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Why are we "doctors"?


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#1 science noob

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 04:56 AM

Does anyone know why are PhD holders called "doctors"? Is it because it is someone who has a doctorate? 

And do people call you Dr. *insert name* in the public (e.g. filling in official documents/non-scientific peers etc)?

 

People tend to think why are we even qualified to be called a "doctor" (probably a stereotype issue because doctor = medical doctor)



#2 Trof

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:26 AM

PhD is abbreviation of Doctor of Philosophy, same as medical doctors are Doctors of Medicine.

This Wikipedia article nicely summs up the differences between professional and research/other doctorates.

 

And yes, in professional life people call me "doctor" and I'm using it filling official documents.

 

The usage of academic titles outside professional life obviously differs between countries, in many of them name is usually stated without any titles.

But my country, for example is kind of obsessed with titles, so often they are written anywhere possible. Due to the previously low percentage of people with university degrees, it was like a sign of being "better" then other or something. Still many professionals will treat you differently if you have/haven't got an academic title, this is sadly still true. (and yes, often mostly medical doctors)

Our state identity card have a separate space for titles on the back side, I think that is not a very common thing to have.

 

The problem with PhD in your country is, that this is a new title, adopted only decade ago to fit in with international standards, so many people don't know what it means and states (it's used at the end of the name, unlike all the other titles, medical, masters, bachelors (this one is actually also a very new, previously unused title and some people quite dispraise it, for being "low"). So often people ask, what it stand for and you then have to explain "no it doesn't  mean I have a doctorate in philosophy.." and often they don't mean what it means in higher education. And of course, some older medical doctors often say it's not "the right kind of doctor anyway", the younger ones often have PhDs themselves ;)

 

So, yes you have a right to call yourself doctor, but the society sometimes doesn't really see it accordingly.

 

And after all, there is only one true Doctor ;)

_59741911_sonicscrewdriver.jpg


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#3 pito

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:09 AM

In my country that is for sure not the case: you dont use Dr. in front of your name in "public" if you are not an MD.

A medical doctor will Always use the Dr. (and people often call them Dr. X) , but a scientist... nop, you dont use that Dr.

The only moment you would use it is simply when emailing (work related) , than many of them put it in their email signature...

 

Official documents: for sure the same rule! You only use Dr. if you are a medical doctor.


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#4 hobglobin

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:21 AM

Here (Germany) you're only called doctor if it's very official and/or the dude either a conservative and traditional person who likes such stuff, or a student (often international students) who thinks it's necessary for whatever reason until you tell him/her to avoid this....

We also have this space in our identity cards and many companies offer this too, but I use it only when I've to do with medical stuff and MDs might be involved, as they might treat you better then, as they see that you're not a naive, stupid anybody (not sure if it really helps)...wink.png  .

In my environment, except my family, close acquaintances and friends usually nobody knows it (and except the medical staff I've to visit when I'm ill), as it might come to such questions if I'm a MD and can help them and similar stuff. Don't like this.

and well this is also a Dr (Dr. John): biggrin.png

800px-Dr._John_at_Rudolstadt.JPG


One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#5 pito

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:35 AM

Do you really think this?

I wonder: you mention you are a Dr. , dont they ask whether you are an MD or a different type of Dr?

 

 

Here (Germany) you're only called doctor if it's very official and/or the dude either a conservative and traditional person who likes such stuff, or a student (often international students) who thinks it's necessary for whatever reason until you tell him/her to avoid this....

We also have this space in our identity cards and many companies offer this too, but I use it only when I've to do with medical stuff and MDs might be involved, as they might treat you better then, as they see that you're not a naive, stupid anybody (not sure if it really helps)...wink.png  .

In my environment, except my family, close acquaintances and friends usually nobody knows it (and the medical staff I've to visit when I'm ill), as it might come to such questions if I'm a MD and can help them and similar stuff. Don't like this.

and well this is also a Dr (Dr. John): biggrin.png

800px-Dr._John_at_Rudolstadt.JPG

 


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#6 hobglobin

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 11:58 AM

Well it was recommended to me by several people I know (especially when I was in a hospital), to have this possible advantage (as the MDs here are quite hierarchical thinking and might treat other doctors as coequal and not a unaware layman to whom they can try out what they want and explain nothing...anyway sure they ask if I'm a MD or something else and when I tell them no, I'm a biologist they usually explain to me the technical and biological backgrounds and don't try to talk me into expensive therapies I've to pay on my own...that's nice too biggrin.png . But well I cannot say they treat me better or whatever and this is good as all should be treated the same...

 

Do you really think this?

I wonder: you mention you are a Dr. , dont they ask whether you are an MD or a different type of Dr?

 

 

Here (Germany) you're only called doctor if it's very official and/or the dude either a conservative and traditional person who likes such stuff, or a student (often international students) who thinks it's necessary for whatever reason until you tell him/her to avoid this....

We also have this space in our identity cards and many companies offer this too, but I use it only when I've to do with medical stuff and MDs might be involved, as they might treat you better then, as they see that you're not a naive, stupid anybody (not sure if it really helps)...wink.png  .

In my environment, except my family, close acquaintances and friends usually nobody knows it (and the medical staff I've to visit when I'm ill), as it might come to such questions if I'm a MD and can help them and similar stuff. Don't like this.

and well this is also a Dr (Dr. John): biggrin.png

 

 


One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#7 pito

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:06 PM

It seems weird..

Altough: I can agree, many MDs have this "idea" that they are "better" than others.

I would, however, think that if you mention you are a Dr. and then mention you ar not an MD that they might think "bad" about you mentioning you are PhD... Seems they would even react more against it than when not mentioning it all.

 

 

 

Well it was recommended to me by several people I know (especially when I was in a hospital), to have this possible advantage (as the MDs here are quite hierarchical thinking and might treat other doctors as coequal and not a unaware layman to whom they can try out what they want and explain nothing...anyway sure they ask if I'm a MD or something else and when I tell them no, I'm a biologist they usually explain to me the technical and biological backgrounds and don't try to talk me into expensive therapies I've to pay on my own...that's nice too biggrin.png . But well I cannot say they treat me better or whatever and this is good as all should be treated the same...

 

Do you really think this?

I wonder: you mention you are a Dr. , dont they ask whether you are an MD or a different type of Dr?

 

 

Here (Germany) you're only called doctor if it's very official and/or the dude either a conservative and traditional person who likes such stuff, or a student (often international students) who thinks it's necessary for whatever reason until you tell him/her to avoid this....

We also have this space in our identity cards and many companies offer this too, but I use it only when I've to do with medical stuff and MDs might be involved, as they might treat you better then, as they see that you're not a naive, stupid anybody (not sure if it really helps)...wink.png  .

In my environment, except my family, close acquaintances and friends usually nobody knows it (and the medical staff I've to visit when I'm ill), as it might come to such questions if I'm a MD and can help them and similar stuff. Don't like this.

and well this is also a Dr (Dr. John): biggrin.png

 

 

 

 


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#8 bob1

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 01:36 AM

Here in NZ people would be introduced as Dr if they hold either PhD or medical degree (the title of the medical degree here is MbCHb or something like Medicinae bachelorae Chirugeonae bachelorae which translates to bachelor of medicine and surgery from latin, so nothing about Dr in the degree title).  Most people would probably use Name followed by PhD if they were not a medical dr, but it would depend on the person and context - they may use the title in a professional context, but not the rest of the time.

 

I agree with Trof regarding the one true Dr, but this one is pretty cool too:http://lmgtfy.com/?q=dr+teeth



#9 pito

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 02:36 AM

Here in NZ people would be introduced as Dr if they hold either PhD or medical degree (the title of the medical degree here is MbCHb or something like Medicinae bachelorae Chirugeonae bachelorae which translates to bachelor of medicine and surgery from latin, so nothing about Dr in the degree title).  Most people would probably use Name followed by PhD if they were not a medical dr, but it would depend on the person and context - they may use the title in a professional context, but not the rest of the time.

 

I agree with Trof regarding the one true Dr, but this one is pretty cool too:http://lmgtfy.com/?q=dr+teeth

seems really weird to me to be honest to use that title.

I really don't see the point using it unless in a scientific context and even than...


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#10 hobglobin

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:28 AM

Well I don't mention this actively, but it's registered ony my insurance card (similar to the identity card, but there I still don't have it wink.png )...

 

What just came to my mind is that many "doctors" don't have this title anymore as it's not necessary (except maybe for elder people who want a real doctor helping them), but they're all called colloquial "doctor" but are actually medics or physicians, and the doctor thesis would be a tiny add-on that costs some time, but says nothing about their skills (here the MD can be done in half a year and is quite often not really scientific work and therefore not comparable with a PhD). This is true especially for practice-based physicians who don't work in a hospital and/or science.

 

It seems weird..

Altough: I can agree, many MDs have this "idea" that they are "better" than others.

I would, however, think that if you mention you are a Dr. and then mention you ar not an MD that they might think "bad" about you mentioning you are PhD... Seems they would even react more against it than when not mentioning it all.

 

 

 

Well it was recommended to me by several people I know (especially when I was in a hospital), to have this possible advantage (as the MDs here are quite hierarchical thinking and might treat other doctors as coequal and not a unaware layman to whom they can try out what they want and explain nothing...anyway sure they ask if I'm a MD or something else and when I tell them no, I'm a biologist they usually explain to me the technical and biological backgrounds and don't try to talk me into expensive therapies I've to pay on my own...that's nice too biggrin.png . But well I cannot say they treat me better or whatever and this is good as all should be treated the same...

 


 


 

 


One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#11 Trof

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:04 AM

To be even more complicated here, as the english (?) standard is to have a title after name (M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc. ...)  we used to have a rather different sets of titles, that are in front of the name.

 

Usualy that was the M.D. title, "MUDr." in czech, which holds the Dr part inside (like MUDr. House for example, LOL). There we not many other titles, there were fro those with technical universities, who got Ing. title, that would translated as engineer, which is most puzzling, since it describes just anyone working in engeneering, not someone with a graduate degree (I think Dipl. Ing. is used instead in Germany).

 

So, after some 5 years of university studies (in a row, there were no bachelors then), you were either Ing. in the past or nothing (or "master" Mgr. nowadays in non-technicals). Not medical doctors, they had 6 year study (and they still have) after with they got their MUDr. title. Even though actually they are on the similar level as master students.

Before PhD adoption here, we have something called "small doctorate" which was kind of less than PhD now, required addition few yeras and a defense, and those got awarded different "Dr" titles depending on the topic, RNDr. was a "doctor" of Science (math, physics, biology,...), PhDr. "doctor of philosophy" (psychology, sociology,..), JUDr. a "doctor" of law. These were also in front of the name and were quite of highly regarded.

 

Then it was a "big doctorate" that was equivalent to PhD now, that have a special title CSc. (or further DrSc. meaning a candidate or doctor (again) of science (any science, not only the biology-math-physics kind of science)) after the name, in addition to some kind of "RNDr" of so in front of the name.

So in past, if you were a "PhD equivalent" doctor, you had some of these "..Dr" titles in front of your name anyway.

 

But after PhD adoption, CSc. titles could be of course used still, but only by past holders, no new CSc. are given, since it was replaced with universal PhD degree. But since PhD is in back, and you need to get masters degree first, most people (like me) are now  Mgr. Some Name, Ph.D., (which would be equivalent RNDr. Some Name, CSc. earlier) and as I told earlier, many people don't know what the PhD at the back is, so they just ignore it. And for the Mgr. they often ignore it just as well, because that is some kind of new generic title, pfeew.. to bad living in a country where actually titles do matter ;)

Often they don't know where to write it, if you have a "Title" in a web-form it's usually thought as the "in front of the name" title. So it's complicated.

 

(and to be even more complicated, it's still possible to get "small doctorates" like RNDr. now, but since they don't have a professional value as PhD does, people only go for it if they don't feel enough for the complete PhD, or the other common reason is to get rid of the front "universal" Mgr. title, (it replaces it) because RNDr. is still more regarded than "unknown" PhD by common people.. and my late grandmother was always saying "what is it Mgr.? (short for "magister", that's how we call "master's" here) The magisters work in the pharmacy!" (sadly as with engeneers, "magister" is a professional title of pharmacy workers, it's all funny ;) )

 

So I only write PhD after my name for international professional correspondence (no title for non-professional), because no one knows what Mgr. is (and in english writing PhD replaces MSc anyway, it's both in the back),

and I write both in czech, but the first is often looked down on and the second often not understood.

And no, therefore it's not common to be written as "Dr." (and there is no such title, you just write your full titles), but you can be adressed as such in spoken lanuage.

And as I don't insist as much on my title(s), if you have one, people tend to call you by it.. I mean, OK company managers that come to sell us stuff, then.. fine.. in that case I correct them "well if you insist on the title..", but as of quite an importance for medical stuff, people are called by their titles even in a hospital.

I mean nothing is as bizzare as if you hear adressing "oh, good morning, mrs doctor" to an old lady laying unresponsive on intensive care psychiatric unit.. but what can you do in a country such gnawed into titles..

 

Ah, screw titles :)


Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon


#12 pito

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:11 AM

I am not so sure I understand you...

An MD (in my country anyway) is someone who is a "doctor" , a physician... You become an MD (doctor) after you finished medical school ... (7 years) then you do a specialization or get if wanted a PhD.

 

Its not a PhD the general MD title.

 

 

So not sure what you mean with an MD is half a year? You mean a PhD for someone who is a physician???

 

A doctor (MD) can also get a PhD .. he is than a MD PhD , meaning Dr PhD ...

 

 

EDIT: we actually write the MD doctor in dutch as Dokter 

While the PhD one is a Doctor!

 

Both have the Dr. title in front of their name but its normally only the MD's that really use this title or are called "Dr."

 

 

Well I don't mention this actively, but it's registered ony my insurance card (similar to the identity card, but there I still don't have it wink.png )...

 

What just came to my mind is that many "doctors" don't have this title anymore as it's not necessary (except maybe for elder people who want a real doctor helping them), but they're all called colloquial "doctor" but are actually medics or physicians, and the doctor thesis would be a tiny add-on that costs some time, but says nothing about their skills (here the MD can be done in half a year and is quite often not really scientific work and therefore not comparable with a PhD). This is true especially for practice-based physicians who don't work in a hospital and/or science.

 

It seems weird..

Altough: I can agree, many MDs have this "idea" that they are "better" than others.

I would, however, think that if you mention you are a Dr. and then mention you ar not an MD that they might think "bad" about you mentioning you are PhD... Seems they would even react more against it than when not mentioning it all.

 

 

 

Well it was recommended to me by several people I know (especially when I was in a hospital), to have this possible advantage (as the MDs here are quite hierarchical thinking and might treat other doctors as coequal and not a unaware layman to whom they can try out what they want and explain nothing...anyway sure they ask if I'm a MD or something else and when I tell them no, I'm a biologist they usually explain to me the technical and biological backgrounds and don't try to talk me into expensive therapies I've to pay on my own...that's nice too biggrin.png . But well I cannot say they treat me better or whatever and this is good as all should be treated the same...

 


 


 

 

 


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#13 hobglobin

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:31 AM

Well here it's a bit different (and perhaps I used the MD wrongly), anyway you study e.g. medicine or biology and then you're a physician/medic (in german "Arzt", who is colloquially often called "doctor" (Doktor)) or a biologist (Biologe). As additional qualification you can get then a degree as doctor which would be Dr. rer nat. for natural sciences (doctor scientiarum naturalium which is an equivalent of PhD) i.e. for the biologist or Dr. med. (doctor medicinae which might be the equivalent of MD (not sure)) for physicans.

 

A physician might also get a PhD, if he wants to work in research, but this depends on university regulations I guess.

 

But the doctor for physicians developed from a qualification more to a decoration because you don't need to work many years for it (as you have for a PhD/Dr. rer. nat) and the amount of work is quite little, you can even start before you finish your studies, so it adds nothing to their job qualification but only possible reputation in front of the patients and their ego perhaps wink.png .

 

Anyway natural scientists usually don't use the title in daily life here, but physicians do...and well if you write Dr. Meyer (or it's written somewhere) without any other abbreviation you cannot tell what the person is, and this leads of course to confusion, and people might think you're a physician....

Trof is right, screw the titles laugh.png

 

 

 

 

I am not so sure I understand you...

An MD (in my country anyway) is someone who is a "doctor" , a physician... You become an MD (doctor) after you finished medical school ... (7 years) then you do a specialization or get if wanted a PhD.

 

Its not a PhD the general MD title.

 

 

So not sure what you mean with an MD is half a year? You mean a PhD for someone who is a physician???

 

A doctor (MD) can also get a PhD .. he is than a MD PhD , meaning Dr PhD ...

 

 

EDIT: we actually write the MD doctor in dutch as Dokter 

While the PhD one is a Doctor!

 

Both have the Dr. title in front of their name but its normally only the MD's that really use this title or are called "Dr."

 

 

Well I don't mention this actively, but it's registered ony my insurance card (similar to the identity card, but there I still don't have it wink.png )...

 

What just came to my mind is that many "doctors" don't have this title anymore as it's not necessary (except maybe for elder people who want a real doctor helping them), but they're all called colloquial "doctor" but are actually medics or physicians, and the doctor thesis would be a tiny add-on that costs some time, but says nothing about their skills (here the MD can be done in half a year and is quite often not really scientific work and therefore not comparable with a PhD). This is true especially for practice-based physicians who don't work in a hospital and/or science.

 

It seems weird..

Altough: I can agree, many MDs have this "idea" that they are "better" than others.

I would, however, think that if you mention you are a Dr. and then mention you ar not an MD that they might think "bad" about you mentioning you are PhD... Seems they would even react more against it than when not mentioning it all.

 

 


One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#14 pito

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 11:05 AM

Arzt: same as in belgium/dutch: arts !

(arts = doctor, MD)

 

 

I find it strange you need to get some sort of additional qualification for the Dr. title as a physician... 

Maybe its different from country to country than.

 

 

Well here it's a bit different (and perhaps I used the MD wrongly), anyway you study e.g. medicine or biology and then you're a physician/medic (in german "Arzt", who is colloquially often called "doctor" (Doktor)) or a biologist (Biologe). As additional qualification you can get then a degree as doctor which would be Dr. rer nat. for natural sciences (doctor scientiarum naturalium which is an equivalent of PhD) i.e. for the biologist or Dr. med. (doctor medicinae which might be the equivalent of MD (not sure)) for physicans.

 

A physician might also get a PhD, if he wants to work in research, but this depends on university regulations I guess.

 

But the doctor for physicians developed from a qualification more to a decoration because you don't need to work many years for it (as you have for a PhD/Dr. rer. nat) and the amount of work is quite little, you can even start before you finish your studies, so it adds nothing to their job qualification but only possible reputation in front of the patients and their ego perhaps wink.png .

 

Anyway natural scientists usually don't use the title in daily life here, but physicians do...and well if you write Dr. Meyer (or it's written somewhere) without any other abbreviation you cannot tell what the person is, and this leads of course to confusion, and people might think you're a physician....

Trof is right, screw the titles laugh.png

 

 

 

 

I am not so sure I understand you...

An MD (in my country anyway) is someone who is a "doctor" , a physician... You become an MD (doctor) after you finished medical school ... (7 years) then you do a specialization or get if wanted a PhD.

 

Its not a PhD the general MD title.

 

 

So not sure what you mean with an MD is half a year? You mean a PhD for someone who is a physician???

 

A doctor (MD) can also get a PhD .. he is than a MD PhD , meaning Dr PhD ...

 

 

EDIT: we actually write the MD doctor in dutch as Dokter 

While the PhD one is a Doctor!

 

Both have the Dr. title in front of their name but its normally only the MD's that really use this title or are called "Dr."

 

 

Well I don't mention this actively, but it's registered ony my insurance card (similar to the identity card, but there I still don't have it wink.png )...

 

What just came to my mind is that many "doctors" don't have this title anymore as it's not necessary (except maybe for elder people who want a real doctor helping them), but they're all called colloquial "doctor" but are actually medics or physicians, and the doctor thesis would be a tiny add-on that costs some time, but says nothing about their skills (here the MD can be done in half a year and is quite often not really scientific work and therefore not comparable with a PhD). This is true especially for practice-based physicians who don't work in a hospital and/or science.

 

It seems weird..

Altough: I can agree, many MDs have this "idea" that they are "better" than others.

I would, however, think that if you mention you are a Dr. and then mention you ar not an MD that they might think "bad" about you mentioning you are PhD... Seems they would even react more against it than when not mentioning it all.

 

 

 


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#15 casandra

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 11:28 AM

II think here in North America, it would depend on the situation/setting and I suppose, largely on the 'bearer's preference'. In the academe and research, I guess one is addressed as doctor- oral or written if one has a PhD. In the hospitals, I think only medical doctors would be addressed as doctors (or present themselves as doctors) to avoid patients' confusion and the PhD holder's constant denial :P.  Outside of work, I guess, I would take the cue from the person him/herself...if s/he wants to be called by their first name which is doctor, then so be it.


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