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Nurses Don't Want To Be Doctors

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, October 4, 2011

The controversy is a distraction from the wider issues of patient access, removing barriers to nurses practicing to the full extent of their training, and improving quality and outcomes. Physician groups have a tendency to use the topic of patient confusion as a smokescreen for their larger concerns over fears about increased advanced practice nurse autonomy and prescribing power and dwindling shares of the reimbursement pie.

Ultimately, patients don't care about titles as long as they see the right person, at the right time, who can provide the right care.


Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at rhendren@hcpro.com.
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6 comments on "Nurses Don't Want To Be Doctors"


Robert Dimick (11/26/2011 at 11:06 PM)
This lady is "not big on titles", obviously because she wants to use the title of "doctor" for those who have not earned it. If she is "not big on titles" why not just refer to all nurses, APN, or otherwise, as "Miss"? Let's see how popular that title is with the nurses!

Karl Vanhooten (10/7/2011 at 11:33 AM)
I love to address a colleague I have who is an MD, MPH, and PhD as Doctor, Master, Doctor. Really ticks him off. C'mon people; get over yourselves and just take care of the patient. MDs had dibs on the title in healthcare over 100 years ago, long before academic PhDs entered the patient care arena. Should I call a retired PhD who volunteers as a gray lady, Doctor Jones?

M Luttrell, PhD, NP (10/6/2011 at 4:27 PM)
I must agree with previous post[INVALID]I believe the issue is more about age-old turf protection and politics, and perhaps some defense out of fear of more health care professionals earning higher credentials. All doctorates are academic credentials and from different disciplines. The title denotes a basic respect for the knowledge obtained and the discipline required to earn that terminal degree achievement, no matter the subject area. I did not realized that those with MDs have wholesale ownership of the title "doctor"(!). Excellent, team driven, cost-effective and evidence-driven patient care is what matters, not such petty title battles. Let's put this energy into what's important. To the MDs so concerned I continue to say professional respect is a two-way exchange. To review some US medical history: it wasn't that long ago when many informally, lay-trained individuals practiced medicine under the title of "doctor" without the MD in hand ...