Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thank you Senator Bill Galvano

There is a new piece of legislation being worked on to keep nurses from using the title "doctor" even if they are graduates of a doctoral nursing program.  A Florida Senator is trying to make it a 3rd degree felony.  A charge up next to burglary, elderly neglect and animal cruelty ending in death.  Sure, that makes perfect sense.  Hey, because I am might be  PhD and say "I'm Dr. Jones" I should share a jail cell with someone who tied a pit bull to a fence and lit them on fire.

I have met Medical Assistants and RNs who call their selves "nurses" and "PAs" and they are not even close to having completed an educational track that could be mistaken as such.  They were not bad people, and they were not trying to pull the wool over someones eyes.  They were simply saving a lengthy explanation of what their actual job entails.  Anyone who has an occupation outside of the doctor seems to need to carry around a job description in order to get patients to understand what their role is.

The hardest position I have ever held is one as a Nurse Practitioner.  The one of the hardest parts of my job is trying to explain to the patient that they don't have to consult with the doctor after seeing me.  I'm not there to take their blood pressure and I'm not going to get the doctor to come in and check up on our plan that we just established for treatment.  I'm not a student doctor, a helper or an assistant.  People who don't work in the medical field (and even sometimes people who do) just don't get what we do.

All that being said, should we make it a 3rd degree felony for saying that we hold a title that was rightfully earned?  We are not ashamed of our titles and we actually want you to understand our roles, but it is really difficult to do in the small time frame which insurance companies and government allot for us to spend with each person.  I actually haven't met a Nurse Practitioner yet that doesn't correct patients or other practitioners when referred to as a medical doctor. I have not met a nurse who has complained when others who do not hold the same level of education refer to their selves as "nurses."  People throw around the title "nurse" constantly without a second thought.  I don't see a law being discussed to make that a felony or any other penalty for that matter.