Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#1
Hi,

I work as a (fairly new) consultant psychiatrist in the UK. I've never felt comfortable using my "Dr" title despite all of my colleagues throwing theirs around every opportunity they can. Right from FY1 to being a consultant I've never liked it. I just find the whole thing so pompous. At the end of the day I'm no better than a nurse, OT or psychologist who has worked equally as hard (if not at times more so) for my lofty ego to be inflated by some honorary title that the GMC say is ok to use - as most of us docs have a bachelors in medicine rather than a proper doctorate like our clinical psychology colleagues. Most psychologists with doctorates that I know introduce themselves to patients by their first name.

In most cases with patients I just use my full name and let them decide. If they call me "Dr" then so be it, if it's my first name then even better in my book. I don't use my title in clinic letters (again just my name) and I don't have a fancy email signature that outlines all of my lustrous degrees (only mbchb and mrcpsych anyway lol).

Anyone else think like this or is it just me? It may be that I honestly don't belive that psychiatrists are 'proper doctors' as we lose so much general medical knowledge and skills that we may even be worse than useless in a cardiac arrest but to be honest I'm cool with that. Describe my job as you will: mental health consultant, medical social worker, quack, failed medic... I love my job and what I do, just spare all the grandiose ******** that comes with the ever so paternalistic title.

Bit of a rant, I'm sorry. Interested to hear what others think.

B
2
reply
Jonathanツ
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#2
Report 1 month ago
#2
I definitely agree, It's nice that there are people like you who don't have an high ego
4
reply
Kerzen
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#3
Report 1 month ago
#3
ecolier

nexttime
Last edited by Kerzen; 1 month ago
0
reply
ROTL94
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#4
Report 1 month ago
#4
That's fair, tbh. If I had a PhD, I'd only use it in professional contexts too, in almost all other contexts it doesn't matter.
3
reply
username5173262
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#5
Report 1 month ago
#5
GP's are frauds too. I agree.
3
reply
Chief Wiggum
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#6
Report 1 month ago
#6
I think you have a good attitude.

People who are obsessed with trying to lord their "doctor" title over others are exceptionally tedious.
5
reply
Anonymous #2
#7
Report 1 month ago
#7
I'm definitely the same - I don't use the title Dr in emails, letters, bank cards or anything else. I'll have my job title underneath my name where relevant (e.g. referrals). I've also worked in a team where the consultants only used their first names with juniors as one of many ways to make them more approachable.
1
reply
girl_in_black
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#8
Report 1 month ago
#8
I'm still very far from being a consultant but I cringe when people call me by my "doctor" title. I cringe even more when F1s introduce themselves as "Dr"

Interestingly, the one place where my seniors insisted that I introduce myself as "Dr" rather than my first name was my psych job, the reason given being needing to set boundaries with patients. I do see the rational for this, but I do prefer your approach of letting people decide what they are more comfortable with, and I think this would be my preferred option too if I was a consultant. If it works for you, just keep doing it - who cares what the convention is?
1
reply
nexttime
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#9
Report 1 month ago
#9
(Original post by Anonymous)
I don't use my title in clinic letters (again just my name) ...
That's the only bit I find slightly odd. So you put your first and last name, but without a title? Or do you put Mr/Ms? For me, signing a letter - any letter really - is quite a formal thing and I'd expect a title, and if I put Mr/Ms I'd feel that would look odd? Maybe just me!

I do have a long-ish email signature (which comes after I sign with just my first name - indicating how I want them to refer to me in any reply), but only my title, full name, job title, place of work - not degrees lol. And I only do that because of academic work where you might be regularly contacting people in different departments/different institutions, so it feels necessary to say who I am.

Outside of medicine being a doctor is a far bigger deal. Like, when trying to attract investors, a company will make a big deal out of doctors being part of the team/collaborators. And how is that fact commonly communicated? By heavy use of titles. Same with having a nice car, having a nice suit etc - one of the understated benefits of medicine imo.

Personally, if anything I hate it when a student/junior who I have already met refers to me by 'Dr surname' - it implies I've failed to make them feel comfortable enough to use my first name, which is of course a bad thing.
Last edited by nexttime; 1 month ago
1
reply
Democracy
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#10
Report 1 month ago
#10
(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi,

I work as a (fairly new) consultant psychiatrist in the UK. I've never felt comfortable using my "Dr" title despite all of my colleagues throwing theirs around every opportunity they can. Right from FY1 to being a consultant I've never liked it. I just find the whole thing so pompous. At the end of the day I'm no better than a nurse, OT or psychologist who has worked equally as hard (if not at times more so) for my lofty ego to be inflated by some honorary title that the GMC say is ok to use - as most of us docs have a bachelors in medicine rather than a proper doctorate like our clinical psychology colleagues. Most psychologists with doctorates that I know introduce themselves to patients by their first name.

In most cases with patients I just use my full name and let them decide. If they call me "Dr" then so be it, if it's my first name then even better in my book. I don't use my title in clinic letters (again just my name) and I don't have a fancy email signature that outlines all of my lustrous degrees (only mbchb and mrcpsych anyway lol).

Anyone else think like this or is it just me? It may be that I honestly don't belive that psychiatrists are 'proper doctors' as we lose so much general medical knowledge and skills that we may even be worse than useless in a cardiac arrest but to be honest I'm cool with that. Describe my job as you will: mental health consultant, medical social worker, quack, failed medic... I love my job and what I do, just spare all the grandiose ******** that comes with the ever so paternalistic title.

Bit of a rant, I'm sorry. Interested to hear what others think.

B
It's my title and I don't feel ashamed of using it. It was not handed to me on a plate. Also, I am a professional working in a professional capacity. Patients and their relatives rightly have high expectations of me; ours is not a social relationship so I don't expect to be called by my first name. It's fine for colleagues to call me by my first name of course.

Re the final paragraph: you have some rather strange views for a consultant psychiatrist I must say. The point of your job is not to be running a cardiac arrest, surely that much is obvious? I don't see how this makes you or other psychiatrists "improper" doctors however. You might as well argue that a paediatrician isn't a "proper doctor" because they aren't Section 12 approved.

I don't buy into the cloying 'umbleness of so many social media doctors. Sounds to me like they're embarrassed of being middle class and are trying to manufacture some purported privilege with which to self-flagellate and win internet points.
8
reply
Chief Wiggum
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#11
Report 1 month ago
#11
(Original post by Democracy)
I don't buy into the cloying 'umbleness of so many social media doctors. Sounds to me like they're embarrassed of being middle class and are trying to manufacture some purported privilege with which to self-flagellate and win internet points.
I do see the opposite too though. People moaning on Twitter that their flight boarding pass clearly says "Dr Smith", but the flight attendant called them "Miss Smith", and how it was an absolute outrage to be disrespected in that way etc.
0
reply
Kabzzzy
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#12
Report 1 month ago
#12
(Original post by Democracy)
It's my title and I don't feel ashamed of using it. It was not handed to me on a plate. Also, I am a professional working in a professional capacity. Patients and their relatives rightly have high expectations of me; ours is not a social relationship so I don't expect to be called by my first name. It's fine for colleagues to call me by my first name of course.
I agree with this. There's no doubt that other healthcare professionals work extremely hard on a daily basis, but Doctors go through much more training and are the leaders for a reason. There's a level of respect that I believe has been earnt, and so should rightfully be given.

I also understand not wanting to shout it out to everyone in the world. People are different. But in a professional capacity it definitely should be kept as it is.
3
reply
Helenia
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#13
Report 1 month ago
#13
(Original post by Democracy)
It's my title and I don't feel ashamed of using it. It was not handed to me on a plate. Also, I am a professional working in a professional capacity. Patients and their relatives rightly have high expectations of me; ours is not a social relationship so I don't expect to be called by my first name. It's fine for colleagues to call me by my first name of course.

Re the final paragraph: you have some rather strange views for a consultant psychiatrist I must say. The point of your job is not to be running a cardiac arrest, surely that much is obvious? I don't see how this makes you or other psychiatrists "improper" doctors however. You might as well argue that a paediatrician isn't a "proper doctor" because they aren't Section 12 approved.

I don't buy into the cloying 'umbleness of so many social media doctors. Sounds to me like they're embarrassed of being middle class and are trying to manufacture some purported privilege with which to self-flagellate and win internet points.
This. The whole "it's only a bachelor's degree" thing is rubbish too - in most other countries it's a doctoral degree, albeit different from a PhD. I worked hard for my degree and while I don't think I am better than any of my AHP colleagues, there are some clinical decisions and responsibilities that fall to us because of our role, and I don't think playing that down does us any favours.

Would also bet that the OP is male and therefore doesn't have to deal with the whole "Is it Miss or Mrs?" tedium (Ms, if Dr is not an option - why is my marital status relevant?), or endless people not thinking you are a doctor.

FWIW I usually introduce myself by my first name and am happy for patients and juniors/students/AHPs to use it, but I don't hide the fact that I am a doctor or avoid using my title.
5
reply
Democracy
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#14
Report 1 month ago
#14
(Original post by Chief Wiggum)
I do see the opposite too though. People moaning on Twitter that their flight boarding pass clearly says "Dr Smith", but the flight attendant called them "Miss Smith", and how it was an absolute outrage to be disrespected in that way etc.
Yeah, social media is a weird place which seems to thrive on generating outrage. My personal approach is that a transient encounter e.g. on a flight is not worth getting annoyed about (although clearly if I were mistitled it would not be due to sexism, so it's not really fair for me to criticise as far as that goes). In the workplace however I prefer to keep things professional and I don't see that as evidence of being tedious

I don't go out of my way to bore on about being a doctor (indeed, I have never changed my bank cards and I don't volunteer my job to strangers) but when I'm at work I adhere to certain professional formalities and I won't pretend my title is something it isn't to win humble points. Doctors who think we are "all the same" are being annoyingly disingenuous imho.
0
reply
Democracy
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#15
Report 1 month ago
#15
(Original post by Helenia)
Would also bet that the OP is male and therefore doesn't have to deal with the whole "Is it Miss or Mrs?" tedium (Ms, if Dr is not an option - why is my marital status relevant?), or endless people not thinking you are a doctor.
Lol, literally yesterday's ward round:

Female consultant: *explains plan*
Patient: [to consultant] thank you nurse, [to me] thank you doctor.

:facepalm:
0
reply
Starz678
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#16
Report 1 month ago
#16
Use Dr title when in a work/professional setting but would use it in the sense that introduction would be I’m B, one of the doctors rather than I’m Dr B etc It’s important for patients to know who they are speaking to, we all look the same in masks and scrubs.

As a female, there’s numerous times where patients will complain that they ‘haven’t seen the doctor in days’, this happens at least twice a week so I always try to be super clear that they are most definitely getting a daily medical review.

Don’t use it at all in my personal life, but I like to keep work and life very separate.

Having completed another allied healthcare degree pre studying medicine, to me there was absolutely no comparison between workload, dedication, commitment required. Medicine is significantly more intense and the difference in responsibility is just non comparable at all. I didn’t find the medical degree particularly tough but the volume is huge compared to other courses.
4
reply
Anonymous #1
#17
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#17
Great to hear so many different replies.

The whole 'I worked so hard' and comparing it to other professions just doesn't cut it with me. Lawyers do even more demanding degrees from my observation and they don't get a fancy title. Dentists and vets are the same (albeit some, in fairness, do use it) but all of the dentists at my practice go by their first names (even the guy with a PhD). I can honestly say that even if I did have an MD or PhD I'd still have the same perspective so it's nothing to do with medicine being a bachelors degree. I've seen nursing colleagues who have business and PhD degrees to advance their careers and becomes managers and nurse consultants, but I never see them using their hard-earned title. Yes medicine is tough, yes the volume and workload is hard, and yes we often do act as leaders and take more responsibility, but I still don't see how the Dr title changes anything.

Fundamentally the only reason our title is so protected is tradition and as we completed a certain course at university. Look at nurse prescribers, ANPs or physicians associated - they have very similar roles and, in senior levels, can make more important decisions than SHOs or even registrars. This concept, I think, diminishes the hard work and responsibility that others have within healthcare who don't have a medical degree. I accept that when one achieves a "Dr" title it is usually through hard work, discipline, sacrifice and dedication (be it for a medical degree, MD, PhD or any other doctorate) and that the degree title is very much earned but what is the true value in using the title on a daily basis in work?

For what it's worth, I am male, so haven't had to deal with the whole Ms/Mrs situation. I have been called Mr before and been told by patients that they didn't think I was a 'proper' medical doctor (even on the rare occasions when I have called myself "Dr" but to be honest I really don't care. It doesn't change my clinical decisions, how the team/colleagues see me and, ultimately, patient outcomes. Patients won't get better or worse whether or not they call me "Dr" or not - it's my knowledge as a clinician and using evidence-based medicine that effects outcomes. I'm not a better medical leader or manager because of my title, it's because of my skills and attributes that I've learned throughout my career. I have to say that when a patient calls me up and refers to me by my first name I find it quite endearing. The therapeutic relationship is important in psychiatry and at the end of the day, no matter which way you look at it, we are all just people trying to help other people - the fundamental reason that we all went into medicine.

I've always referred to my self as a doctor or psychiatrist to patients as to avoid confusion so they know exactly who they are talking to and in what capacity. With regards to clinic letters I use my name and then below write 'Consultant Psychiatrist' so there is no confusing my role/responsibility. A lot of old clinic letters I've seen from the 90s actually just feature an initial and surname e.g. C Smith, again not using the title, so I don't think this is a modern concept.

As for my comment on psychiatrist not being 'proper' doctors, I've had mixed views on this over the years. I think it probably stems from a medical degree that, quite rightly, focuses on the medical model - which works well in general medicine and surgery. However this is simply too much of a reductionist and oversimplified approach in psychiatry as there is simply no known concrete biological basis for most psychiatric 'functional' disorders. Our treatments were largely found by accident and there are no concrete pathologies, only theories about how medications and conditions operate. We, as psychiatrists, focus on the old biopsychosocial model but in reality this means we focus on medication (as that's our specialty) and then refer to CPNs and social work for the social side and psychology for the psychological side. I guess on reflection, a lot of my views on psychiatrists being doctors perhaps stem from a degree uncertainty about the specialty itself and where it fits in to the medical model.
0
reply
Plantagenet Crown
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#18
Report 1 month ago
#18
I’m not a medical doctor but I do have a PhD and I don’t shy away from using my title when it’s relevant, why should I? I have PhD after my name on LinkedIn and Dr on my bank letters. It’s an achievement I worked hard for and am proud of, but more importantly it’s pretty much a requirement for anyone in my field. Of course, I don’t expect my colleagues or friends to refer to me as Dr, but I don’t engage in this woke tendency to downplay or avoid ever using my title, why should I?
3
reply
ForestCat
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#19
Report 1 month ago
#19
I don’t introduce myself as Dr X, I mostly say my first name and that I’m one of the doctors. Occasionally if I’m making phone calls requesting information (e.g. to GP surgeries) I’ll say I’m Dr surname, as it tends to get them paying attention.
All my colleagues call me by my first name. I’m still fairly juniors but I expect this will be the same when I’m a consultant (as is fairly standard in my speciality).

I do use my doctor title wherever I can on documents/ID etc (eg bank card ). I’d rather be called a title I’ve earned than be defined by my marital status.
0
reply
ahorey
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#20
Report 1 month ago
#20
I usually say “Hi, I’m “first name”, one of the doctors here” to patients on wards/on phones/med students. Have yet to use my surname lol. I might add in SHO depending on who I’m talking to on phone - looking at you radiology 😜

I don’t like calling medical/surgical consultants by their first name unless invited to do so as I feel it’s rude & shows a lack of respect. I’ll always say Dr “surname” and feel more comfortable to do so tbh unless asked to use first name. ED is different though - every consultant demands use of their first name lol and was made clear within the first week!

Registers are different, some are standoffish however still expect first name, so I’ll call them by their first name if they wish but still don’t feel comfortable.

Imagine calling a sister on the ward by her first name and not sister X 😱 They would be horrified!

I will admit using Dr on rent applications and have also used to get a credit card - I do feel it has benefits for both.

I was an AHP prior to Becoming a Dr so I don’t know if this is had an effect on how I view consultants & their names!
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Are you tempted to change your firm university choice on A-level results day?

Yes, I'll try and go to a uni higher up the league tables (33)
29.73%
Yes, there is a uni that I prefer and I'll fit in better (10)
9.01%
No I am happy with my choice (61)
54.95%
I'm using Clearing when I have my exam results (7)
6.31%

Watched Threads

View All