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Do US pharmacists use the title 'doctor'

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by EnglishMedic, Aug 1, 2006.

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  1. EnglishMedic

    EnglishMedic Junior Member

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    I'm very interested in the US pharmacy profession. You guys study for the pharmD degree, so i'm assuming that gives you the right to use the title 'doctor'. So do you use this title when dealing with patients/ other health professionals or do you tend to use mr/mrs or first names?

    In the UK the pharmacy degree awarded is master of pharmacy, mpharm, so pharmacists in the UK cannot call themselves Dr.
  2. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist

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    Doctor is used in the professional setting, such as students addressing you as Dr. I address my pharmacist preceptors as Dr. At a clinic where I worked, one of the nurses called the pharmacist Dr. But, in most places everyone uses their first names with each other. Many patients call their pharmacist "doc", but I've never heard them addressed as Dr. So and So.
  3. patmcd

    patmcd Senior Member

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    Generally not since most people are still unaware that new pharmacists are doctors of pharmacy now.
  4. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    We're not pretentious enough to make people call us by some facade-of-prestige moniker. Mike is fine. Always has been.
  5. ForcedEntry

    ForcedEntry Lilo got stitched

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    Unless of course you need to correct an over-inflated medical doctor trying to impose superiority by calling you Mr./Mrs.. Then I might have gnash my teeth in his fleshy bum.

    Otherwise, I would encourage a first name basis with all patients and colleagues.
  6. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    Then you just call him dick. If he says something to a superior, just say you thought his name was Richard.
  7. ForcedEntry

    ForcedEntry Lilo got stitched

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    This was a test of the spineless pharmacists system. This was only a test. If this had been a real spineless pharmacist I would have fire bombed your local PF Changs.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled ramblings...
  8. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    Bomb something useless like a fire station or something. Geez.
  9. EnglishMedic

    EnglishMedic Junior Member

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    Thanks for your replies. I didn't mean using the title 'Dr' in a pretentious way, just whether you use it, or indeed could use the title if you wanted to :) , afterall lawyers in the US are JD and they don't tend to use Dr, despite their qualification being a professional doctorate.

    Surely, pharmacists now using the title 'Dr' is a very good thing as it has elevated the 'status' of the profession and means there is more equality in the work place. ;)

    Are pharmactists qualified pharmD any different to those qualified bpharm? For instance do they have additional powers, duties or abilities?
  10. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member

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    Each state has legislation for each profession that outlines what titles a health care professional may use in the context of a patient-provider relationship. It's really the legislation that determines whether or not you can call yourself "Dr. _____" as opposed to the degree you hold. So far I'm not aware of any states where pharmacists have been granted a protected title that would permit a PharmD to address oneself as doctor. Correct me if I'm wrong on that one.
  11. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    No. In all reality, they just added about 30 extra hours of worthless classes to pharmacy schools that none of us will ever use in order to fill the cirriculum for 3 years. PharmDs have no real knowledge advantage or legal advantage over an RPh. In fact, I would prefer to have just gotten a B.S. I'd be out there raking in the dough right now.
  12. immuno21

    immuno21 New Member

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    I don't mean to start a flame war here, but pharmacists are not doctors and out of reducing confusion for patients and others there is a reason why pharmacists do not carry this title......here's a little reading for you all.

    Sullivan Introduces Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act


    WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Congressman John Sullivan introduced the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act, important health care legislation which will move patients off of the sidelines and give them a chance to become active participants in the management of their health.

    “Given the complexity of the health care system in America, we need to make it easier for consumers to understand the differences in the kind of care offered,” Sullivan said. “We need a fundamental change in the way we approach the delivery of health care in the United States, which is why I have introduced the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act.”

    A National Consumers League survey on eye care showed that nearly all of those surveyed – 95 percent – said only physicians should perform surgery. State changes in laws related to practitioners’ scope of practice have blurred the line between medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, doctors of dental surgery or doctors of dental medicine, and non-M.D. practitioners. Adding to the confusion are providers, who are not medical doctors, using incorrect terminology such as “doctor” and “physician.” This important legislation helps patients distinguish between those who are medical doctors and those who are non-M.D. practitioners. “While non-M.D. practitioners have an important role in the health care system, in fairness to the patients, the line must be clear as to the qualifications of the providers treating them.”

    The Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act ensures that non-M.D practitioners do not misrepresent themselves to their patients through advertising. Individuals who still continue to do so would be subject to investigation and fines by the Federal Trade Commission.

    “As we focus on improving the delivery of health care in America, we must start by insisting on a level of transparency and truth in advertising that will empower patients to make an informed decision when it comes to their health care,” Sullivan said.
  13. twester

    twester Senior Member

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    Write your congress person to demand that they vote against the Sullivan legislation which amounts to nothing short of whiney AMA members who feel that they aren't being sufficiently worshiped.
  14. ForcedEntry

    ForcedEntry Lilo got stitched

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    Damnit! We have to find a new forum.
  15. SpirivaSunrise

    SpirivaSunrise Go Gators! Lifetime Donor

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    So now....how exactly are you supposed to address a doctor of osteopathic medicine???
    :confused:
  16. ZpackSux

    ZpackSux Retired

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    Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription.. is more cowbell!
  17. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    Corrected for accuracy. This legislature is silly. If you have a doctorate in a field, you have the title Doctor such-and-such. It's a thing from academia. How can physicians seriously claim to have a monopoly on a term that they aren't uniquely entitled to? What, are you going to make it illegal for school to give out doctorates to non-physcians in healthcare fields? Should physicians have a doctorate and a guy with a PhD in medicinal chemistry not? Just like me, it's not like physcians do dissertations and get a real doctorate.

    We (or at least I) don't want to be called "doctor", anyway. People are more honest to me if they don't associate me with some sort of title-prestige.

    Oh, and I call my physician Bill. He doesn't seem to mind. Works great for both of us. I guess people in WV aren't asses.
  18. ForcedEntry

    ForcedEntry Lilo got stitched

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    Has there been any recent legislature that wasn't silly?

    This Bill should more appropriately make the distinction between physician and pharmacist. But hey, is was proposed by an Energy and Commerce Committee member *cough*kickbacks*cough* for his confuzzled octogenarian constituents.


    Just thought of something else...what about the Veterinarians?
  19. Darvocet

    Darvocet Junior Member

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    you lost me in the first sentence. PharmD = Doctor of Pharmacy, no?
  20. ttran01

    ttran01 Member

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    so if you dont refer a pharmacist with a pharmD as Dr. _______, why do we refer a professor with a Ph.D as Dr. _______
  21. PILLMAN

    PILLMAN Junior Member

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    I think it should be clarified here that all doctorate degree holders ARE officially "doctors" - that's what the "D" in the titles connotes. This convention all originated from the original doctor, the Ph.D.

    Now what is up for discussion I believe is under what circumstances and context can (or should) one refer to oneself as "doctor". For example, while in a crowded airplane flight, someone yells out "is there a doctor in the house?" Would you/should you as a PharmD stand up & approach in the affirmative? Uhhh, probably not, or at least I wouldn't. Clearly here they are referring to a physician (in this case I don't see a distinction between MD or DO in being able to do the job that is needed). This brings us to the next point: the public refers to physicans as "doctors"; that is what they mean when they say "doctor" in a healthcare context. Of course, this has nothing to do with officiality - it's just what has become commonly accepted for some reason.

    So I think any discussion about title usage should revolve around contextual appropriateness and, if you want to widen the usage of the "doctor" titles, how best to educate/correct the public that "doctor" should refer to any doctorate degree holder, not just physicians. Ummm, maybe you can tell 'em that this is "confusing" a lot of doctorates out there who wants to be called doctor, damn it!
  22. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist

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    The MD's are still pissed off about physician assistants and nurse practitioners. When I go to see my "doctor", she is a PA. I don't need to see an MD. The MD who runs the office doesn't do anything for me that the PA doesn't do.

    The clinics that are opening up in chain pharmacies and grocery stores will be manned by a PA. I think the MD's are worried about PA's getting into other areas of medicine.
  23. kellia

    kellia aspiring pharmacist

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    Seriously, any way we can merge all these "Are Pharmacists Doctors?" threads and make them a sticky? It's been beaten to death already.
  24. pharmduic

    pharmduic Junior Member

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    pharmacists do use the title dr.
    My badge at walgreens states
    Dr. XXXX, PharmD
    Often patients treat me with more respect and they are willing to wait longer (b/c they wait so long in the doctor's office).....
    Finally many do not know what a "PharmD" is and often think I am a Pharmacist and MD. :) so we just need to educate more people about our degree
  25. pharmforme

    pharmforme Senior Member

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    I'm with you. It's just ridiculous. Jeez, there are actually real problems to worry about out there. Who gives a rats a**? Your title could be Pope and there will ALWAYS be someone out there who feels it necessary to exert their superiority complex on you. Just proves how inferior they actually feel.
  26. pharmwannebe2

    pharmwannebe2 Senior Member

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    seems that in america people don't call people drs. unless it is a medical doctor, someone who has a phd., and dentists.

    my friend in the U.K is in med school....and he goes for only 6 years. is it true pharmacy in the U.K is less than 6 years. cause if it is i am transferring.
  27. ProZackMI

    ProZackMI Psychiatrist/Attorney

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    Yeah, and in the UK, the medical degree is a bachelor of medicine (MBBS), but in the UK, physicians still puff themselves up as "doctors", don't they? So do dentists with BDS degrees. Yes a pharmacist with an MS can't? :)

    Yes, a PharmD can, and often does, go by the title "doctor", but most don't need to inflate their egos like optometrists and chiropractors who insist on the title, even outside work-settings.

    Also, in the US, there is NO individual state that has enacted a medical practice statute that precludes one with a a doctorate to use that title in a professional setting. HOWEVER, MANY states have enacted medical practice statutes that preclude non MD/DO holders from using the title 'physician'. Some states are quite liberal and allow chiros, optometrists, and podiatrists to use the title physician (with a qualifier like chiropractic physician, optometric physician, etc.), and some only allow MDs and DOs to use the title.

    So, in the US, one who holds an EARNED doctorate, whether academic or professional, even a JD, can legally and technically use the title 'doctor'. The title 'physician' is often barred due to legal reasons, but not 'doctor'. I know in Ontario, this is different and only physicians, psychologists, and dentists can use the title 'doctor' in a health care setting.
  28. ChicagoPillBox

    ChicagoPillBox Whitney's Dealer

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    In a professional setting, whether it be academic or clinical, I think it is appropriate to use the title. If there is any confused patients or fellow co-workers, well then that is our oppurtunity to educate them about the pharmacy profession :)
  29. drhemi70

    drhemi70 Member

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    Who cares!!!! What is in a title anyway. It's what is inbetween those ears that matters. ASKED AND ANSWERED MAANY TIMES HERE.
    DR
  30. blazenmadison

    blazenmadison

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    Those optometrists and chiropractors and their 'inflated' egos. tsk tsk.

    Sullivan's bill should just get rid of the term doctor for all medical professions. The true doctors are in academia. It would solve everyone's problems. I am seeing my physician today or I am seeing my dentist- no more ambiguity.
    I doubt the physicians and their egos would like to be called Mr./Ms. What would happen if a nurse called a physician Mr./Ms.? Should we grab a bag of popcorn?
  31. BiOGoly

    BiOGoly Don't Remember

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    Interestingly enough in England surgeons are addressed as Mr., not Dr. It's a point of distinction among surgeons there. I guess it has to do with surgery's roots in the barber shop as opposed to the more scholarly roots of physicians.
  32. EnglishMedic

    EnglishMedic Junior Member

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    Myself and the people who have posted sensible replys to this thread, perhaps?

    Seriously, if you are not interested in the topic of this thread then please do not ruin it by posting irrelevant, subjective rants. Collectively, they can become fairly tedious to those with an intrest in the topic at hand. There is no compulsion to read a thread you are not interested in, or you think may have been discussed on this forum before at some distant point in the past, not everyone may have read as many posts as you :)
  33. EnglishMedic

    EnglishMedic Junior Member

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    An interesting point ProZack, i think the reason behind doctors and dentists using the title doctor in the UK is historical. Pharmacy in the past did not used to be a degree profession, and in addition, its only relatively recently that UK pharmacists have had to do an Mpharm as opposed to a Bpharm in order to qualify. Now many health professions have 'caught up' with medicine with regard to academic level, I don't think the medical profession would be too keen on 'opening the flood gates' for other health care professionals to call themselves doctor. For instance, i worked in the UK as a registered biomedical scientist, the US equivelent of a medical technologist, this required a masters level qualification and a years postgraduate training to get qualified. Should I have been entitled to use the doctor too, given that i had studied almost as much as a doctor or a dentist? Where would it all stop, will all health professionals soon be called doctor?
  34. caroladybelle

    caroladybelle

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    Unfortunately, I am friends w/a PharmD that insists on the Dr. "A" title. Even casual email or holiday cards and letters have the Dr. and Mrs. "John X". Interestingly he also leaves all of my cert, accreds off my name.

    I've pissed him off by asking how is wife got the first name of "John", and alternatively always listing his wife first on all correspondence.

    (Before anyone asks comments about "short man syndrome", why, yes, he is and in more ways than one.)
  35. pharmwannebe2

    pharmwannebe2 Senior Member

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    I bellieve people don't refer to pharmacists as doctors in Amercia because it is historical. Pharmacists needed a bachealor before to practice while pharmacists now need a PharmD. people probably don't know that you need this degree now to be a pharmacist. so they just call medical doctors doctors. but then again my theory could be wrong because why haven't lawyers been considered doctors yet.....maybe it is cause they are mean and try to take my money :(
    anyways. everyone is going to be a doctor in the health profession soon. heck maybe nurses will need to be a doctor of nursing to graduate.. why not physical therapy is a doctorate. and so many other fields too.
  36. Hersheysquirts

    Hersheysquirts New Member

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    I am usaully a passive SDN reader and rarely post anything on it. However, this is just ridiculous. When a patient addresses someone as a "Doctor", they are referring to someone who they think is a "Physician" People need to understand the fundamental difference between the two. So, if everyeone, including pharmacists and PhD's and PT's and god knows who else starts putting Doctor in front of their names and hide their real degrees, obviously this is a safety issue for the patients as they might take your advice thinking you are a "Physician" If you want to use the Doctor title as is appropriate in a healthcare setting, go to medical school. Otherwise, please don't mislead people and start calling yourselves Doctor's with training that does not really afford you that role. Why the f*c*&k is is that everyone these days is a DOCTOR?
  37. Glowwyrm

    Glowwyrm Member

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    I address everyone with a dr degree as doctor whether it be an MD, DO, PhD, or PharmD. I figure if they've spent that much time in school to earn the doctrate, they should at least be addressed by the correct title. My 2 cents.
  38. highlyfavored

    highlyfavored obligated to serve God...

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    Maybe the "patients" should educate themselves and know the difference between physician and doctor. I don't think people should have to go to medical school to use the term doctor in a healthcare setting. If a pharmacist wants to use it then he/she should have the "right" to do so.

    I suppose because they are earning doctorate degrees (hence the name doctor of pharmacy) :rolleyes:
  39. rxforlife2004

    rxforlife2004 Removed

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    Techically, a pharmacist graduated with a Pharm.D is legally to be referred as Doctor. One of my preceptor at a hospital addresses himself as Dr. and he, in fact, signed himself on a memo at different nursing stations as "Per Dr. X". In his voice mail, you would hear, "You have reach Dr....". And I do see people address him as Dr at meetings where other MDs were sitting. But he knows what he's talking about. And i also have seen MDs with orders, "Amiodarone per pharmacy", or even funnier, a doctor diagnosed a patient with headache with a note, "GI consult" (and behind the story is: the GI doctor is her husband), so you get the idea.

    Nobody can't sue a Pharm.D for being referred as "doctor". However, I personally, don't really care if i am called Dr. or not. It doesn't matter. What more matters is communication. Physicians have been taught in Medical School that they are the boss of the team and that it is their job to take control. Nurses have been trained to follow to orders . Other professionals are in the distance and often minimally consulted - laboratory scientists being a good example. Communication is not really very good because the different professionals often don't respect each other and don't want to talk to each other.

    Treat others how you wanna be treated...that's the point.
  40. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    What's really odd is that I've had multiple professors call me "Dr. Frazier" even though I'm yet to actually graduate. One of them (who happens to be my only favorite professor..) comes to the pharmacy where I intern and always says "Dr. Frazier! How are you?" Odd, no?
  41. QTDOC.

    QTDOC. Pharmacy Girl

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    I agree with you. I think it's the matter of educating others about the fact that we have studied that much to get our degree, because most people don't know about the Pharm.D degree today and we need to promote our status as professionals.:luck:
  42. al_rx

    al_rx Junior Member

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    I agree also about promoting our status as professionals. It's not about blowing one's own trumpet, but rather instilling faith in the public that we are sufficiently qualified and educated to advise them on their medications and health concerns. I'm sure that most members of the public know that pharmacists are sufficiently educated to answer drug related questions and follow our advice, however, I also think there are many people out there who think that we have simply moved up from the photo development counter (as Bill Maher so succinctly pointed out). People that think we aren't qualified may ignore our advice and could do themselves harm. This actually happened to me recently when I tried to speak to a women about having her INR checked regularly (she was taking warfarin and hadn't had her levels checked, and didn't even know what I was taking about when I asked her). She dismissed everything I had to say. I honestly feel that if I had been wearing a badge that said Dr. XXXXX PharmD then she would have been far more open to listening to my advice.

    I would never refer to myself as "a doctor", but I will definitely refer to myself as "Dr. XXXXXX" in professional settings. And to those insecure med students who seem to keep getting their panties in a twist about other Doctoral students using the title, please give the public a little credit. Just because I call myself "Dr. XXXX" doesn't mean they think I'm a physician. The fact that I'm working in a pharmacy and introduce myself as "the pharmacist" may just be enough to allay any confusion. (Just for an added perspective - my wife's a teacher and half her colleagues have PhDs and they all refer to themselves as Dr. so-and-so in the classroom. None of their students think they're physicians either!)
  43. Da Alchemist

    Da Alchemist

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    pharmacy is in the STUDENT D O C T O R NETWORK forums.
  44. pharmboy30

    pharmboy30 order entry monkey

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    I have never understood why either. I have a PharmD and could call myself DR.____, but I don't want to be confused with a MD.

    On orders, I write my name, followed by RPh.

    BUT, there is no reason why people with PhD's in English and teach at a university be called DR. X, and pharmacists with a PharmD NOT called DR.

    I guess everyone has their own opinion, I personally don't care about the title, even though technically I have earned the right to be called DR.
  45. Da Alchemist

    Da Alchemist

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    being called Dr. makes u superior. plus no1 ever ask "what kind of doctor are u?" when they hear u are a doctor...all they know is that u have money and u had the best education and pretty smart. and they dont question u at all or nething..
  46. naus

    naus Junior Member

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    Get a life. Lawyers are JDs (Juris Doctor), do you call lawyers "doctors"?

    Straight into retail pharmacists shouldn't be called doctors, period. They don't do any residency (MD) or postdoctorate (Ph.D.) training. Thus they don't exactly share the same level of education and training as the MDs and Ph.D.'s.

    Go gnash your teeth on your arm. People who accuse others of over-inflated egos, tend to have the larger self-rationalized egos themselves.
  47. naus

    naus Junior Member

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    Lawyers too? We consider Woodrow Wilson to be a doctor (Ph.D.), but not Bill Clinton (JD).

    "everyone with a dr degree" be addressed as doctor does not hold in our society, and why should society be obligated to be so indiscriminate? Does a retail PharmD really have the same ballpark of research/training as an MD or Ph.D.? It takes on average 5 years for a science Ph.D. to get his degree, then he has to spend another 2 to 5 years in postdoc programs. The shortest medical residency is 3 years, while more lucrative fields are 4 to 5 years long, with incredibly demanding hours (65-100hrs/week). How many retail pharmacists today looking for a job at CVS do postdocs? (Summer internships don't count as postdoc training, btw. Bachelor degrees have to do summer internships to get jobs too).

    The day I call a pharmacist a doctor is the day I also call my lawyer a doctor, which is to say, never.
  48. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    743
    Location:
    Outside your bedroom window.
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    You need a better analogy. When someone stands up and yells "is there a doctor in the house" they actually probably want someone who has enough medical knowledge to do something, not just a doctor, and certainly not a doctor who didn't know what they were doing in an emergency setting (yeah PharmDs are probably going to fall into this category, but so are a hell of a lot of other doctor types including MDs). When I worked in the ER, we routinely dismissed non-emergency or non-consult doctor advice because for the most part, unless the patient comes into their offices relatively healthy, they had no idea what to do in an emergency situation.

    If someone yells for a doctor, my wife is going to jump in and use her nursing skills to stabilize the victim, all the while yelling at any bumbling doctor that gets in the way to stay the hell back at least 10 feet once she realizes that he's out of his element in the emergency situation. Never mess with 20 year nurses.
  49. Da Alchemist

    Da Alchemist

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Messages:
    172
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    lawyers doesnt do anything with math or science and most important HEALTH which makes them different..if you didnt recognize LAWYER is not in the student "DOCTOR" network...which means lawyers are out of league. U were saying u should be called a doctor if u spend 30 years of studying right...so u think pharmacist shouldnt be called doctor because they finish 6-8 years. what is the meaning of "doctor"? Doctor means teacher in Latinn "docere" means to teach. It has been used continuously as an honored academic title for over a millennium in Europe, where it dates back to the rise of the university. This use spread to the Americas, former European colonies, and is now prevalent in most of the world. As a prefix – “Dr” – its primary designation is a person who has obtained a doctorate — that is, an advanced university degree whose completion involves extensive research. I hope this changes ur mind. thats why lawyers get JD because of advanced extensive research they said lol.. so now u know surgeons are not the real meaning of doctor.
  50. KUMoose

    KUMoose Grumpy old man

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    658
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Lawyers utilize different nomenclature, that actually predates "Doctor" and that pretentious lot doesn't intend on ever name sharing. If physicians want to keep a different specialized name, they should have picked something completely out of the ordinary when they were trying to gain credibility. Afterall, they have a specialized name at this point, it's wait for it.. hold on... Physician. *cough*

    Should the pharmacist at CVS be referred to as "Doctor" no if they are simply counting pills and kicking people out the door. Of course, neither should my last two PCP because they repeated script-kicked patients out the door. Neither should be called "Doctor" because they didn't have the patients best interest in mind.

    Alas if I was the cause of the people screaming doctor, I'd much rather have an EMT or ER/ICU nurse then an average physician. Just because the population is lazy (and frankly that's what you've counted on) doesn't mean physicians have a monopoly on "Doctor".

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