Should nurses and PAs get doctorates?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Oct 12, 2019 at 10:52 PM.

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  1. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Active Member

    So, I kept seeing this Doctor of Medical Science ad on my timeline. It's a program for physician assistants.
    https://www.lynchburg.edu/academics/college-of-health-sciences/physician-assistant-medicine/doctor-of-medical-science/

    I don't think nurses and physician assistants should be getting doctorates. I think it is misleading if they are going to refer to themselves as "Dr."

    "My name is Dr. John Doe and I'm your nurse (or physician assistant)."

    I think these degrees (DNP and DMSc) are nothing but cash cows. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    I don't see any reason why nurses and PAs shouldn't further their education at the doctoral level.

    I think it's customary for nurses with doctorates (and probably PAs since the Doctor of Medical Science degree is fairly new) not to refer themselves as "doctor" in a clinical setting so they don't confuse patients.
     
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    If you think a nurse with a doctoral degree will be working on a medical floor then you are sadly mistaken.
     
  4. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Active Member

    I can understand getting a doctorate if you want to teach.

    Well, that makes sense.
     
  5. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Active Member

    I wonder why not? People with Ph.Ds choose to be truck drivers.
     
  6. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    There are plenty of nurse practitioners doing their thing with DNPs.
     
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Administrators, I’d bet.
     
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    In medicine, the title "doctor" is a practitioner's title, not an academic one. It would be inappropriate to use the title "doctor" in a health care setting unless you are that level of provider. The degree the OP mentions is NOT a first professional degree. A nurse with a PhD would be "doctor" in an educational setting, but not in a professional one.

    That said, a much stronger case can be made for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The DNP is rapidly becoming the entry-level degree for NPs. And NPs are rapidly replacing general practice physicians (though not completely). But....

    The DNP remains interchangeable with the MS in Nursing Practice, which a lot of NPs use to enter this level of practice. Also, the word on the street is that the DNP doesn't really provide much more in the way of practice than did the very rigorous master's. It smack of degree inflation, much like the Doctor of Physical Therapy. For nurses this is all pretty new, so we'll see what shakes out.
     
    copper likes this.
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  11. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Active Member

  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Well Chris, I guess it’s because in your original post you said Nurses shouldn’t be referred to as doctors.
     
  13. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Active Member

    If you read the post with comprehension, you would realize that I was referring to practitioners, not academicians (who are RNs).
     
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    It would be better for everyone if you didn't adopt a condescending tone. I trust that you are reading this with comprehension.
     
  15. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Active Member

    Please enlighten me, madam moderator.
     
  16. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    No, I think I'd rather just let it go.
     
  17. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    My opinion is that nurses should have any many doctorates as they can afford. It is a personal choice, and endeavour.
     
  18. copper

    copper Member


    As a PA, I see the DMSc as a degree with very low utility. I noticed some of the degrees have an administration focus but one would have much greater utility pursuing an MBA if they desire a track in hospital administration. Perhaps there is some utility in academics but the pay cut would not be worth it! Additionally, I doubt the physicians I work with will be impressed in the slightest. If a PA wants to be called "doctor" skip this track and go MD or DO.

    I come from the old school master and bachelor level practitioner paradigm. I don't know what drove the schools to "doctoral education" in pharmacy, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, audiologist, occupational assistant, physical therapy,etc?? They all used to be bachelor and master level programs. Perhaps the State boards are pushing for higher licensing requirements? It would be interesting to see if there is any data supporting better outcomes from doctorally prepared practitioners versus us old farts whom by the way, mentor these students.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019 at 10:50 PM
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The Doctor of Medical Science was created as sort of a bridge program with the hopes that a state would pass a law that would allow physician assistants to work independently, but physician associations successfully lobbied against that law.
     
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Very interesting take. Two things that distinguish NPs from PAs are that NPs are practicing nurses first and that in some states they can practice independently (with varying amounts).
     

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