New York Times today. Most of you probably know that nurse practioners will require a PHD to practice by 2015. They can call themselves Dr. so and so because of the doctorate and all. Some are doing so. And guess what? Them other medical Drs are not happy. What a shock...
They are concerned over who gets to be called "doctor". If they allow other people to use the doctor title, they could "lose control of the profession". There is so much concern about this that legislation has been proposed bar people from "misrepresenting their license". Various states have taken up the issue in their legislatures.
Why do NPs think they need a doctorate? They want to have parity with other medical professions that require a PHD such as pharmacists. They think it gives the clinical knowledge that will allow them to be leaders in clinical practice, research and teaching.
I think this is about one thing: independent practice. NPs want to be able to have their own practices that are not being supervised by an MD. This is a move in that direction. And why not? Whether we like it or not, NPs are the future of primary care. They are the ones that will be working in the offices and doctors will be the specialists. Its inevitable the way medicine is going.
I think the whole "doctor" thing is really kind of amusing. Its a non issue. Most NPs will not call themselves doctor. Most NPs identify what their profession is to patients. Doctors are scrambling around these days as they see there role changing. They are panicing about having to justify everything they do. Are medical schools still teaching them that they are the center of the universe? I think they are. The thing is doctors have become just like the rest of us: part of a team. And they don't like it.