How states are approaching who gets to be called doctor

Nurse practitioners with doctorates have increasingly been pushing back on states' moves to address whether nonphysicians can be called doctors, The Washington Post reported Aug. 20.

A 2023 Florida bill, vetoed in June by Gov. Ron DeSantis, would have prevented nonphysicians from using titles including doctor of medicine, physician, medical resident and hospitalist. A comparable measure became law in Georgia this year and in Indiana in 2022. 

Recently, California ordered a nurse practitioner to pay nearly $20,000 for advertising herself as "Doctor Sarah," which led many nurses to challenge a law already on the books in that state. 

This debate becomes more critical as the physician shortage is exacerbated, according to the report.

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