Don't Worry about Titles
Ms. — no, I'm sorry — Dr. Sandra Scott Simons might want to look at why it is so important that those who are seeking help might not perceive that she is in fact a doctor. (ER Goddess: “Yes, I'm really the Doctor,” EMN 2015;37:8; http://emn.online/Dec15ERGoddess.) God forbid someone think she is a clerk or a nurse or an assistant or anyone else who could offer some help. You can look up my credentials if it matters to anyone; I don't need to display them! I have practiced since 1985, and I still am called a nurse and my male nurse is called doctor. If it doesn't affect patient care and the patient is older, I don't dare embarrass them by correcting them. (We all know who is who in EMR!) I have never thought myself as a woman in medicine. I have always thought of myself as someone/anyone who can comfort any patient in need. If I'm not busy and a patient asks for a bedpan, I'll get it. Need an emesis basin? Got it! Need a warm blanket. It's theirs.
I'm sure patients don't care about all of the letters after your name or whether you are a male or female doctor; they just need care and comforting and sometimes just a hand to hold onto for a second, even if it's not in the doctor's job description. I'm not practicing in the ED setting anymore, but I've never lost the knowledge that it's not about me and my credentials, or whether patients might perceive me inadequate as a female physician. I'm there to take care of them, and it doesn't bother me at all. One of my wise attendings taught me not to sweat the small stuff. Life isn't fair, and make the best of the glorious position you are in! It makes interacting with your patients so much more rewarding for both parties involved to try to enjoy and engage, then go home to sleep knowing you put your patients' needs above yours. I'm sure their intention in seeking your help was not to be discriminatory.
Lisa Plazzo, MD
Wilmington, NCCopyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.