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  1. #1
    NorCal is offline Registered User
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    So earning a PhD doesn't necessarly make you a doctor.

    So I was sitting in an Emergency Room today when a secretary yells out, "oh doctor" in an attempt to get the attention of an Emergency Room Doctor walking past. All of a sudden this RN turns around yells out, "What."

    Everyone turns in complete silence and looks at this RN with that WTF look. After a moment of awkward silence, the doctor replies, "I think she was talking to me."

    Another RN turns to me and explains that the RN in question just completed her doctorate in Nursing a few weeks ago.

    The RN overheard the other nurse explain to me that she just obtained her doctorate, looked at me and said, "Well I guess I'm going to be getting that more often." Every nurse within an ear shot rolled their eyes and took off in different directions shaking their heads in disapproval.

    The awkward interaction got me thinking if someone should be addressing themselves as "Doctor" just because they've obtained a doctorate, especially in a medical setting? I believe having a "doctorate" and being a "doctor" are completely different and those lines should not be crossed. But thats just my opinion and I was wondering what some others here though about that situation. . .
    Last edited by NorCal; 03-31-2011 at 10:03 PM.
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  2. #2
    nanoose is offline Registered User
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    Context, context, context.

    I agree with you. In our culture, being a doctor and having a doctorate are different. And depending on where one is, addressing others as Dr. will be acceptable, or not. In the hospital, or in academic settings, yes, but probably not a lot of other places.

    My brother has a B&M PhD and technically could been addressed as Dr. but isn't. In appropriate circumstances, however, he is John Smith, PhD. But mostly he's just a 'dude.' :-)

  3. #3
    atrox79 is offline Registered User
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    I agree with you, it sounds a little pretentious and pompous for graduates with certain doctorate degrees to call themselves "doctor", though it wouldn't be wrong to do so. Wouldn't a J.D. degree technically make someone a "doctor"? For me though, I only think of doctors as those directly involved in some sort of medical/clinical profession.

  4. #4
    mcjon77 is offline Registered User
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    I thought that many hospitals have regulations regarding who can be refereed to as "doctor" in the hospital. IIRC, physicians, dentists, podiatrists, and PERHAPS psychologists are the only ones. Then again, this may be dependent on the hospital.

    I do know that there has been a big stink about hospitals refusing to allow nurses with DNP (doctor of nursing practice) to use the title.
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  5. #5
    perrymk is offline Registered User
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    Context is everything. In a hospital I would expect that holders of the MD degree would be the only ones to answer to "doctor."

    I called a chiropractor once and the receptionist answered the phone "doctor's office." I asked if this was the chiropractic clinic. She said yes. I ended up not using that facility. When I see my current chiropractor I refer to him as Dr., but I found it disconcerting that a chiropractic office needed to call itself anything other "chiropractic clinic" or similar.

  6. #6
    Maniac Craniac is offline Moderator
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    That should be on an episode of Grey's Anatomy
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  7. #7
    Maniac Craniac is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcjon77 View Post
    I thought that many hospitals have regulations regarding who can be refereed to as "doctor" in the hospital. IIRC, physicians, dentists, podiatrists, and PERHAPS psychologists are the only ones. Then again, this may be dependent on the hospital.

    I do know that there has been a big stink about hospitals refusing to allow nurses with DNP (doctor of nursing practice) to use the title.
    The problem is term confusion. We are accustomed to referring to physicians as "Doctor" and so the term "doctor" in common use means "physician," or, of course, any of a number of specialists like audiologists or dentists.
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  9. #8
    friendorfoe is offline Registered User
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    In a medical setting "doctor" generally has nothing to do with education but instead function. A "doctor" in a hospital is a senior care provider (obviously) but less obvious is in non-clinical settings such as in the military where a medic is often called "doc". Anyhow, just a random thought and probably adds no value to this conversation.
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  10. #9
    major56 is offline Registered User
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    In hospital settings, academic doctorial degree holders are NOT referred to or addressed as Doctor; I learned this many years ago at a large VA hospital. And larger hospitals have plenty of PhD holders on their research, support and administration staff payrolls. BTW, most of the non-medical doctors at this particular VA hospital also held the MPH degree; and many had attained this professional degree subsequent to their PhD, PsyD, EdD , etc.
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  11. #10
    ChiSquare is offline Registered User
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    I can imagine a similar situation in an academic institution: medical doctor getting WTF looks and eyerolls after answering to "doctor!" call...

  12. #11
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiSquare View Post
    I can imagine a similar situation in an academic institution: medical doctor getting WTF looks and eyerolls after answering to "doctor!" call...
    I don't think that would happen, especially since MD and DO holders can sometimes be found teaching and researching in colleges and universities.

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  13. #12
    mcjon77 is offline Registered User
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    I remember a situation that occurred 5 or 10 years ago that was the opposite of this. Several HMOs where using Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners as primary care providers (a role that they are completely qualified for) in their clinics. The HMOs gave the PAs and NPs lab coats that said "Dr" so and so. This was do, IIRC, so that patients wouldn't question the care they were receiving from the PA and NP, and demand to see a physician. The HMOs preferred to use PAs and NPs to doctors because they could perform essentially the same function for much less money.
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  14. #13
    John Bear is offline Senior Member
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    Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock wrote charmingly about celebrating his PhD in mathematics with a boat trip. The men on board all noted a very attractive young lady, and when the message came over the loudspeaker that said young lady had fainted, and if there was a doctor on board, report to the captains cabin. Leacock rushed there, but was preceded by a Doctor of Music and two Doctors of Divinity.

  15. #14
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    I'm ABD (PhD in Counselor Education ). We were discussing different academic opportunities for the fall when the third of our five children said, "daddy's going to be a doctor? what?!?" Our oldest (9) said, "not a real doctor, silly."

    doh!
    Last edited by graymatter; 04-01-2011 at 12:07 PM. Reason: typo

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  17. #15
    NorCal is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by friendorfoe View Post
    non-clinical settings such as in the military where a medic is often called "doc".
    That's an interesting point. I remember having an M60 stove pipe and the round blew back into my face. I was propped up against a tree when a paramedic began to field stitch my face. I remember calling him "doc" without even realizing it, it was just the nickname we used, kind of like a term of endearment.

    Paramedic fixed the wound, but the face was beyond repair prior to the incident, lol.
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  18. #16
    emissary is offline Registered User
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    +1 on context. It is customary for me to address my professors as Dr. so-and-so.

    The nurse in question, though deservingly proud of her degree, sounds like a pompous retard.
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