Home Forums The Controversy of the DOCTOR Title Earned Doctoral Degree Reply To: Earned Doctoral Degree


Hi April, the sentiment expressed in this forum regarding Nurse Practitioners (NPs) with Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees is both valid and important. The healthcare field has evolved, and the DNP represents a substantial level of education and expertise. It’s crucial to recognize that NPs with DNPs have put in years of rigorous academic and clinical training, on par with other doctoral degrees like PhDs, DSWs, and PsyDs. In a diverse clinical setting, such as an integrated care outpatient clinic, where numerous healthcare professionals collaborate, it’s essential to maintain consistency and respect when addressing colleagues. As you mentioned, this should extend to the title “Dr.” for NPs with DNPs, just as it does for their peers with other terminal degrees. Referring to NPs with DNPs as “Doctor” in a clinical setting isn’t about confusing them with medical doctors (MDs), but rather recognizing the wealth of knowledge, clinical skills, and commitment they bring to patient care. In doing so, patients and colleagues can better understand the expertise and authority NPs with DNPs offer, facilitating effective teamwork and patient trust. It’s also important to emphasize that recognizing NPs with DNPs as “Doctor” aligns with the evolving healthcare landscape, where collaborative care and a team-based approach are increasingly valued. This respect not only contributes to professional cohesion but also reinforces the idea that healthcare is a multidisciplinary effort, where each member’s expertise and contribution are equally significant. In summary, acknowledging NPs with DNPs as “Doctor” within a clinical setting is a matter of respect for their earned doctoral degree and their critical role in modern healthcare. This practice enhances the credibility and collaboration within the healthcare team, ultimately benefiting patient care and outcomes. It’s understandable that this may take some time to get used to, but the transition has to start somewhere.