A doctoral degree for nurses has sparked a backlash from physicians, who say referring to nurses by the title "doctor" could be confusing to patients, NPR reports. “I can just imagine a patient walking into my exam room and saying, ‘Now, Dr. Smith, are you a doctor doctor, or are you a doctor nurse?'” says one physician. But some nurses say they deserve the title after completing the 6-year program.
“I practice at an advanced level, and I have earned the right to be called doctor,” said one. The disagreement over the title is more rooted in “ego” than concern for confused patients, says a dean at one of the more than 200 schools that offer a doctorate in nursing. “With all these new people—physician assistants, nurse practitioners—coming into the field, maybe our training won't lead to a secure position in the future,” notes a medical student.