Patient Safety / Quality

Readers Respond

Correction

The January 2013 article "Helping patients survive sepsis" mistakenly listed "respiratory rate slower than 20 breaths/minute" as one of the diagnostic criteria for systemic inflammatory response syndrome (page 24). It should have read "respiratory rate faster than 20 breaths/minute." We regret the error.

Let’s mind our Ds and Qs

I read with interest "How to handle disruptive physician behaviors" (November 2012). The authors provided sobering statistics regarding this issue and offered wise advice for how nurses should approach inappropriate physician behavior. The zero-tolerance policy the article describes reflects nursing’s humanistic values and should serve as inspired, rational guidance to nurses who have been the target of this unacceptable and unprofessional behavior.

Although I enjoyed the article, I was disappointed with the issue’s cover, which promoted the article with the blurb "Dealing with disruptive doctors." In 2008, the American Medical Association (AMA) considered a resolution to limit the title "doctor" in healthcare settings to physicians, dentists, and podiatrists, arguing that use of this title by nonphysicians was confusing. With input from the American Nurses Association, AMA changed the language of this resolution to emphasize transparency, advocating that “professionals in a clinical healthcare setting clearly and accurately identify to patients their qualifications and degree(s) attained"—a reasonable resolution that few could argue with. Thus, I was disappointed to see your journal use the term "doctor" rather than "physician" on the cover. References like this give the impression that nurses and others in healthcare settings assume “doctors” means "physicians."

For the safety of our patients and the sake of our profession, nurses, nursing advocates, and nursing publications should use appropriate terms when describing nurses and other healthcare professionals. We need to mind our Ds (degrees) and Qs (qualifications) and not make assumptions about an individual’s qualifications based solely on his or her degree(s).

Ann Marie Hart, PhD, FNP-BC
Associate Professor and DNP Program Coordinator
Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing
University of Wyoming, Laramie


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