Who can be called “Doctor”?


I just read an article regarding nurses calling themselves “doctor.” It appears that physicians are upset about the whole DNP situation, and are about to put up a fight. After reading the article I had more questions and frustrations than ever! I think this directly relates to the (awesome) discussion that was started two posts ago, regarding the Future of Nursing report by the IOM.

My first question: why are physicians more involved in the fate of nursing than nurses? I have tried not to let this get under my skin, but now it’s starting to itch!!

My second question: were these challenges anticipated when the powers that be decided to create the DNP and then make it mandatory as of 2015?

My third question: why have we still not found a solution to the entry-level-of-practice-for-nurses question?

Unfortunately I was left with far more questions than ideas after reading an article by a Chicago law firm for medical malfeasance, or the lawsuit info about Xarelto and what troubles can appear if any kind of maplractice taking place, but one thing I thought of is, couldn’t physicians be called “physicians” and nurse practitioners be called “nurse practitioners” and PAs be called “physician assistants,” etc.? If someone introduces themself as “Dr. So and So” that would reflect their educational background/degree, and then they would immediately clarify their role. I, for one, prefer to be called “Jane” by my patients, but I always let them know that I am a nurse and certified diabetes educator. I’m not sure what outcome(s) we’ll see from this physician-led legislation, regarding who can be called “Doctor,” but it seems that if someone earned a doctorate and wants to be called that, it’s their prerogative. There are a lot more doctors out there than just physicians, after all.

Thoughts?