Journal of Advanced Practice Nursing
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Is There A Doctor Of Nursing In The House?

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By Paul Martin

As our medical marvel Laura Landro points out, there are more nurses who are Ph.D.s and want to be referred to as Dr. on second reference.

Yes, anyone with a Ph.D. or other doctorate, under our current style rules, can get the doctor title in our articles if he or she desires it. The only exception is honorary doctorates.

However, unless the person is Marcus Welby, it is important to explain briefly to the reader why the person is using the title. In a financial article, we might say, for example, Ed deHaan, who has an accounting doctorate, and then for the rest of the article refer to him as Dr. deHaan. (As the stylebook says, we also prefer doctorate to Ph.D.)

This is actually a broader issue in the health-care field. The medical profession has been dealing with the potential confusion caused by the doctorates that nurses and others have earned. And there is some merit in the argument that we should go back to using Dr. only for medical doctors. But the trend has been to allow the Dr. title more broadly. So disclosure is the bottom line. In our articles, try to use a quick phrase, like who has a doctorate in nursing, when referring to a nurse as Dr. So-and-So.



 
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