Let’s jump straight in with a topic that seemingly ignites both the medical profession and chiropractors equally – and that’s the question of using the term ‘Doctor’ or Dr in the title as a practitioner.
The term Doctor or Dr has been in use historically to refer to an especially learned person who had the qualification and authority to teach others in a specialised subject. As Universities opened their doors the term Doctor (Dr) described those individuals who had passed a Ph.D (philosophy Doctorate) in a given subject. The Ph.D signified a higher level of learning than a degree.
Over the last few centuries, especially in the United Kingdom, the term ‘Doctor’ or Dr has become attached to those people who practice medicine. Practicing medical doctors have usually qualified in a degree of medicine and the term Doctor or Dr is given merely as a courtesy title.
Chiropractic as a profession is‘the new kid on the block’. Since its inception in 1895, some of those who have studied the art and science of chiropractic have championed the cause to use the term Doctor or Dr before their name. This has added unnecessary confusion, and alienated the medical profession who feel that using the term is something that only they have the right to use. Indeed, for a chiropractor to use the term Doctor (Dr) it is deemed by the medical profession to be somewhat misleading the public into believing that chiropractors are medical Doctors.
And what of my opinion?
I actually don’t think that it makes any difference to the public about using the title Doctor – it only matters to the two professions involved. I have been a qualified chiropractor for sixteen years. I have a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree. I have never felt the need to use the title Doctor. I am confident in my diagnostic procedures and I am happy to be open and engage my patients and their medical doctor in a frank exchange about their condition. Surely what really matters as a practitioner is that you are confident of your ability, know the limitations of your scope of practice, and are both effective and safe at what you do.