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Everyone's a Doctor

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

Everyone is a doctor today….at least that is the impression one might get by the number of people introduce themselves as such. In fact, about the only ones I know who DON’T call themselves doctors, are some doctors… doctors with real credentials and enough confidence to know that titles are a superfluous means of elevating one’s self-esteem. But doctors who are not doctors are crawling out of the woodwork! Dentists call themselves “doctors.” They’re not doctors. A chiropractor calls himself “doctor.” He’s not one, either! I went to the optometrist the other day and the first thing she said was “Hello, I’m Doctor Hahn.” Doctor? Mmm, sorry. An ophthalmologist is an eye doctor. An optometrist is a person who checks people’s vision for glasses. Even a basketball player, with a PhD in physical education calls himself a doctor! One of my best friends is a real doctor who works as a research scientist, curing diseases. When his graduate students call him “Dr. Smith,” he always corrects them. “Just call me ‘John,’” he tells them. Why does he need a title? He doesn’t depend on meaningless titles to gain respect. He is respected. Now there are even PhD programs for nurses. Imagine the fun trying to sort out that at the hospital before surgery! “The doctor will be with you in a moment.” “The doctor? Oh, but…I thought the nurse was going to prep me for surgery!” "Yes, the nurse will be here.” “Oh, not the doctor?” “Yes, the doctor. The nurse IS a doctor. Dr. Wang has a PhD in nursing.” “So… if both the doctor—the real doctor—and the nurse, who calls herself a doctor but is not one, were both in the room at the same time, and I called out 'doctor,' who would answer?” “Both of them. It would be elitist of the doctor to think such a title is his exclusive domain! He’s not the only one who worked hard to get where he is!” “Well, for that matter, the janitor probably works harder than anyone in the hospital! Should I call him a doctor, too?” “No of course not. That would be silly.” “Thank God.” “Refer to him as the resident expert in anti-microbial engineering.”

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