Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

The Slow Degradation of the Doctor Title

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

The Slow Degradation of the Doctor Title

Article excerpt

What's in a name? A lot, if you're a doctor. "Doctor" is our formal title, although technically it means anyone with a terminal educational degree. We're also called physicians, or healers. In other times, we may have been medicine men, witch doctors, or shamans. Or we may prefer a more specific name based on our chosen field.

Recently, though, we've had specific (and less flattering) names hung on us--health care providers, gatekeepers --not to mention the alphabet soup that longer names bring (HCP, PCP).

It kind of puts us in a semantic identity crisis. Especially with all the HCPs out there who aren't MDs or DOs.

But no matter what title they hang on me, I know what I do. I care for people who need me. I provide treatment for those I can help and support to those I can't. I hold hands. I write prescriptions. I discuss test results. I talk, and I listen. I fill out forms. I argue with insurance companies. I go home each night and in the morning come back and do it all over again.

Somehow saying I'm an HCP doesn't seem to do the job description justice.

I remember a residency meeting I attended in the mid-90s. I was in training, and the meeting was held to introduce all the residents to the hospital's new health plan. …

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