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Use of the Title "Doctor" in the Clinical Setting

Originally approved April 2014


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) believes that a physician is an individual who has received a “Doctor of Medicine” or a “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine” degree or an equivalent degree following successful completion of a prescribed course of study from a school of medicine or osteopathic medicine.

ACEP recommends that anyone in a hospital environment who has direct contact with a patient who presents himself or herself to the patient as a “doctor,” and who is not a “physician” according to the definition above, must specifically and simultaneously declare themselves a “non-physician” and define the nature of their doctorate degree.

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