Being called Dr.

Hi I’m starting my 4th year now and the Dr. whom I’m with introduces me to most as “Dr.” XYZ . Some he tells them I’m Dr. XYZ a 4th year Med student but most do not. I do tell Patients when appropriate I’m not finished school yet and starting my last year.

Does this happen to anyone else?

The Dr. Has been a part of a big residency program and director he knows the system and is young, I was told in the south Medical students are often referred to as “Student Doctor” and thus Called Dr.

My name badge says “Medical Student” plain as day.


Usually happens when I’m out on a preceptorship. Most are pretty good about introducing me as ‘my student today – student doctor…’ but my last preceptor slipped more than once when letting me do some OMT to patients who really needed it. Quite frequently during the last two days of the preceptorship he would introduce me as ‘Dr.’.

I think in Texas it’s against the law to represent yourself as a physician if you’re not licensed but I don’t know about someone else doing it for you.

Do you frequently have others in your social group come up to you for medical advice also? I keep telling them I’m not a doctor but I get the ‘oh, it’s ok, I just want your opinion’…yeah, right. My opinion is you should go to the emergency room or go see your FP and tell them what’s going on…

I think you are just starting Clinicals? because its ok to write orders and give medical advice under the Attending or Doctors assigned to ( as per policy, my Hospital allows Medical students to write cosigned orders, no narcotics though). So I do explain some things to the families and give the patients directions as per the Attending I’m under. I also perform procedures on my own as per my attending. Everything I do is cosigned though, but some things are independent like progress notes and H&P’s , they are cosigned as well. As far as Licensed, you are not Licensed in residency except for a “training License” you will be called Dr and have the MD/DO at this point. I think as a student there is no problem anywhere as long as you do not sign things or prescribe things as MD/DO, I have heard of this before in Medical school but I make sure to let people know where I am in training, I sign everything as MS IV, as long as you are under the understanding that you are acting with the full knowledge and approval of the Attending or the Resident you are assigned to.

You are too kind…you actually assume I know what the heck I’m doing and remember most of what I was taught in 1st and 2nd year…

Yes, I’m about to hit clinicals. What I was talking about was the social setting (i.e. after church or whatever) where someone has a condition and asks for your medical advice on the next move for them…I always tell them I’m not a doctor and they should seek the advice of a licensed physician. If they don’t like his advice, get a second opinion or third if necessary…

Yes they do Call me Dr. But I again let them know I do not have my degree yet. So I kindly talk to them and refer them to their Doc. If they do not have one I know of more then a few good ones now! LOL

I’m in Rural Ga. People here get a little confused anyway. But I make sure to make it clear what stage I’m at.

(I’m also an RN of 20 years with a current License here so I can give basic advice ( Not DX but can say Hmm need to have that followed up!) anyway.

As far as what you are saying yea I would act that way to not infer a DX and treatment, I try to not treat anyone unless its within Nursing guidelines ( I know them well LOL)

“Dr. Corey” would be kind of strange to hear, but I’m usually referred to as “Doc” or “Dr. Matt” around the office which is probably a good compromise for the reasons the guys describe above.

Yea I started this to know who else and how they feel about this, I used to think it would be great now, Its Kinda like scrubs, I thought I knew so much as a Nurse and now I feel I need to know so much more!

Really I do not care that much!

This is an oft-discussed can ‘O’ worms. Do I ‘play’ along with the intro as “Dr. so&so” and feel like I portraying myself as something I am not or risk contradicting the attending by telling the pt what I feel to be the “truth”. It is an old, frequent & essentially unanswerable question.

While it may be technically true that falsely representing oneself as a physician is illegal - I am confident this is the law in more places than just TX - that law is more directed at folks truly trying to play Doctor unsupervised. Believe me, as a med student, you are so heavily watched you would find it challenging to actually damage a patient, at least I hope you are. So, this is actually more of a rhetorical splitting of hairs.

I was also very uncomfortable being introduced as “Dr. Kelley” (even after I WAS a physician, but that is another story) and felt strongly compelled to ‘correct’ the mistake. My approach was, first time it occured, I would approach my staff person about it at the first possible opportunity. I do not recall it ever having been a problem after that and I never perceived any negative impact on my relationship with the staff person either. Of course, you must approach them respectfully & in a manner in concordance with their level of authority - bitching at them will not serve you well!

In retrospect, I think this probably falls into that large category of things that med students expend a lot of energy fretting over that probably do not deserve such resources. However, I concede I did the same & would probably be just as persnickity were I, God forbid, a med student again.

Yea thanks OMD, and yes my attending is a JH grad in Othopedics residency and he went to school there too! ( who would of thought in backwater GA?) LOL He watches me like a hawk, I get corrected and pimped a lot! LOL so much to still learn!

Back to step study LAter!