Monday, October 03, 2011
Gardiner Harris, NYT, Oct 1, 2011, says some nurses are getting doctorates and being called “Doctor.”
But, hey, why not? We need all the health care pros we can get—and this will continue into the future.
Nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists—all are claiming the title doctor.
Of course, the physicians are not pleased.
The nurses say the title helps them get administrative positions in hospitals. But it also helps with getting legislatures to give them the power to prescribe.
The physicians say patients will be confused. So they are pushing those same legislatures to limit who can be called doctor.
Also at issue—who does the patient see first—usually the “doctor.” But often now—physician assistants and advanced practice nurses. It’s a team now.
But it’s easier to get the title for some professions. Six to eight years of study for pharmacists, physical therapists and nurses—twice that for physicians. In 2004, pharmacists needed a doctorate. By 2015, PTs will need one.
There are many levels in between—specialized training for nurses, say, in epidemiology.
Many observers don’t see the benefit to the patient of a nurse with a doctorate and one with a master’s.
Twenty-three states already allow nurses to practice without a physician overlooking their decisions.
Nurses don’t want to be doctors, according to one expert—if they did, they would go to medical school.
Is anything EVER that simple?