Are Sure You Know What Kind of “Doctor” Is Treating You?

If you are not certain who is treating you, ask!!!

We are familiar with M.D. and D.O. (physicians). Many other clinicians are called doctor such as your dentist (D.M.D.), podiatrist (D.P.M.), optometrist (O.D.) and chiropractor (D.C.).

Read this from the New York Times:

“‘Hi. I’m Dr. Patti McCarver, and I’m your nurse,’ she said. And with that, Dr. McCarver stuck a scope in Ms. Cassidy’s ear, noticed a buildup of fluid and prescribed an allergy medicine. It was something that will become increasingly routine for patients: a someone who is not a physician using the title of doctor. Dr. McCarver calls herself a doctor because she returned to school to earn a doctorate last year, one of thousands of nurses doing the same recently. Doctorates are popping up all over the health professions, and the result is a quiet battle over not only the title ‘doctor,’ but also the money, power and prestige that often come with it.”

So now we also have doctors who are nurses (D.N.P., Ph.D, or Ed.D), pharmacists (Pharm.D), physical therapists (D.P.T.), social workers (D.S.W.), psychologists (Psy.D.), audiologists (Au.D.), occupational therapists (DrOT), and speech pathologists (SLP.D).

Every clinician should wear be wearing a name tag that includes name, degree, and clinical profession such as: Mary Green, M.D., Neurology Resident; Stan Brown, D.N.P., Nurse Practitioner; or Chris Magenta, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist.

If you are not certain who is treating you, ask!!!

Click here to read the full NYT article click on “When the Nurse Wants to Be Called ‘Doctor‘” by Gardiner Harris.


Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands? ™ provides information to consumers on understanding, managing and navigating health care options.

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., is Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Adjunct Professor, Baruch College ( C.U.N.Y.), Rutgers School of Public Health, and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration.

This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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