Nurse practitioner to pay $20K for calling herself 'doctor' 

San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based nurse practitioner Sarah Erny, DNP, RN, has agreed to an injunction and to pay $19,750 in civil penalties for inferring she was a physician to the public, the County of San Luis Obispo District Attorney's office said Nov. 14. 

From October 2018 until March 2022, Dr. Erny allegedly ran various social media accounts where she identified herself as "Doctor Sarah Erny" without making it clear she has a doctorate in nursing practice and is not a physician.

The settlement ruled she failed to advise the public that she was not a medical doctor and to identify her supervising physician. California policy prohibits all but a select few healthcare professionals from calling themselves "doctor" or "physician."

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