should be Dr. _______.
  • Joanna the Great 2011/10/05 02:29:49 (edited)
    Yes, they deserve it.
    Joanna the Great
    I can see how patients would get confused, though. So perhaps only in certain settings, but not with patients. It's just unfair that the title of nurse immediately implies they don't know as much as the "doctor". If they aren't with patients, then they should be respectively addressed as "Doctor".
  • the boss 2011/10/05 01:03:34
    Yes, they deserve it.
    the boss
    +1
    hell yes THEY do all the work while the docter zooms in, says something and zooms out,but guess who makes all the money...
  • MDresident the boss 2012/01/05 03:13:37
    MDresident
    +5
    Wow, as a resident physician that works 80+ hour weeks whose RNs work 36hr weeks (and make more than I do), this comment is very misinformed. As a patient, your assessment is very skewed since you see nothing of what the physician does outside of your room (ie, review your history, order medications, write notes, discuss w other physicians, research your condition, etc) but are privy to seeing your RN in your room executing your physicians orders. Please understand that physicians work VERY hard outside your room to help get you better, just like your nurse does.
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