Home Forums The Controversy of the DOCTOR Title Bills restricting or banning nurses with doctorate degrees from using “doctor” Reply To: Bills restricting or banning nurses with doctorate degrees from using “doctor”


Hi Susan,
I’m currently a DNP student in California. After reading both Florida HB 583 and California AB 765, the Wood bill is short-sighted and doesn’t provide the clarification it intends. In the Florida HB 583 Bill, paragraph G addresses non-physicians with a doctoral degree. It provides a new abbreviation of “D.” instead of “Dr.” but allows the use of “Doctor” if their credentialing and specification are clearly denoted. This is a better compromise than excluding a doctoral degree from the title altogether. As healthcare professionals, we should be clear about our titles and credentials. Although I believe doctoral graduates should have unrestricted use of the title “Doctor”, I can understand how patients and people unfamiliar with healthcare can be confused. This bill restricts the term “physician” to doctors of medicine, which I feel is appropriate. Furthermore, it provides restrictions on who may call themselves “RN”, “LVN”, and other healthcare professional titles.
California’s AB 765 doesn’t address doctoral graduates whatsoever. It simply states that you must be a physician or surgeon to use the title. This is short-sighted for two reasons. First, as of 2025, a DNP will become the entry-level degree for all NP. Henceforth, as they start to open their own practices, they would be unable to use their “doctor” title in any form of advertisement, business card, ect without being penalized. Under this law, simply writing “Doctor of nursing practice” would be a misdemeanor offense and could potentially remove much-needed providers from the workforce. Secondly, the inspiration for this bill is based on patient survey data, stating, “ According to the American Medical Association’s Truth in Advertising surveys, 79 percent of patient respondents would support legislation in their state to require all health care advertising materials to clearly designate the level of education, skills, and training of all health care professionals promoting their services”. However, this bill doesn’t prompt clarification of education or credentialing whatsoever but only restricts the use of one title. This is misleading for the general public, leading them to believe this bill provides transparency for all healthcare providers. California’s AB 765 would only encourage more unnecessary healthcare legislation. It would be more appropriate to adopt legislation in the fashion of Florida’s HB 583 and require education and license designation for all healthcare professionals.