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”


Hello all,

I am currently a DNP student in the PMHNP program in California. I chose to spend almost two more years going for a DNP program instead of an MSN program because I want to achieve the highest education in my specialty and have more autonomy when caring for patients. However, as soon as I began my journey in the program, I realized how restricting and frustrating it is to have the title “doctor” with my name after graduation. It is unreasonable and unfair for the title “doctor” to be used exclusively for “physicians and surgeons” per California law. Nursing students who earn a doctorate should also be allowed to use the term “doctor” accordingly. Nursing is the most trusted profession, and nursing practice has been considered the safest. There are no reasons for us not to be called “doctors” after graduation. I had a chance to speak to one of the DNPs in the hospital where I worked in the past. He shared his thoughts on this particular issue with me, as a “doctorate” is the earned degree for any individual in any profession. The government or the American Medical Association (AMA) should not legislate, govern, or own it exclusively. Many non-physician professions, such as dentists, podiatrists, pharmacists, or Ph.D., have used the term “doctor” for decades without legal issues until the DNPs come into place. It is disrespectful to our nursing profession when the AMA states that patients should only be cared for by the most educated and trained physicians. Patients can understand the differences if we introduce our roles. Patients need to have more advocacy about APRNs, especially DNPs. It is essential to make the public be aware of our profession as other healthcare professions. Medical doctors and surgeons can use the term “physician” exclusively if they want to distinguish themselves from others.