In an article in Nursing Spectrum, Harriet Feldman weighed in on proposed legislation that would limit the use of the title “doctor” to physicians and dentists.
Harriet R. Feldman, RN, PhD, FAAN, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y., [said], “Healthcare belongs to a variety of professionals, many of whom have the title ‘doctor’ as a result of years of education and, for most, vast years of experience,” she said. “In these days of multi- and interdisciplinary practice and multiple points of entry to healthcare, such a concept is backwards and not in the best interests of patients.”
Many states have taken steps to enact or introduce “Truth in Advertising” legislation. Taking it one step further, in January 2011 then-New York Sen. Carl Kruger (D-27) introduced consumer protection bill S02250. The bill seeks to restrict the use of the term “doctor” in advertisements to only those who hold a medical degree or a degree in dentistry, as defined by the State Education Department. The bill has been endorsed by state medical associations, including The Medical Society of the State of New York and New York County Medical Society. Delaware has similar legislation to S02550 already in place.
In New York, the legislation most likely will not affect nurses’ practice, said Abby C. Kurtz, RN. “The quality of care that is provided by nurses, including DNPs, is not sacrificed nor dependent on the title,” she said.