Home Forums The Controversy of the DOCTOR Title Restricting the use of the title “Doctor” Reply To: Restricting the use of the title “Doctor”


Hi Susan,

Something that stands out to me in the amended bill is section 2 part (g), “Patients deserve to have increased clarity and transparency in the education and training of their health care providers.” When advanced practice nurses with a DNP degree use the title “Dr.” with their credentials following their name and state they are a nurse practitioner, they are being fully transparent in their education and training. They are doctorate-prepared nurse practitioners. The same goes for other professions, such as dentists, optometrists, and physical therapists with doctorate degrees, they are being transparent. I live in California and every dentist I have had goes by the title doctor, and yet I have not heard of any dentists being charged the misdemeanor that a nurse practitioner in California was charged last year. This amended bill states that unless you went to medical school or osteopathic medical school, you cannot use the title doctor in healthcare or on social media. The aforementioned nurse practitioner who holds a DNP degree alleges that she always listed her credentials following her choice of title, and included the term nurse practitioner after introducing herself as “Dr.” yet was still charged with fraud and was asked to relinquish her license. As a DNP student, I am honestly a bit discouraged from using the title in the future after reading her court case. I do not believe any healthcare professional who holds a doctorate degree and uses the title doctor is trying to appear as a physician to any patients. I think any potential misunderstanding could be cleared up as long as the person states what their doctorate degree is in, such as “Hello, my name is Dr. Lastname, I’m a nurse practitioner with a doctorate degree in nursing.” Considering what happened to the previously mentioned nurse practitioner, I am curious what precedent this will set for other professions. Perhaps there will be closer auditing of other healthcare professionals in California who also choose to use the title doctor.