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DPT's calling themselves doctors and physicians...WHY?

Discussion in 'Physical Therapy' started by PTbecomingDDS, 10.06.07.

  1. PTbecomingDDS

    PTbecomingDDS

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    I used to manage a clinic where I had several DPT staff PT's. As I student, I was pro-DPT as I felt this would reflect the credit load a PT student completes in school; however, I now have doubts regarding this clinical doctorate. One, it is misleading. Several years ago, I started seeing 'chiropractic physician' as titles for DC's, and it makes me wonder if this is the route of PT where I will start seeing 'Physical Therapy Physician' (give it time, it will happen unless state law prohibits it) listed somewhere. Talking to undergrads interested in PT, it appears they are more focused on the title than the actual practice of PT. I just saw a myspace profile of a DPT where the opening quote is "Trust me, I am a doctor!" How pathetic. As for my staff, I had one PT that continued to use the title 'Dr." when signing paperwork. I informed her to stop as one of my largest referral MD's is an old school doc and I know he would not appreciate receiving paperwork from a PT signing off as a 'Dr.' I tried to explain to her that this was bad business but she felt she had earn the right. She did earn the right but not at my clinic costing me possible referrals. Another staff DPT caused me a huge headache as she decided to fill out all the physician paperwork when she was getting enrolled for all of our accepted insurance companies costing me a lot of time to correct it...the documents cleary indicate the forms are for PHYSICIANS. The result is we lossed some of our reimbursement as the DPT was not a licensed PHYSICIAN. I think DPT schools need to remind PT students that they are physical therapists with a doctor of physical therapy degree and not physicians. This same PT also asked me why the MD's received higher continuing education and their association fees reimbursed when we did not (we worked in a corporate facility)...I just rolled my eyes and walked away shaking my head...I will in no way try to compare my education to that of a MD or DO to a point where I feel the need to receive the same benefits as a MD...my wife is a MD and knowing what she went through as a med student to an intern and through residency and I can clearly say that as PT's we are in no position to provide concrete differential diagnosis that may arise from direct access...yes, we need to refer a patient to a MD within 30 days, but there might be an underlying medical issues that we are unable to diagnosis hastening the correct medical attention...just go to the PT to MD thread...a former DPT now MD can back this statement up as well...so for future PT's, please remember you are Physical Therapist with a Doctorate degree in PHYSICAL THERAPY...even my wife refers to herself as a neurologist and not as a 'doctor' when she is asked about her profession...so keep you ego in check and remember why you went into PT which, hopefully, was not for a title...

    as for me, i have decided to return to school to obtain a degree in dentistry...if you want true autonomy, PT is a difficult route as we will still be influenced by MD referrals and medicare limits the reimbursement of our services...PT is a great profession but I do not want to wait 20 years for things to change and the changes that are occurring, I do not fully believe in...
  2. brightness

    brightness

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    I see no problem with referring to yourself at Dr. so and so. That is the title that a doctoral degree grants.
    Referring to yourself as a physician, on the other hand, seems wrong to me. I would say, Hi there, I am Dr. Brightness, your physical therapist.
    Seems straightforward to me.
  3. DOctorJay

    DOctorJay

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    I disagree, I'm a PT and people think I'm their physician all the time. There is no need to distinguish a DPT from an MSPT from a BSPT in the clinical setting by calling one "doctor" - they all work the exact same way.

    The general public equates doctor with physician. It would be way too confusing to go around calling everyone doctor for the patients.
  4. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    I agree completely. Calling yourself "doctor" in an academic setting is completely appropriate for PhD's and the like. The term "doctor" in a clinical setting implies a skill set not obtained by entry level DPTs. When someone runs up to an accident scene and announces he/she is a doctor, you should be able to assume they aren't an english professor. They are a trained physician capable of handling the situation. DPT's do not have the skills to handle many of the medical events physicians are exposed to on a regular basis. It's a matter of specificity of training.

    Just because the chiros call themselves "doctors", doesn't mean we need to keep up with the Jones' and do the same. Incidently, the training for DPT programs is VERY similar to MPT programs with a few weak radiology and pharmacology courses.

    You can call yourself a doctor all you want, but I don't think it's appropriate to mislead the public in such a shallow way.
  5. Student30

    Student30

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    so we qualify to be on student DOCTOR . net along with the md's, dds, dpm, do's, od's....but then we are not good enough for the real world huh? i don't get it...
  6. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    Maybe we should call the folks on the "Spouses Forum" doctors too? That's a silly argument. Think it through.
  7. Tenacious DO

    Tenacious DO Member

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    As for the doctor of PT...Not sure that is the greatest path for the PT profession. Look at percentage of referrals from MD/DO --> PT vs MD/DO --> Chiro (don't give me limited case study reports of Physician referrals to Chiro...for the most part Chiros are out hustling for patients, PT's could be heading toward a similar hustle) = Don't Bite the Hand that Feeds You.

    Not that I fear PT's as competition, but I just don't want to see a good PT act as a poor doctor....the term "Doctor" has really got watered down.

    I would have preferred to see more promotion of the specialty certifications (OCS and the like)....Experience + Credentials should be the path to PT career advancement, instead of 6 more months in grad school. As a future Physician, I would be more willing to fill the schedule of a good PT with advanced credentials in Sports, Ortho, Neuro over just a DPT.

    PT --> DO
  8. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    I couldn't agree more. I am an OCS and think I'm a pretty sharp cookie in my setting. (Please don't get me near a SNF though) I think PT should be pursuing board certification vs doctoral degrees. There is a wide range of expertise between clinicians in physical therapy. What distinguishes them now is board certification. When we water the profession down with the DPT and the controversy it brings, I think we are paving the way for doing more harm to our profession than good.

    You don't have to be called doctor to be important.
  9. PTbecomingDDS

    PTbecomingDDS

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    right on:thumbup:

    like I said earlier, chiros are now referring to themselves as chiropractic physicians, so I won't be surprised when PT's start doing the same...
  10. PTbecomingDDS

    PTbecomingDDS

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    I would love to see Student30 trying to argue that a DPT education is on par with a MD's, DO's (both do residencies including a general medicine internship in addition to a speciality residency...not done in PT or should need to) or DDS. My dentist actually introduces himself by his first and last name not 'doctor,' and he performs surgery, prescribes meds, and performs x-rays...a dentist is NOT a physician but no dentist would confuse himself as one as I have experienced with DPT's and they (dentists) do some serious invasive procedures...I do not know the educational background of dpm, or od's but seriously the term 'doctor' is getting watered down...audiologists, OT's, pharmacists, what's next? doctors of nursing? doctor of physical therapy assistant, doctor of certified nursing assistant, doctor of janitorial services, doctor of EEG tech? pretty soon, all you will here in a hospital is everyone calling each other doctor...you can refer to your degree as a doctorate but leave the title alone and be proud to be practicing PT and not wasting time chasing titles....
  11. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    student 30 doesn't get it. I don't see PTs referring to themselves as physicians. the PT that worked for PTbecomingDDS was, forgive me, an idiot. No PT that has any brains would say that their training was the same as MD/DO school. However, there are things that PTs know that other professions don't, thus the distinction between professions. If someone calls me doc, I no longer correct them but they know that I am not their MD/DO. I say the real doctors work over there, indicating the medical clinc. Don't get me wrong, I am proud to have gone back and gotten my DPT and it does confer the title doctor to me. It didn't change my practice patterns one bit. It didn't give me any new rights, skills, or privileges, just a degree.

    You DPTs who think you are physicians need to get over yourselves. Likewise, you "real doctors" need to recognize where someone may know more about movement dysfunction and orthopedic assessment than you do.
  12. Tenacious DO

    Tenacious DO Member

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    Truthseeker,

    I completely agree with your final statement. I would anticipate that most of the
    PT --> Whatever would also agree that PT's hold a set of skills that are beyond many MD/DOs.

    I still work in a outpatient clinic a few hours a week while trying to keep up in medical school. The number of check-box "Eval & Rx - LBP" continue to bother me. I don't know if the patient's MD/DO don't have a clue, or worse don't care to have a clue...Maybe the just respect the expertise of the PT that much - still a weak effort.

    What this should all come down to = We are all on the same team and should not let the best interest of our patients slip through the cracks due our over/under confidence in our skill set...or lack of respect for other team member's unique role.
  13. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    My favorite diagnosis:

    Dx: Knee


    :laugh: Thanks "Doctor"
  14. ged0001

    ged0001

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    So do you feel the same way about Optometrists, Podiatrists etc calling themselves docs?
  15. Tenacious DO

    Tenacious DO Member

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    "The term "Doctor" has really got watered down"

    ONLY MY OPINION:

    Approximately
    - BS + Core sciences to apply
    - MCAT (or Comparable DAT)
    - 4yr med training
    - Comparable National Exam
    - Residency eligible
    - Specialty Fellowships eligible
    - Able to Rx w/ Meds, Surg & Referral
    - Recognized by State Medical Board as a Physician
    - Recognized by Insurance Co as a Physician
    - Long White Coat (Ha Ha)

    MD/DO/DDS/DPM...I don't know enough about OD to comment

    Others may touch some aspects, but again it is the time, energy & effort to attain the privilege to cover all aspects that should define a Doctor.

    Again, as a mere Medical Student, this is only my opinion.
  16. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    I'm not familiar enough with OD curriculum to make an informed decision. I AM informed enough about the PT and MD/DO/DPM curricula to say there is no comparison. It's not a slam on our profession, just an observation based on quite a bit of experience in the field. Take it for what it's worth to you.

    You can call anyone you want doctor. I simply think for the name to have credibility in a clinical setting, it should meet standards that at least come close to licensed physicians. PT simply doesn't meet this standard right now.

    Down the road who knows?
  17. BoneKrusher

    BoneKrusher

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    Let's get the facts straight here folks:

    • DPTs have the right to be called doctor.
    • DPTs, and while we are at it, PT PhDs and the like, need to have T-A-C-T on when/where they refer themselves as doctors for the mere fact of confusing and misrepresenting themselves on face value. Like in hospitals and certain clinics, and yes, even in official applications and documents. It may cost you business at best and may land you in jail at worst.
    • It's irrelevant to compare the difficulty, time, commitment, etc. of the various doctorates available now, but just in case any other doctor in any other discipline other than allopathic and osteopathic medicine wonders how their degree stacks up to an MD or a DO. Give it up-It doesn't. I'm not saying that MDs and DOs are the end all be all in modern healthcare, but a licensed allopathic/osteophatic physician in any given jurisdiction has foregone the most serious and rigorous healthcare training, and it is reason why they stand as the ultimate clinical desicion makers in this healthcare puzzle we practice in.
    • Remember, to knowingly represent oneself as a "physician" of any sort without being deemed one legally, it is CRIMINAL and punishable by law. PTs are not deemed physician status in any of the 50 states of the US. Now, will that change in 20 years or so? maybe, but it is curently illegal and irresponsible for any PT to represent oneself as a physician.
    DPT was a prudent move for the profession, especially when there's other healthcare professionals achieving such level of education. Before long, the public (and patients) will know that there's other "doctors" out there and I'm sure every clinic and hospital will require their professionals to clearly differentiate their credentials whenever displaying a Dr. title.

    Now, just if every DPT who wishes to have their Dr. title in front of their name would clearly and promptly display "Physical Therapist" after it or below it, would cut down on confusion.

    Cheers,

    BoneKrusher
  18. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    In light of the numerous issues facing this profession, I'd put the DPT down a couple of pegs vs POPTS and the chiros. I think it would have been prudent for the DPT designation to follow a significant acceleration of the curriculum to resemble a clinical doctor (which is how we are referring to the DPT). DPT programs are virtually indistiguishable from MPT programs in terms of training, and offer no additional benefit to the therapists other than the ability to decide if they should be called "doctor". If you send a PT student through 2-3 more years of schooling with comparable clinical training, I would be more inclined to support the DPT. Right now it's keeping up with the Jones'.

    I strongly support PT's going for PhD and DSc. These are the true doctoral degrees within the profession. I will always refer to my professors as "Doctor". You will never hear me refer to a new-grad DPT "Doctor" wet-behind-the-ears. These DPT programs are putting the cart before the horse.
  19. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    From a PhD / PsyD point of view:

    "Physician" is a protected term, much like "Clinical Psychologist", though 'doctor' is quite ambiguous and needs a clarifier if you are in a multi-disciplinary setting where there are many different types of doctors.

    As someone who works and will continue to work in a medical setting, it has never been a problem for a doctoral-level person to introduce themselves to a patient. The public can 'assume' many things, though it is up to each professional to properly identify themselves. The arguement that 'everyone will assume you are a medical doctor, so you should just call yourself "steve" ' is insulting at best.

    -t
  20. brightness

    brightness

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    Doctor is a fairly meaningless term only meant to indicate a prestige level or a high level of education. If one has the highest degree in their field, they are referred to as 'doctor' of ________. I could be a doctor of english, history, marine biology, medicine, PT, even OT or nursing if i wanted to be, but it wouldn't make me a medical doctor. And it wouldn't make me an MD/DO wannabe, either. Its just an indicator what within my field, I have the highest degree possible. No one has legal ownership of the term "doctor" and the general public needs to understand just what the meaning of a doctoral level degree is.
  21. BoneKrusher

    BoneKrusher

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    With due respect, PT2MD, I disagree with your position: "I strongly support PT's going for PhD and DSc. These are the true doctoral degrees within the profession. I will always refer to my professors as "Doctor"."

    One could count with one hand the amount of PhDs with a specialization in Physical Therapy and same for DSc/ScD degrees. The critical mass of these health related academic/research doctorates are in movement science, anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, etc. All these terminal degrees are based on scholarly success through empirical research. Therefore, when you mention "true doctoral degrees within the profession" you are not being accurate. The profession you are referring to is Physical Therapy, which is inherently a clinical health profession in which its highest clinical degree is the DPT, like it or not.

    Now whether DPT programs should offer longer, more challenging coursework, that's debateable. And BTW, not al professors are "doctors" per se. Example, in the UK, most "doctors" possess bachelor degrees (MBBS), AND surgeons there, which usually undergo rather rigorous post-graduate training, prefer they be called Mr. Unusual, isn't? Even here in the States, there's a cadre of exceptional physical therapists that do not hold doctorate degrees, yet they hold faculty positions and are indeed experts in their field. So, to call an expert instructor in an academic setting, whether a doctor or not, professor will most likely sit well in any part of the world you're in.

    Cheers,

    BoneKrusher
  22. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    We may need to agree to disagree on some points, but my fundamental stance is not likely to change. The current crop of entry-level DPT's are in no way more qualified than MPT or even many BSPTs that have been practicing for years. The DPT at this point is an artificial credential not rooted in stronger clinical skill, which is where it should be if this is the direction our profession truly wants to head.

    Here are a couple of questions for you: What do you believe is driving this need for the DPT credential? (I already know the APTA version) Don't you think we should have expanded our training to a more significant degree before demanding the DPT?

    This is one of the main reasons (within our profession) I have chosen to pursue a career in medicine. I just don't believe the DPT holds any merit for therapists within the next 10-15 years.
  23. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    I think it is arguable that the MPT or MSPT was UNDERvalued as a degree. I am not comparing the coursework to MD/DO school however, I remember graduating with something like 20 extra credit hours more than what was required for credentialling by the APTA for my MSPT. Much of the difference between the MPT and the DPT is extra clinical training. U of Iowa when it was a masters program had 3 6 week clinicals. Des Moines U had two 8 weeks and one 12 week. Some of the DPT programs have three 12 week clinicals. That is a mini residency so there is more clinical skill for an entry level DPT than there is or was with an entry level MPT. You can't compare a PT with a BS and 15 years of experience with a new grad DPT any more than you can compare a farmer with an agronomy degree with one who has been farming and keeping up with new procedures for 20 years.

    I agree with BoneKrusher but see PT2MDs point.
  24. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    Excellent point. I think bonekrusher makes very good points as well. Lots of ways to view this issue. In general, the field is heading in the right direction, I just wish it would do it in the right order and faster. It's bittersweet moving on to medicine, but I think it's the best move for me right now.

    If for some reason it doesn't pan out, I will definitely pursue a PhD.
  25. PTbecomingDDS

    PTbecomingDDS

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    I would not call 3 12 week clinicals mini residency...again this reference adds to the argument that DPTs might perceive themselves as physicians. They are more like clinical rotations. What PT2Md was referring to, in my opinion, is the DPT might affect clinical research. As stated earlier, it is a clinical doctorate and not an academic doctorate; consequently, the number of PhD/Dsc's at PT schools will begin to decrease (has already happened). Things might have changed since when I was in school but I remember speaking with a DPT about our research (I leave her school name out) she basically mentioned a case study. I told her this was not research. She said it was. I again told her that looking up dx and rx from a medical chart does not make it research. When I read the research that is happening in PT journals today, I scratch my head as it is relatively dull and poor...not making your students perform an actual research study will decrease the scientific validity of the profession and lead to PT's creating heavily qualitative studies no different than DC's (ie the 'it feels good studies' they love to use not factoring in therapeutic touch). Out of 5 research studies performed when I was in school only ONE (my study with 2 other PT students) was not qualitative.
  26. PTbecomingDDS

    PTbecomingDDS

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    the length of clinical affiliations depend of the school...I have known master's programs that matched DPT programs; therefore, I would not assume a DPT has more clinical experience than a MPT or MSPT that recently graduated. When my school shifted to the DPT, the clinical affiliations did not change in length or number. The only thing that changed is they revamped our pharm course and radiology course which we already had but needed to be reworked to meet the standards. So, I agree MPT/MSPT/BSPT are undervalued degrees, but this rapid change to DPT (remember it was not too long ago that all PT programs were to be a master's level, I think by 2000 or 2001) has fostered DPTs graduates to believe they are on the same level as physicians...I have experienced at my clinic and other clinic managers reported the same (even some have refused to interview DPTs as a result which I would not do as you can get that impression during the interview). And the 2020 Vision by APTA is basically tyring to create a new physiatrist...PT's in this future will spend more time evaluating and less time treating handing patients to PTA's to do the treatment...I do not like this future...I would like to have a larger interaction with my patient...
  27. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    In no way am I suggesting that DPT = physician. read my first post on this thread. What I was responding to was the assertion that the DPT does not advance the clinical skill of the entry level professional. It does. The research in PT is strong. Sure there are case studies and of course they are the weakest form of research but they do have value. I disagree with you when you say that the majority of research is qualitative. You are not reading the same journals I am. Further, you claim that the PhD is a true doctorate. what does that do to improve clinical skill? Nothing. MD is not a research degree, DDS is not a research degree? I am not comparing the DPT to those degrees, you are. Not all DPTs are researchers, just as not all MDs are. Some are cut out to be clinicians, not a lesser beast, just different.

    You must have had a bad experience as a PT.
  28. PTbecomingDDS

    PTbecomingDDS

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    Actually, I enjoyed my time as a PT. I did not say Phd is the only doctorate. I was just pointing out PT schools are hiring DPTs as compared to PhD/Dsc's. Yes, all PT schools will have faculty without a PhD or even a DPT, but they are the clinical faculty. If PT is going to the next level, then they should have instituted a more gradual progress and at the same time created a DPT/PhD direction as MD and DDS have for those interested in research and furthering their profession. I am not against the DPT...actually was on countless round table discussions at conferences advocating for it, but not at this pace. I hate to say it but this rapid progression is the direct result of decreased enrollment and decreased salaries of PT's. The answer to this was direct access. To obtain direct access, the APTA felt it would be helpful if our degree reflected such responsibility. Again, I am for the DPT but instead of discussing it, many schools just went forward, in my opinion to battle decreased enrollment. Again, before moving so fast in the direction of the DPT, schools should have also created a DPT/PhD option. Additionally, the curriculum should have also included more than an addition of pharm and radiology such as microbio and biochem...if the APTA envisions the possibility of PT's taking more responsibility such as ordering xrays/mri's and possibly prescribing low level medications (anti inflamms, ms. relax, low level narcotics) then our education should try to raise the bar...more clinical time and a course or two does not...Again, I never stated the only doctorates are PhD's. I never said you considered yourself a physician...I just provided examples to show that some DPT's do feel this way (sad). As for the research, yes, there are quantitative studies, but to be honest, there feels like a lull in quality research...Ultrasound imaging to assess trans. ab. contraction? Hmmm, let's invest tens of thousands of dollars for equipment to make sure patient John Smith is properly contracting the muscle...not realistic. And other research I have read seems to be repeats....nothing new.
  29. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    I agree that was a virtually useless edition of the PT journal. the entire magazine was of ultrasound imaging. I have not heard that the APTA is looking to get low level prescription rights. the army allows imaging and there was a study (don't know where or by whom, sorry) that compared the "appropriateness" of imaging as ordered by orthopedists, family practice docs, and PTs, PTs were more appropriate than the FPS. Mind you , we do not read them but neither do most FPs anymore. They may look for something obvious but send most things out to radiology anyway.

    To the research question, the New England J of Med or JAMA published a study comparing the difference between chiro, a pamphlet, and PT (defined as McKenzie) and ffound no benefit by either PT or chiro over the pamphlet. Was that a valid study? It may have been reliable but there is no way a pamphlet can do what I do. sorry rantin.
  30. Devon655

    Devon655

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    I can see and somewhat understand everyone's angle on this subject - to an extent. I'll try to keep my thoughts straight.
    First, whether you have a doctor of physical therapy, a doctor of philosophy, a doctor of nursing (which there is and to be honest I still don't understand), an MD, DC, DO, they are all levels of achievement. Whether after you graduate you have to do more residencies or more post-doc work, you still achieved that level of education. If you survive the degree you have every right to call yourself a doctor and be proud of your accomplishment.
    Second, if there is a PT out there refering to themselves as a physician of any sorts, they need to be hit upside the head because I would almost guarantee that their skills are no where near what they need to be and they are compensating-- massaging their ego.
    Third, if patients are confused by the title of doctor, it is once again our responsibility to educate. APTA doesn't spend money on advertising so no one knows what we do or who we are. There are still people who think we don't do much more than the work of a technician. If we want people to understand and not get us confused with others we need to take the time and educate everyone. Our families, the physicians, the clients, the nurses. If we don't explain it to them, then it is our own fault that we aren't understood.
    I believe that if a PT wants to introduce themselves as a doctor they are totally justified in doing so, however they certainly better make it clear that they are the physical therapist! Will I introduce myself as doctor, it depends on the situation. Is the doctor degree watered down. Only if we say it is. It is unfortunate that there are people who just get into medicine to have the status of Doctor...and it isn't just people going into PT, it is people becoming MDs or DDSs. In the end it is how we perform that will truly set us apart. As a doctor of physical therapy we need to hold ourselves to a higher standards. We need to read the research, go to continuing ed courses, get the feedback, teach students, take part in the community. As a doctor of physical therapy we have a huge responsibility and I don't think that is watered down with the title of doctor.
  31. Devon655

    Devon655

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    I can see and somewhat understand everyone's angle on this subject - to an extent. I'll try to keep my thoughts straight.
    First, whether you have a doctor of physical therapy, a doctor of philosophy, a doctor of nursing (which there is and to be honest I still don't understand), an MD, DC, DO, they are all levels of achievement. Whether after you graduate you have to do more residencies or more post-doc work, you still achieved that level of education. If you survive the degree you have every right to call yourself a doctor and be proud of your accomplishment.
    Second, if there is a PT out there refering to themselves as a physician of any sorts, they need to be hit upside the head because I would almost guarantee that their skills are no where near what they need to be and they are compensating-- massaging their ego.
    Third, if patients are confused by the title of doctor, it is once again our responsibility to educate. APTA doesn't spend money on advertising so no one knows what we do or who we are. There are still people who think we don't do much more than the work of a technician. If we want people to understand and not get us confused with others we need to take the time and educate everyone. Our families, the physicians, the clients, the nurses. If we don't explain it to them, then it is our own fault that we aren't understood.
    I believe that if a PT wants to introduce themselves as a doctor they are totally justified in doing so, however they certainly better make it clear that they are the physical therapist! Will I introduce myself as doctor, it depends on the situation. Is the doctor degree watered down. Only if we say it is. It is unfortunate that there are people who just get into medicine to have the status of Doctor...and it isn't just people going into PT, it is people becoming MDs or DDSs. In the end it is how we perform that will truly set us apart. As a doctor of physical therapy we need to hold ourselves to a higher standards. We need to read the research, go to continuing ed courses, get the feedback, teach students, take part in the community. As a doctor of physical therapy we have a huge responsibility and I don't think that is watered down with the title of doctor.
  32. Buckeye4life

    Buckeye4life DO, MPT

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    I was once in the boat where if you earn a DPT you should have the right to be called Dr. However, after almost having finished my first semester of med school, there is absolutely no way a PT should warrent that title, unless you're a Ph.D.. PTs are the same as every other midlevel practitioner that want more authority without going through the appropriate channels.
  33. rocketman08

    rocketman08

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    Anyone that has earned a doctorate degree should be addressed by, and is entitled to use, the title of Dr. There are many different types of doctors... medical doctors are just one of them. This is true even in a clinical environment. For example, a research hospital will have many MDs but also many PhDs... both are addressed as Dr. Any confusion over qualifications is generally addressed by listing the name and degree on ones white coat vs Dr.

    One should always introduce themselves as their specialty anyway as just because they're an MD doesn't make them qualified to perform any medical procedure. I certainly wouldn't want a dermatologist performing a heart transplant! Therefore, if someone's a PhD they can introduce them selves as Dr. X, a specialist at the cancer research institute.

    The title of Dr. is specific to the degree (doctorate) not to the profession (physician). It means, afterall, 'teacher' or 'scholar' in latin... not one who practices medicine! ;-)
  34. delicatefade

    delicatefade ASA Member

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    Wait until LPTA's make a doctorate their entry level degree and watch the PT's change their tune. :laugh:

    Don't think it will happen??? There are already doctoral degrees in nursing, and now we will have Doctors of.............Physician Assistant....thanks to the U.S. Army.
  35. newbie1kenobi

    newbie1kenobi Senior Member

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    One should also consider the intention when referring to themselves as "doctor" in front of patients. Acknowledging that you have earned a doctorate and should include "doctor" with a qualifier in your written title bodes different when mentioned verbally.
  36. sticks123

    sticks123

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    It seems to me that many people here are loosing perspective on what is important in healthcare, the patient. It is pretty easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and debate who has the right to be called "doctor". To be honest it seems that perhaps patients really don't care if you are a "doctor" or not as long as they are receiving the best care from the appropriate professional.

    I am speaking on a general healthcare level. Why do you think PAs have had success as a profession? They aren't M.D. but see many patients for the M.D. It boils down the fact that patients like them because they get to spend more time with the PA than they do with the primary physician. Patients want to know that they are important and don't blend in to the mass of pts a healthcare professional sees every day/year. Do you think a pt is going to freak out when they discover their PA has assisted with the surgery? Not likely, especially when this is the person they have seen most often.

    Just because one is getting their doctorate doesn't imply he/she is a great whatever. It takes a sound foundational knowledge incorporated with great clinical skills to be a success in each profession. We shouldn't forget why we are here, to help patients, not to inflate our own egos over a game of King of the Hill. Technically we are all on the same team.
  37. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    Lets turn the tables for fun. What should Delicate Fade D.O introduce himself as at say, his wife's physics department's Christmas party? Does the term Dr. mislead the quantum physicists? or does the title Dr. get exclusionary in only one direction?
  38. cel083

    cel083

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    delete
  39. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    I do think it's contextual. If you are standing in front of a patient in a clinical setting and introduce yourself as Dr. PT2MD, you'd better be a licensed physician. Not a therapist, chiropractor, or physics professor. Referring to yourself as "Doctor" in a clinical setting vs an academic setting would have completely different meanings and interpretations.

    I am always happy to put any DPT in their place for trying to refer to themselves as doctors to their patients. Fortunately, I have yet to run into any DPT's arrogant enough to do this. Most just accept the fact they've taken the extra 12 hours to gain the credential.
  40. caduceus27

    caduceus27 Junior Member

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    I also encounter many pts overstepping their boundaries calling themselves Drs. and what not. A lawyer once told me that it is not formal and not correct for PTs to write Dr. in front of their name. this is only for MD/DOS. they should right their names and their degree behind their name. they earn their doctorate degree but it is not formal to write on formal paper work DR. in front of their name. in my opinion if they wanted the title they should have gone to medical school.
  41. sticks123

    sticks123

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    I think the question is will you, once you finish med school, introduce yourself as Dr. PT2MD at an academic affair?
  42. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    I've found people comfortable in their own skin introduce themselves by their first names in most settings. Nearly all the physicians I meet introduce themselves as Homer Simpson versus "Doctor Simpson". I think it's a matter of ego. No need to drop titles when your training speaks for itself.

    My alternate career path if medical school doesn't pan out is to get my PhD. My students can call me Dr. PT2MD if they want, or they can call me by my first name. Either way, my ego will be fine.

    If you get snarky because someone isn't referring to you as "doctor", you need to relax.
  43. newbie1kenobi

    newbie1kenobi Senior Member

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    I would introduce myself in the following manner, "Hi I'm Bob, Maria's husband." I probably wouldn't introduce myself as "Dr. Bob," they might think I have a PhD in quantum mechanics and start asking me questions about stuff that I know absolutely nothing about.
  44. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    That is my point. Me too. PT2MD would do the same. There are alot of people that introduce themselves at church, lets say, as Dr Simpson rather than Homer. I agree with the whole ego thing. "What do you do for a living Homer?" "I am a physician."

    We are all cool.

    Caduceus27, when you say you encounter many PTs calling themselves Dr so and so, are you really serious or are you maybe exaggerating a bit. I really have never met a PT that did that. Further, your reference to what the lawyer told you is in my mind irrelevant. Formally or informally, both professionals hold doctorate degrees. Personally, I find it ridiculous that you or anyone else thinks that PTs believe that their doctorate is the same as MD/DO, of course it is not. I don't introduce myself as Dr. Truthseeker. My optometrist does, my Dentist does, local chiros do, the Superintendent of our school does. Of course, in their settings each of those professionals are known to be who they are and IF I were to introduce myself as Dr. Truthseeker it would be misleading to the patient. That is a matter of practicality. As far as legally? Unless the PT is purposely trying to elevate themselves in the eyes of the patient (ala D.C) the term doctor is earned. When you refer to a chiropractor that referred you a patient and send them a report, do you address it Dr. so and so? Why is there a difference?

    I can see two. One, PTs and MD/DOs work in the same setting and it may be confusing to the patient. (this is why I don't use the title in any way - it actually isn't a title, it is a degree anyway) and two, there is a caste system that some are unwilling to let go of. I get sick and tired of having MDs my age introduce themselves to me as Dr Bighead. Sure you went to medical school, I respect that. You know a boatload of stuff that I don't. (I know things that you don't as well but I won't belabor the point) I respect you as a professional and the sacrifices that you made but we are both members of the team. I chose not to go to medical school because I didn't want the lifestyle that you have. Remember, the difference is in training, not necessarily IQ points.

    You are the captain of that team, you are the quarterback. However, without the Center, you lose. Remember that.
  45. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    You imply that it happens a lot, but then state that it hasn't yet happened. Why the misleading start to the paragraph. I don't get it. Are people really that threatened??
  46. caduceus27

    caduceus27 Junior Member

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    whatever makes you happy, hey you can call yourself whatever you want. I dont look down upon pts i have many in my family. It was jut an opinion thats all.
  47. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    Remember. I said this was about context. I would be proud to have a doctorate, but think it's disingenuous to imply we have similar training to physicians in a clinical setting (i.e. calling yourself "Doctor Simpson). We simply do not have the academic or clinical background to manage patients medically on the same plane as a physician. Yet we are asking people to refer to us as "doctor", which indeed implies we are on this same plane.

    Now on the other hand, doctors couldn't find their butts with both hands in most PT clinics. We are the most skilled providers in this area. Most skilled doesn't mean we need to be called doctors in the clinic however.

    So here's one right back at you. If BPT, MPT, and DPT all have the same practice act, rights, and responsibilities. Why not have all PT's simply start referring to themselves as "doctor"? I think that would be ridiculous of course, but look at how a greenhorn DPT could market themselves compared to a 25 year BPT who is board certified. I think it would be tremendously misleading to patients and referral sources to consider the DPT to be a higher caliber provider.

    I would be more content with the title if the training supported it. Look at the curricula for "transitional" doctorates. They are fluff and meaningless to a large degree (~18 extra hours of marginal courses). If we were serious about the title of a clinical doctorate, we should be talking at least another year of academic training and an additional two years of clinical training.

    Wow. That sounds like a lot of schooling doesn't it? Very similar to the training of a true physician. Again, I'm not trying to lapdance the medical profession, but it drives me nuts when we try to sell this "now we're doctors" stuff to patients and other professions. We are NOT doctors, we are physical therapists.

    And that's ok....
  48. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    I actually stated this happens rather infrequently. I did state I have no problem addressing the issue if a staff therapist begins throwing the title around to patients, as if they deserve a higher standing for the extra 12-18 hours of coursework. Going back and reading my post, I see how this was ambiguous.
  49. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    I really don't disagree with you PT2MD.

    I don't call myself Dr. I did one of the "fluff" tDPT programs. I agree it is not as rigorous as medical school, not by a long shot. That said, when my patients call me Doc, I reply to them, "yeah, well the real docs work over there (indicates medical clinic)"

    My town of 5000 has 8 chiropractors. Each of them introduces themselves as Dr so and so. I have poo pooed their calling themselves Dr. for the same reason you do regarding PTs above. They are giving themselves respectibility, prestige, and authority that they have not really earned. the MD/DOs have set that particular bar.

    I have not met a PT anywhere who introduces themself as Dr Simpson. If they were to do so, I would immediately think less of them.

    About the fluff, do you think that if you took the minimum number of credits to get a masters degree, then looked at how many most PTs took to get their masters, then added the 18-20 credits for the "fluff" would it be more respectible?
  50. PT2MD

    PT2MD Hold my beer...

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    Sounds like you and I are largely on the same page with this issue. I'm not sure I fully understand this last questions though. I fully respect any extra training a provider undergoes. My only trepidation with a DPT is that a doctorate should reflect a significantly higher level of training than a master's degree. Right now the DPT is, only IMO, a dressed-up MPT.

    We are asking for more rights and responsibilities as providers, but not really doing what it takes to earn those rights. I think we need to switch this around - more rigorous training followed by the demand for more rights and responsibility. I just don'tthink the DPT has enough meat on the bone to justify the elevated stature.

    Here's a recommendation - make the doctorate a terminal doctorate vs an entry level doctorate. The doctoral program at Texas Tech is ~48 hours of additional coursework devoted entirely to clinical orthopedics. This would carry much more weight, again my opinion, than entry-level DPT.

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