When can I officially call myself doctor?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by pez, Mar 12, 2004.

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  1. pez

    pez Member 7+ Year Member

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    I have about 6 weeks left of rotations in med school, but I don't actually graduate until early June. Can I start making reservations by saying, "Yes, party of 2. Name? Dr. So and so"?
     
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  3. Global Disrobal

    Global Disrobal Along for the ride Moderator Emeritus SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    Once the diploma is in your hands reading "Doctor of Medicine" and if its being mailed, once you've shaken the dude's hand on the podium and moved your tassle from one side to the other...

    Funny thing is my school sent out an e-mail specifying to us not to call ourselves Docs too early :)

    Congrats!
     
  4. lurkerboy

    lurkerboy exhalted mystic ruler 7+ Year Member

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    People can call you doctor, but it is unethical to identify yourself as doctor until your graduation (I am looking forward to changing my name on my credit cards that day)
     
  5. Global Disrobal

    Global Disrobal Along for the ride Moderator Emeritus SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    Thats the way to go...change it on your credit cards so that the telemarketers know exactly what you do:smuggrin:
     
  6. edinOH

    edinOH Can I get a work excuse? 7+ Year Member

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    When some old dude on a stage hands you a folder that supposedly contains your medical degree, then you can call yourself a doctor.

    As for me, I only refer to my self as 'doctor' when I'm in a hospital (or on this message board). Otherwise, I think I'm inviting trouble.
     
  7. Scrubbs

    Scrubbs Chisellers beware! 7+ Year Member

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    Ditto... after graduation (and moving) I had to get new checks last year... and for about 30 seconds I thought about putting "MD" after my name... then I realized the folly of my ways, gave myself a quick thunk on the head, and went with the standard "superhero" that's always been there ;)
     
  8. Kalel

    Kalel Banned Banned

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    I wouldn't identify yourself as a doctor outside of the hospital if I were you. There was a study a few years ago that showed that doctors even got sued more often outside of the hospital, presumably because people assumed that they had money.
     
  9. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Officially, even if you've completed the requirements, you're not a doctor until the "conferral" - which happens before you walk up on the stage. If it's for MD's or PhD's, there's a point when some rep of the administration reads something like you're getting married: "By the power invested in me by the state of whatever, the appropriate degree is conferred upon those who have earned it and completed the requirements" or some crap like that.
     
  10. GopherBrain

    GopherBrain MARK IT ZERO!! Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    What do people think about all the other medical personel that misuse the title "Doctor". PAs, homeopaths and such? I think that if I have to finish med school before I can be "Doctor" they should too...
     
  11. Primate

    Primate Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    There are more types of doctors than just MDs. If you don't have a doctoral level degree, you're not a doc. If you do, whatever type it may be, you can call yourself a doctor. If you really feel the need to, that is.
     
  12. yaah

    yaah Boring SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

    I solved this problem. A couple of years back I awarded myself an honorary doctorate in Boisterous Rumination from the University of North-Central Essex County (MA). It came with a sweet cash award which I spent on beer.

    I've been a doctor for a couple of years now.
     
  13. lattimer13

    lattimer13 good boy! 10+ Year Member

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    did you read this before you posted it?
     
  14. pez

    pez Member 7+ Year Member

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    yes, what's your point?
     
  15. kungfufishing

    kungfufishing Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I think the obvious answer to this question is.....

    When you are a doctor, you can call yourself one. I cant believe there is a whole thread devoted to "can I call myself a doctor before we graduate?"

    I mean, realistically we wont be independent doctors until after residency, for our own good and that of society.
    Of course, Ill be happily taking the Dr. moniker after I graduate, too.
     
  16. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Hi there,
    This "call me Doctor horsecrap" will wear off about the second day of internship. It will quickly change to "Don't call me at all".
    njbmd:cool:
     
  17. jashanley

    jashanley Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    The only people I introduce myself as doctor to are my patients. Sometimes they have trouble identifying the doctors, nurses and students. They lump them all into 2 categories for the most part which is wrong and sexist but seems to happen all the time.
    Men = doctor and women = nurse.
    My fiance on more than one occasion has been called nurse.
    It seems to happen more at the VA than everywhere else. Vets you have to love them.

    I get annoyed when an attending introduces his/herself to me as doctor so and so. I make it a point to introduce myself without the doctor with the nurses, techs, etc......unless I need something fast like a CAT scan or they want to keep me from ordering a test.
    I also find it uncouth to call introduce yourself to others you meet outside of the hospital. It makes you look pathetic.
    The title should be used as an advantage and should only be brought out on very special occasions. It can be a trump card, so used it as one. Don't spread it aroung liberally.
    Yes, you earned the title and use it when applicable but so have a lot of other people. If someone wants to introduce you as doctor, let them, but don't introduce yourself as such.
    It's like that Seinfeld episode when the guy wants to only be called Maestro. Wierd.
     
  18. beezar

    beezar Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Wait until one of your patients asks you this question:

    Are you a doctor, or are you an intern?

    I blame it on that show Scrubs...
     
  19. starayamoskva

    starayamoskva Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Even better when the patient looks you in the eye and says when is the long coat doctor coming I don't want to talk to you short coats.
     
  20. pez

    pez Member 7+ Year Member

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    It was meant as a tounge-in-cheek comment. It wasn't meant to provoke controversy. I guess I'm proud of finishing med school. If you don't like the thread -- DON'T read it. Nobody asked you to read the comments, let alone post a reply. Obviously you care, otherwise you wouldn't spend time actually writing a comment.

    By the way, in polite society only medical doctors and dentists are addressed as such. Doctors of Philosophy are not called "Doctors" outside of their professional setting.
     
  21. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios 7+ Year Member

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    LOL polite society my arse. PhD's are referred to as doctors just about as much as MDs are. I guess if by polite society you mean "uneducated, disrespectful, stuck-up jerks."

    Haha, elitism is so funny. PhDs have earned the right to their title of doctor as much as any dentist or doctor has.
     
  22. DrDre'

    DrDre' Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Are you sure about Phds not being called Doctor out of their element or is that just medicocentrism? I have always called my liberal arts professors by Doctor when I see them. I assumed that that was the norm, Doctor Pez.

    Wow, another reply as I wrote this but I better add my support as the token French major!
     
  23. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios 7+ Year Member

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    I call all my professors Doctor X. I think its actually impolite to say Mr/s X since they did earn their doctorate.

    If you look at their mail too (like at their Nature subscriptions or whatever), it says Dr. X.

    I think its NORMAL in true polite society to call anyone with a doctorate degree (like a MD, DO, PhD, etc) a doctor.
     
  24. doepug

    doepug Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Maybe it's an imaginary distinction, but in my experience...

    PhDs who teach in college (e.g. English, Math, Biology, whatever) often prefer to be called Professor X, whereas basic science PhDs who work at a medical school (with the same PhD in biology) prefer to be called Dr. X.
     
  25. pez

    pez Member 7+ Year Member

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    I really didn't mean for this to turn into a pissing war between PhD's and MD's. All I'm saying is that proper etiquette dictates that only medical doctors and dentists are called "Doctor", say if your sending an invitation or introducing them to friends. Maybe that's not true anymore.
     
  26. aphistis

    aphistis Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Rather than endlessly bickering back and forth, seems to me the best solution would just be consulting an etiquette guide. Where's Miss Manners when you need her?
     
  27. DrDre'

    DrDre' Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Agree with Doepug. Been a while since undergrad. You're right, the liberal arts tend to think of themselves as profs first despite their title being doctor as well.
    As to "proper etiquette", I am no expert on American etiquette. However, if I were to theorize, I would assume it is most conservative and proper to use doctor for anyone who is a doctor of whatever.

    My last comment, if you have to ask when to call yourself a doc, it means you know the answer and it's later than you want...

    Good luck with all Doctor Pez!
     
  28. jashanley

    jashanley Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Doctor is a title conferred to anyone with a doctoral degree. Therefore when addressing an invitation to a PhD, MD, DO, DDS, DMD, MBBS, etc.....it is proper to address them as Dr.
     
  29. dlbruch

    dlbruch Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I think context is key here.

    In an academic/ collegiate setting, anyone with a PhD or EdD is Dr. John Doe.

    In hospitals, clinics, and other health service arenas, we are Dr. your name here.

    At their national meetings, in specific publications, and in their offices-chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, optometrists, podiatrists, psychologist, and whoever else will call themselves and each other Dr. blankity blank.

    Using the title Dr. in social settings or the general public seems pretentious to me. In business dealings it may be appropriate (I have no experience here.)

    BTW- I heard of a guy who signed mortgage papers Dr. Joe Schmoe, M.D. I actually laughed out loud at this one!
     
  30. luccas

    luccas Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    A "MD" is not a real "Doctor". It is quite the same as a "JD". Real "doctors" are only PhD's. It is ridiculous if somebody wants to be called "Doctor" who has only a "MD". I refuse to call someone "Doctor" who only has a MD-degree outside of the hospital.
     
  31. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    So it's not a Doctor of Medicine degree afterall.
     
  32. DrDre'

    DrDre' Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I think Luccas's point was that MD is not a doctorate or doctoral degree (to my knowledge anyway). Technically, I think it might be considered a master's degree if you got down and dirty. Fortunately, tradition dictates reality in this case. Whatever degree MD truly is, we are or will be called doctors.

    I don't know for sure about the above but I have always wondered this myself. I personally think that Phd is the true "doctor" title in terms of academic degree.

    No need to flame me. I am not a secret Phd troll or anything- just an interesting discussion to contribute to...
     
  33. luccas

    luccas Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    If a medical doctor demands to be called "doctor" a juris doctor could do the same. Where is the difference? And what is with physicians who are not MD's like MBBS?
     
  34. drewpydog

    drewpydog Member 7+ Year Member

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    At LSU SOM's graduation they call the few PhD's they confer "the highest degree LSU confers." This says to me that MD is lower on the scale than PhD. I call them both "Doctor" whenever I see either degree holder.

    BTW, I will get an MD in a few months. No troll here!
     
  35. Primate

    Primate Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    My wife used to do neuropsych testing (let's not get into the PhD/MD debate here) and once had a person identify himself (in the "highest level of eduction" question) as a "doctor" - on further questioning, he stated he was a doctor of law. My wife was interested, thinking he had his PhD and taught law, so asked an "off-questionaire" question about what his degree specifically concentrated in. He replied something to the effect that he was a "juris doctor." In other words, he was a lawyer (JD) calling himself a doctor.

    Nearly pissed myself I laughed so hard.

    Why do people care so dang much?
     
  36. MasterintuBater

    MasterintuBater Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    So what is the shortest route to receiving a "doctorate" (honorary doctorates don't count). I've heard of some of those independent bible schools granting "doctorates" of biblical studies or whatever after a year or two of school. Hilarious.
    BTW anybody seen the Friends episode where they are all at the hospital and Ross claims himself to be on the same level as the MDs because he is also a "doctor"? Chandler made a funny comment and I can't remember what it was.
     
  37. jashanley

    jashanley Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    My four years of work towards a degree in Medicine is a masters?
    I don't agree with that.
    Yes a PhD is a "true" doctor and should be addressed as such.
    They have a recieved a doctoral degree. But a degree in medicine and law, even pharmacy are also Doctoral degrees. They are professional doctoral degrees, not research doctorates.
    But luccas you would address a doctor of medicine as Mr. but a PhD as doctor while in public?
    Out of respect you should address both as Doctor. They earned the title.
    I certainly would not expect them to introduce themselves as Doctor.

    By the links below there are several types of doctoral degrees: research, professional degrees, honorary.

    A masters requires 1-2 years of study; a PhD 3-7 years of study and research; an MD/DO/MBBS require 4 yrs of study (5-6 if you are unlucky)

    Check out the links:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctoral_degree
    http://health.discovery.com/centers/mental/practitioners3.html
    (scroll to the bottom)
     
  38. pez

    pez Member 7+ Year Member

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    Here is a quote from a Colmbia Business school article:

    "The title, "Dr." should only be used in referring to medical doctors, not PhD's. When addressing a letter to a PhD, use "Mr." or "Ms.". "
    http://www3.gsb.columbia.edu/botline/spring02/0207/women.html

    Maybe it's outdated, but this is what I've always heard.
     
  39. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    you guys need to get a life and get your priorities straight. honestly, who really cares? is this why you went to medical school, so you could be the ONLY profession that can be called "Dr" 24/7? is this going to put you on a level above everyone else, make you feel better about yourself, make you happier? if so, more power to you. seems pretty shallow to me.
     
  40. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    We address our pharmacists as doctors if they hold a PharmD.

    Most JD's don't address themselves as doctors since by tradition they have been called mister. Usually most are "esquires." Just a tradition among them.

    To the previous poster, no I do not care about being called doctor... nor do I think only medicine should be called doctor. ANY person with a doctoral degree should have the right to be called doctor if he/she chooses. Personally, even when I graduate in 45 days, I will still introduce myself by first and last name. If my patients call me doctor, then sobeit. If they call me by my first name, then it doesn't matter.

    For what it's worth, I do not consider the MD degree to be above all others. The PhD still reigns higher in my opinion.
     
  41. pez

    pez Member 7+ Year Member

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    YEah, that's exactly it, you've figured it out. It must be nice on that high horse. If calling people "shallow" makes you happier, than more power to you.

    I think anyone's choice to become a doctor partly includes the respect one recieves from the community. One thing medical school has taught me is that being a doctor is not just about "helping people". Your comment sounds like a lie someone says on their application or their interview for medical school.
     
  42. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    i never said anything about wanting to "help people" in my interviews. i just knew this was the only job that i felt i would really be happy doing. my parents were teachers--in my opinion they do one of the most important jobs there is. do they get respect from the community? hell yes they do--but nobody calls them Dr.

    my point is that you should earn the respect you get. graduating from 4 years of medical school proves one thing: you are a good test-taker and you survived rotations without killing anyone. to me, you haven't earned jack. once you are out there and practicing, if it gets you off to call yourself "Dr" to some hostess at a restaurant, go for it. but until then i find it pretty presumptuous, except when you are at work and necessity dictates the need for you to be identified as a resident and not a medical student.
     
  43. YoungFaithful

    YoungFaithful Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    When can you call yourself a doctor?

    When you start popping valium like a siv.
     
  44. Iridium

    Iridium Dinosaur Killer 7+ Year Member

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    Not to go off-topic on this discussion, but I noticed one degree in this alphabet soup that I haven't seen before... what's an MBBS? I assume it's a doctorate, but who would get it?
     
  45. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    MBBS = Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery

    Most foreign countries give MBBS degrees instead of MD's. The MD degree requires additional study and a thesis in countries like England. Most physicians don't have MD's there, but a few do (mainly the academicians).

    To my knowledge, only one medical school in the US requires a thesis to graduate: Yale.
     
  46. DrDre'

    DrDre' Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    UWashington requires a research project to graduate. I think Mayo might as well... Somewhat different, I guess.
     
  47. misfit

    misfit Blinded Me With Science 10+ Year Member

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    Sort of a lame debate this thread has generated.

    When can you call yourself a doctor?
    Answer: When you grow up! (Comment not aimed at any one individual)

    As for differences among degrees, here we go:

    LAW:
    J.D. : Juris Doctor degree, NOT equivalent to doctoral degrees awarded in other fields. Holders referred to as Esquire or Mr./Mrs.

    JSD: Doctor of Science of Law
    SJD: Doctor of Judicial Sciences
    DCL: Doctor of Comparative Law

    All 3 count as being equivalent to Ph.D. in this field and are the most advanced degrees that may be earned in law.

    MEDICAL-RELATED:
    M.D. : Doctor of Medicine It counts, people
    D.O. : Doctor of Osteopathy Counts, too
    D.D.S. : Doctor of Dental Surgery
    D.C.: Doctor of Chiropractic Yes, this one counts as well

    VET:
    D.V.M. : Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

    RESEARCH/TEACHING/ETC.
    Ph.D. : Doctor of Philosophy This is an equivalent degree to the advanced degrees I mentioned above. The difference is in the EMPHASIS of training and scope of knowledge. Nothing more.

    So, please rest your weary heads knowing you might all be good enough to become doctors one day. If you want a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.V.M. or some combination of the above, you will be reaching the most advanced degrees of your respective training programs. The emphasis is different, but so what. We need people to train in all manner of fields.

    misfit
     
  48. MasterintuBater

    MasterintuBater Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Don't forget D.P.M. They've got a firm footing as doctors.:p
     
  49. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Duke does the whole 3rd year as research (so the schedule is 1. classroom 2. clinical 3. research 4. clinical).

    I know they have to have a project, but I don't know if the paper has to be written at the end of the 3rd year, by graduation, or at all. I do know that a signifigant number of people get an MPH in the third year (so they get MD/MPH in 4 years, total).
     
  50. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Oh, and DMD and LL.D.

    DMD is "Doctor of Medicinal Dentistry" (I think, but it is a dentist), and LL.D. is "Doctor of Laws" - it's a variant of J.D. (as the variants of of MBBS are MBBCh, or MBBChO - the 'Ch' is the more ancient spelling for 'surgery', and the 'O' is obstetrics).

    Regardless of the names, MBBS, MBBCh, and MBBChO are all equivalent, as are J.D. and LL.D.
     
  51. aphistis

    aphistis Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    DMD (doctor of dental medicine) is just a variant of DDS. It was born when Harvard decided they didn't like the way "doctor of dental surgery" translated into Latin. Personally, I think it's a more accurate description, but I'll be perfectly content with my DDS in 2007.
     

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