dcsimg

The controversy over the Doctorate in Nursing

Home > The controversy over the Doctorate in Nursing

When you step into your doctor's office, calling your physician by the title of "doctor" seems a logical thing to do. But what if your nurse happens to be a doctor, too?

Nurses who choose to enhance their career with further education can pursue a doctorate in nursing, which gives them the right to be called "doctor." But that can also lead to confusion for patients, and sometimes even for co-workers -- it can be tough to know what to make of a nurse who is actually a doctor, or a doctor who is actually a nurse.

What is a doctorate in nursing?

A doctorate in nursing is the terminal degree of the nursing profession. The doctorate in nursing provides a higher degree of clinical skills and knowledge, as well as enhanced leadership skills. Students who earn the doctorate are considered to be just as prepared and credentialed as others who carry the doctorate designation in health care, such as doctors of pharmacy or doctors of medicine.

There are three doctorate degrees in nursing. The Ph.D. is designed for those who want to teach and conduct research. The Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) grew from a need for advanced clinical nursing. Over time, the Ph.D. and the DNS seemed to merge, and a third degree was created: The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

For many decades, leaders in the nursing field have fought for the right to greater autonomy, higher pay and the power to write prescriptions for patients. Many nurses see the doctorate as a way to break into top administration or coveted university positions. However, The New York Times reports that the doctorate hasn't yet proven to bring in higher fees from insurance companies or more prescribing power from state legislatures.

The doctorate in nursing: Why so controversial?

Many physicians are uneasy about the idea of "doctor" being used to describe someone who doesn't hold a medical license. Some argue that blurring the line between nurse and doctor could lead to confusion for patients, as well as questions about who is allowed to do what in terms of health issues. For instance, a nurse who holds a doctorate might seek higher compensation or more prescribing power, something that doctors have long felt should be reserved for themselves.

In an effort to set the record straight, many physicians are pushing to restrict the use of the word "doctor" in a medical context. Some states, such as Arizona and Delaware, already forbid anyone from calling themselves by the title of "doctor" unless they immediately state their profession. For instance, a pharmacist must say "I am a doctor of pharmacy," not simply, "I am a doctor."

Though there is no proof that nurses with doctorates provide better care than nurses who hold master's degrees, some doctors worry that nurses are pushing for a higher degree in order to eventually demand the opportunity for independent practice. That just may happen: According to The New York Times, twenty-three states already allow nurses to practice without physician supervision.

Sources:

Medscape, "A Bold Step for Nursing: A Practice Doctorate," Medscape Today News, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/453247_4
Duke University School of Nursing, "Comparison of DNP and PhD Programs," http://nursing.duke.edu/academics/programs/dnp/dnp-phd-comparison
Nursing Link, "PhD in Nursing Explained," Marijke Durning, http://nursinglink.monster.com/education/articles/189-phd-in-nursing-explained
The New York Times, "When the Nurse Wants to Be Called 'Doctor,'" Gardiner Harris, October 1, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/health/policy/02docs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


Matching School Ads
Grand Canyon University
Online

Nursing Degree Programs from Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing & Health Care Professions

Visit GCU.edu

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Phoenix
  • Phoenix
Hide Locations [-]
American Career College
Campus

American Career College (ACC) offers hands-on training that will prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry at three campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County, California.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles
Hide Locations [-]
Brightwood College
Campus

At Brightwood College, we offer accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience focused on helping you gain skills for your chosen career.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Vista
  • Vista
Hide Locations [-]
Liberty University
Online

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Lynchburg
  • Lynchburg
Hide Locations [-]
National Career College
Campus

Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Van Nuys
  • Van Nuys
Hide Locations [-]
Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Online

The Online MSN – FNP Program From Simmons College 

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Boston
  • Boston
Hide Locations [-]
Northcentral University
Online

  • Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • San Diego
  • San Diego
Hide Locations [-]
Saint Xavier University
Online

A Saint Xavier University education is one that is grounded in the tradition of liberal arts. SXU offers graduate and post-graduate programs that are recognized and respected by employers and delivered by professional faculty who are experts in their fields.

Programs:
Sacred Heart University - Online
Online

Sacred Heart University offer signature humanistic core principles and degree programs offering interactive learning, personal attention, small classes, and rigorous academics.

Programs:
Unitek College
Campus

Unitek College – About Us

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • South San Francisco
  • South San Francisco
Hide Locations [-]
Matching School Ads



Advertisement
About Us  |  FAQS  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy |  Sitemap |  Terms of Service
© 2006 - 2018 QuinStreet, Inc.