Dr. Pepper, Dr. J, Dr. Dre, Dr. Biden, Dr. Feel Good, Dr. Strange & Dr Moma: Doctor, or nurse? Understanding the Complexities of Medical Titles

In the article Doctor, or nurse? Understanding the complexities of medical titles – Dr. Moma is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurseit starts out by stating: “Even though Dr. Sylvienash Moma’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic was enrolled under the title of “Dr. Moma’s LLC,” she is actually an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. That is not the same as a physician.” The controversy becomes using the title Doctor in a clinical setting. My sentiment is that this is wrong for anyone other than a physician to use the title Doctor in a hospital or medical clinic. The reasonable and prudent person understands Doctor to mean physician in a hospital or medical clinic. 

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine has a position statement addressing this: Updated Position Statement on Non-Physician Practitioners  (https://www.aaem.org/resources/statements/position/updated-advanced-practice-providers). They state: 

“Every practitioner in an ED has a moral duty to clearly inform the patient of his/her training and qualifications to provide emergency care. In the interest of transparency, NPPs must not be called “doctor” in the clinical setting.” 

An American Academy of Family Physicians blog (https://www.aafp.org/news/blogs/inthetrenches/entry/20190903itt-differences.html) writes: 

“The AAFP continues to support “truth in advertising” laws(www.ama-assn.org) that would require all health care professionals to identify their level of training, education and licensing, not simply the title of “doctor.” For example, patients should know whether you are a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy, doctor of philosophy, doctor of education, doctor of jurisprudence, Doctor Love or Dr. Dre.”

The American Medical Association (AMA) has the truth in advertising campaign (https://www.ama-assn.org/councils/council-legislation/ama-model-bills):

“Health Care Professional Transparency Act is designed to ensure health care providers clearly and honestly state their level of training, education and licensing. Patients deserve to have this information when in face-to-face encounters as well as when they read health care providers’ advertising, marketing and other communications materials. The legislation requires all health care professionals to clearly and accurately identify themselves in all writings, advertisements and other communications; ensures that all health care professionals wear a name tag that clearly identifies the type of license they hold; and prohibits advertisements or websites advertising health care services from including deceptive or misleading information.”

Back to the original article, why does this matter, or why does this bother me? Well, as a former NP and now an MD residency applicant, I can’t yet use the title Doctor especially in a clinical setting. I also wrote about an experience at the VA where my PCP introduced themselves as “doctor” only to find out they were a nurse practitioner. I have since filed an official complaint. I’m just concerned the practice of medicine is going down the proverbial rabbit hole into obscurity as more and more individuals confound their respective scopes of practice encroaching the art and science of medicine and modern medical practice. All team players have a place at the table, but the Physician-led team-based care according to the AMA (https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/scope-practice/physician-led-team-based-care): 

“The most effective way to maximize the complementary skill sets of all health care professionals is to work as part of a physician-led team.”

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434040cookie-checkDr. Pepper, Dr. J, Dr. Dre, Dr. Biden, Dr. Feel Good, Dr. Strange & Dr Moma: Doctor, or nurse? Understanding the Complexities of Medical Titles