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Calling yourself a 'Dr' in Australia

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Rudy, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Rudy

    Rudy Active Member

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    I think podiatrist without a doctorate referring to themselves as Dr are wankers! Sorry for the strong term. They are deliberately trying to deceive the public and try and look better qualified than their competitors. I believe it also hurts our relationship with GPs.
    I know we are legally entitled to do it, but it makes you sound like a wanker and you will be horribly embarrassed when people find out you were pretending!

    I think all of these podiatrist should be shunned until they admit they are only playing at being a Dr.
  2. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Re: Calling yourself a Dr

    Fair enough:)

    (memo to self - engage brain before posting on an open forum).
  3. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

  4. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Bad day at work Rudy?
  5. surfboy

    surfboy Active Member

    So Rudy, ah... Dentists and Chiropractors are able to use the title? But Podiatrists who use the title are "wankers".

    Deliberately trying to deceive the public? What are you going on about?

    Note to self indeed: Engage brain before commenting on an open forum.

    For your information, Rudy, search for your local Chiropractor in the AHPRA Practitioner Search Engine. Every single Chiropractor in Australia, is registered on the public AHPRA website with the title Dr. http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx

    We've done this to death in another forum, but really Rudy, why do you have such a problem with Podiatrists in Australia using the title ?

    It's time to move with the times Rudy and evolve. Time to give the profession some more legitimacy. As Doctors, Dentists and Podiatrists are the only three medical professions that have specialist recognition and are classed as "providers of professional attention" in the health insurance act, doesn't it look a bit weird to have the Doctors and Dentists using the title Dr, alongside the Chiropractors, whilst Podiatrists resist it ????
  6. Rudy

    Rudy Active Member

    Over the top - yes
    Bad day - yes

    Maybe not all of them are wankers lol.

    I am dealing with a group who use the title as a part of a smoke and mirrors campaign. They also make unsubstantiated claims and use testimonials. I believe this breaches advertising guidelines.

    These groups are having a negative effect on the perception of podiatry. If they spent more time getting to know their stuff they wouldn't need to try and trick people through the door. People end up getting a half baked orthotic at great expense which doesn't work. It is so much harder to gain these people's trust.

    I know cream rises to the top and crap hits the floor, but they are damaging people's perception of podiatry.

    I am definitely not against competition, I think a good competitor actually improves things for everyone.

    End of Rant
  7. Tuckersm

    Tuckersm Well-Known Member

    Testimonials do, and you should make an online complaint to AHPRA. They will initially ask for the testimonials to be removed, then decide if they wish to launch an investigation.
  8. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Best advice I ever had from a mentor was - worry about yourself. If you are the best you can be, everyone else falls by the wayside!

    Everyone has bad days at work and need to vent - it helps :)
  9. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    The best advice I ever had from my mentor (MB ChB, BSc PhD DSc) was that "if you are wrong, for goodness sake be the first to say so". That is so relevant in the podiatric biomechanics world today. Rob
  10. phil

    phil Active Member

    Rudy, I also agree that using the "Dr" title is pretentious. That is, if you're a dentist, chiropractor, or a podiatrist. In Australia anyway!

    Should everyone who engages in health care with a 3-4 year bachelor degree go around with "Dr" on the front of their name? Dr nurse, Dr speech pathologist? Dr optometrist? It just starts getting stupid.

    For example, I refuse to refer to chiropractors as "Dr". I'm not rude about it. I just address them as their first name, or as "Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms", whichever is applicable.

    Having said that, you can't really make other people either use the title or not. Better to be really good at being a humble podiatrist. Writing "Dr" on your door or business card doesn't make you any better at your profession. But it might make you look like a try-hard. Not worth it in my opinion!
  11. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Problem with that assumption is that all you have is a 3-4 yr bachelor degree? What about degrees who output students with a masters qualification as well as a bachelors degree? What about Podiatrists who have done an undergraduate degree and a masters degree or PhD or Professional Doctorate? What about Podiatric Surgeons or Surgical registrars?

    The issue here is an argument of equivalence in what you practice. Im not saying i'm for or against it - but if my GP has a MBBS which is a double degree and practices medicine, and the Podiatrist next door has a double degree and practices Podiatric medicine where does the argument of equivalence come into play?

    The use of the title Dr quite often facilitates better inter practitioner relationship than the use of the title Podiatrist. People associate Drs with medicine. People associate Podiatrists with what exactly?

    Do we have a "perception" issue here? Most likely. Who is to blame for that? The people practicing Podiatric Medicine calling themselves Drs or the people people practicing chiropody calling themselves podiatrists? Or our professional associations for not pushing for mutual recognition?

    It is a much more complicated web than just "the bloke down the road calling himself a Dr" Because quite frankly as you have pointed out, that means very little to you and me as Podiatrists - but it may open more doors for better patient care for their business and provide more substantial relationships with other professionals furthering their clinical abilities.

    I practice Podiatric Medicine. Call me whatever you want - but at the end of the day thats what I do and there is no denying it. Podiatry is so far out of allied health it is an unmittigated joke that we are even referred to as part of it. Im not "big noting" Podiatry here, its simply a fact....S4 drug rights, surgical rights, radiology rights......and we are still allied? I'd put forward a very strong case that we are more in line with mainstream medicine than anything else.
  12. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    Isn't a doctorate degree a doctorate degree? Australia, USA, UK...or am I wrong?

    If you have a Ph.D. in psychology you are entitled to use the prefix Dr.
    If you have a masters degree you are not.

    Dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, medical doctors all have doctorate degrees (here in the USA anyway) which means 120 credits after receiving a bachelor's degree. That usually takes 8-9 years of higher education.

    Is it not the same in Australia? if it isn't and you have no system for identifying who's who...then you need to change it.

  13. Steve, it's not quite as simple as that here in the UK at least. In your example a further 120 credits after a bachelor degree would equate to a post graduate diploma here.
  14. David Wedemeyer

    David Wedemeyer Well-Known Member

    Phil after the 120 units it took me to earn my BS and 247.5 units and 4,575 classroom hours it took me to earn my DC, it's "Dr. Wedemeyer" to you! :D

    All kidding aside, why are podiatists so concerned with a title they that obviously earned, at least here in the US? Unless you're misleading the public that you're an MD/DO and you are not it's only the people with expansive egos who care about title (or those with fragile ones).

    Patients only care when they know you care and title does not confer proficiency, it is a minimum competency. As just plain David with an education I help a lot of people but it is inappropriate to refer to anyone in a professional setting colloquially who has earned the title doctor. Period.
  15. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve

    It really isn't that simple. In the UK as in Auss, doctors of medicine are not doctors! I'm sure that this has appeared in other threads, but as Paul has said, the term 'doctor' can be honorary, ie. doctors of medicine have a Bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery (MBBS). However, you are correct in that a doctor of medicine can possesses a Doctorate in medicine, just as PhD's can possess a Doctorate in another area. The point being that a Doctorate is the highest award that a university can bestow, whatever the subject. Dentists, osteopaths, podiatrists etc., just like most 'doctors' of medicine are not required to hold a doctorate although some do. Most dentists in the UK and most chiropractors use the honorific doctor and the question in Auss, as in the UK, is should podiatrists do so and if they do at what level of practice should they be awarded the title? I know that this is different to the U.S, but frequently things are elsewhere in the world.

    Hope that makes things a little clearer.

    Bill Liggins
  16. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Good explanation - medical doctors in Australia generally don't all hold PhD's. So the term Dr is an honorary title. Is there really a reason why a Podiatrist with a double degree in Podiatric medicine should be treated differently to a GP with a double degree in medicine or a Dentist with a single degree in dentistry or (god forbid the biggest conundrum) a VET with a single degree in vet science. The Australian Medical Association states that people who aren't medical doctors shouldnt use the term DR because it confuses the public. When you ask them to please explain the use by Dentists and Vets they ignore you and can't discuss it logically. IE - its an illogical argument that use of DR should be protected title to only MEDICAL (such as medical as in defined by the AMA for the purposes of the AMA and "you shall not pass" go or collect $200) staff.

    I know people talk about "being hung up" on the issue, but seriously if it wasn't such an issue it wouldn't be raised continuously. It would be good to develop simple criteria at an AHRPA level for the use of the title Dr in Podiatry. Its really not difficult.....whether that is you MUST have a PhD, or you MUST have a double degree or simply you can't use it under circumstance this thing really needs to be put to bed. Currently its a "mish mash of no one knows" combined with a healthy dose of "do whatever you want unless you get caught....."
  17. phil

    phil Active Member


    If AHRPA ruled that you, as a double degree holding podiatrist, could use the Dr title, what benefit would this give you? And where does that leave the rest of the Australian profession with their single podiatry degrees? And what two degrees are good enough for the Dr title?

    How could I, as a remote practicing podiatrist with 10 years experience, avail myself of the qualification necessary to use the Dr title, if indeed a double degree was the requirement? I didn't sign up for 7-8 years of university when I entered this profession. I sometimes wonder if they could have given us a lot more for the 4 years and $40k for my podiatry degree. However, would another degree now just so I can use the Dr title be worthwhile? The health community I work in already know me, and my knowledge of podiatric medicine. They don't care if I call myself Dr or not. And some patients do call me doctor! I used to correct them and tell them I'm just a podiatrist. But I've realised that its just a representation of the equivalence of care they see I provide to their GP.

    Paul, I think you are advocating for a far greater overhaul of the whole training and role of the podiatry profession in Australia, and not just tacking on the Dr title. Would this be correct?

  18. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Not at all I am simply making the same point as you for the most part. The regulations would be easy to introduce. The fact you or I may not satisfy the regulations is another story. S4 drug rights proves this. You want S4 rights? You ahve to satisfy the regulations to do so....ts not easy but if you want it in your clinical practice then you can do it. Title should be the same recognition.

    I don't believe I am advocating an overhaul, I think the profession is. The students currently graduating from UWS or UWA or from any other Uni with Masters Degrees or Professional Doctorates or PhD's would probably beg to differ with the way the current profession is "with-held". Who is holding it back? Those of us not wanting to upgrade our professional knowledge? Shouldnt that be a choice thing? WHy should I hold the profession back simply because I do not want S4 drug rights? Or I dont want to call myself a Dr? Or I dont want to practice Sports Medicine? Or High Risk Foot? Or Surgery?

    Whats good for the entity may not be good for all the individuals within it..... Food for thought and discussion maybe?
  19. Tuckersm

    Tuckersm Well-Known Member

    I have a tendency to agree, but should it be AHPRA, the APodC or the Universities bestowing the title?

    At Melbourne Uni, the entry to practice law degree is now called a Juris Doctor, the Physio Degree is a Doctor of Physiotherapy, and Medicine is a MD (Doctor of Medicine) as they are all at least 3yr post a bachelor course, but in all cases, the university, does not bestow the title Dr, as this is restricted to those completing PhDs or professional doctorates (Post entry to practice).

    At the introduction of the national law, there was a lot of discussion, and AMA pressure to try to restrict the titles Doctor and Surgeon, but at that time it was decided that no restriction was necessary as long as people made it clear their area of practice.

    And if you think things can't change, it wasn't that long ago that all nurses (even the boys) were known as Sister.
  20. surfboy

    surfboy Active Member

    This is an excellent message here Paul. I could not agree more with how you have worded this.
  21. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    I still think if you had a standardized system for awarding a doctorate degree it would solve the problem.

    Don't mean to beat a dead horse, but in the USA Podiatrists receive a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine; Dentists receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery Or Dental Medical Doctor; Chiropractors receive a Doctor Of Chiropractic; Medical Doctors a Medical Doctorate; Osteopaths a Doctor of Osteopathy.

    The amount of credit hours to receive these are standardized. Pretty simple to tell who's who. If you have a DOCTORATE degree then you're a doctor. If you do not, then you are not a doctor.

    So if you are in a country that recognizes the term DOCTOR as someone with advanced training, then you should standardize what it takes to receive the doctorate so consumers will know who they are being examined and treated by.

  22. David Wedemeyer

    David Wedemeyer Well-Known Member

    I think these posts reflect the original posters concern, I am not allowed to put simply "Dr." on my cards or in advertisements. I must use Doctor of Chiropractic so as to avoid these potential issues. Fair enough. BTW David is just fine ;)
  23. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Steve this doesn't solve anything in reality - Seinfeld proved this with the "But your not a "real" doctor are you?" episode.

    Just because your degree says Doctorate in the title means little in the real world. Some Podiatrists have PhDs in Australia - clinically they still aren't Drs right? A better example is a GP in Australia - they have a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery Degree. No mention of the title Doctor anywhere in their yet they still are referred to as Drs. Its a bestowed title - which is I guess the point we are all making here. We all should be practicing Podiatric Medicine correct? The issue is there is still a plethora of people out there who won;t let go of the "clip and chip" and come again toenail cash cow and magic bending thermoplastic clinics. There are still Podiatrists out there who don't want to prescribe S4 meds, there are still Podiatrists out there who god forbid think that cutting into a piece of skin is the domain of a GP or General Surgeon.

    Point being - we are divided. On the left is the progressive movement who embrace change, embrace study and furthering their qualifications for greater clinical benefits and patient outcomes. On the right are the conservatives who don;t see why they should change because they have been doing this for years, don't want to work harder or risk anything and are happy to think that this is their entitlement.

    I know people don't like me saying it - but unfortunately it is the truth and I am man enough to at least admit it and maybe even admit I have part of my foot in the conservative camp somewhat. That doesn't mean I shouldn't let the profession progress forward does it?
  24. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    I am sure this has been done to death before. When is a Doctorate not a Doctorate? A PhD is a research degree of a minimum of 3 years postgraduate. A DPM may well be called a Doctorate, but it is not the same thing, nor does it come close in academic standing. I understand that NOOSR (National overseas skills recognition)was asked to benchmark DPM; it was levelled as a postgraduate diploma, which was alluded to in an earlier post. In UK and Ozz (at least until very recently), an MD was essentially a medical PhD. Quite definitely not the same as a North American MD, which is equivalent to UK/Ozz MB BS (ChB). It seems to me that some are unaware of the currencies we are busy throwing around here.
  25. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    In addition to (Doctor) Rob Kidd's accurate points, even if UK pods possessed a doctorate, I would not use the term (except on a passport for the purposes of getting 'bumped up' to 1st class). The reason? Surgeons in the UK use the title 'Mr.' although they are 'doctors' of medicine (MBChB or BS) or even MDs. Therefore I am recognised as a podiatric surgeon (Mr.) and as a side issue my kudos is greater.

    Bill Liggins
  26. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Yes but in reality that old fashioned method of thinking makes absolutely no sense anywhere but England because every piece of mail sent to anyone anywhere else in the world is entitles Mr XXXX XXXXX

    Also the conundrum - what do you call Female Podiatric Surgeons? Ms? I can see the "political incorrectness" police and Germain Greer coming already!

    The whole "Mr" title thing makes logically no reasoning whatsoever and as you said outside of your own medical context you would use the title Dr anyhow so everyone else knew what you were talking about.

    However Bill you do make an excellent point of reinforcement - title is title (or kudos) and therefor probably important inter-professionally as well as within the patient setting. Why do we overlook this?

    Coming back to my previous post - lets say in Australia we allow Podiatrists with a degree to call themselves Dr for arguments sake. Lets say we do not allow Podiatrists with lesser qualifications do the same. I can forsee the current "naysayers" who state we do not need the term and don't agree with it would suddenly jump ship and either: a) Start using the title if they were entitled to or b) Start complaining about the lack of fairness in their ability not to use the title because of their non-equivalence of qualification.

  27. Ros Kidd

    Ros Kidd Active Member

    Well Dr U Bend (plumber) is currently downstairs dealing with our current flood situation! Using the title may get you bumped up on a plane, and this has happened to us, but it may also get you a larger bill from say the plumber etc. Being more serious I am reminded of my late parents in law who were both GP's in the UK, when they retired they did not use the title Dr as they felt that this was a professional title and they were no longer in that profession. I have no issue with folks who feel they want to use the title for professional reasons but when they use it in Bunnings or ordering a takeaway then I think they possibly have issues that are more complex.
  28. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Tell Rob to let the plumber know he is an old age pensioner who thinks he has just enough money to pay him!
  29. Ros Kidd

    Ros Kidd Active Member

    Strangely Paul, Rob wears clothes that look like he got them from a dumpster! Dr U Bend certainly would believe he was penniless its the boys toys that give the game away.
  30. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Actually, right now is playing with one of his boys toys on Hindmarsh island in the Coorong; back to Sydney on Monday, ready top drive back to South Australia to teach medical anatomy for semester two - in order to pay for the boys toys. Err, spot the tautology?

    Attached Files:

  31. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    Well, in Scotland, Wales NI and RoI too!

    Yes, it is a bit weird, it does only make sense in the UK and RoI (as far as I'm aware) but that is the way history works and I can't see it changing in the short term, simply because the medics like it. Although being well known as a 'revolutionary', that's a windmill which I am not going to tilt at since it suits the podiatric surgeons over here.

    I quite agree with your final point; history shows that the reactionaries suddenly cease to be reactionaries when someone else has done all the work and achieved their object. Then it becomes "me too, me too!"

    All the best

  32. amcheli

    amcheli Member

    In the UK all doctors have a bachelor of medicine, dentists have a bachelor in dentistry and they call themselves Dr why podiatrists can't...chiropractors also use the title Dr and they have Masters.
  33. amcheli

    amcheli Member

    this is only about what has been lobbied for...if all the degrees given are called doctor of something then everything is ok, podiatrists in AUS and UK can then call themselves Dr's...if you notice in the US everything is called doctor of something, this is how they ended the debates. In the US, doctors have doctor of medicine in the UK they have bachelor of medicine bachelor of surgery, but they both use the title Dr. In the US they have DPM and in the UK they have BSc (Hons) in Podiatry why shouldn't both call themselves Dr's?
  34. Hoppo

    Hoppo Member

  35. Hoppo

    Hoppo Member

    Well Dr Rudy ;), You were right. 60 Minutes in Australia did a hatchet job on Podiatry Surgeons calling themselves Doctors about a month ago. To be fair they just assumed we all just started doing Surgery and didn't differentiate between a Podiatrist and a Podiatry Surgeon. It was extremely painful watching as the Podiatry profession got smashed. My heart goes out to all our wonderful Pod Surgeons.

    However there is no denying a few points.
    1. There is a general lack of public awareness off just how qualified Australian Pod Surgeons are.
    2. Awareness in the medical GP's of the UK pathway to Podiatry Surgeon v the US model of DPM's.

    I think all of these podiatrist should be shunned until they admit they are only playing at being a Dr.[/QUOTE]

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