Doctor Who?

There continues to be a fair amount of push-back from M.D.’s who do not think a Nurse Practitioner who earns a terminal degree (DNP or PhD) should be called “Doctor”.  Some M.D.’s believe that it will cause too much confusion for the patients because a provider is “just a Nurse Practitioner” and not a Doctor.   They often site the fact that Nurse Practitioners do not receive a comparable amount of training (not really true).

To practice as a Nurse Practitioner an experienced nurse must go on to obtain a Master’s Degree and participate in hundreds of hours of clinical training. Then after passing a standardized examination he/she can obtain a license to practice as a Nurse Practitioner.   Some NP’s choose to go further and obtain a doctorate and can indeed be called Doctor at that point.  So one would then assume all those called “doctor” hold a terminal or the highest possible degree in a field.

Hold on to your hats, because I’m about to blow your mind.  Medical Doctor’s  are not required to hold a terminal, or doctorate degree.  Some physicians do go on to obtain a PhD, but not all.  There are several professions that receive this title ‘Doctor’ as an honorary title and not a degree.   Some of them are  Medical Doctor, Dentist, Veterinarian and Chiropractor.  So next time you hear “just a nurse practitioner” do your own ‘pushing-back’ and ask the question “just a NP as opposed to what?…”

Author: Nurse Meesh

I am a nurse practitioner, mom, wife and woman.

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