Should Pharmacists Use the Title Doctor?

If you are a RPh (registered pharmacist) who completed your pharmacy education in a Doctor of Pharmacy program, do you use your Pharm.D. to apply handle to your name? Do you expect others to do so as well?

After last week finishing up the Presidential Debates for 2016, I figured you’d be craving for more 😉 .  I am humbly offering a debatable topic in honor of American Pharmacists Month.  I am going to argue a bit on both sides and you will see why.

If you are a regular reader of PFL, then you know that I am a Community Pharmacist and I have been practicing with the same company for the last 10 years. 

Should Pharmacists Use the Title Doctor - Rx Fitness Lady

I don’t think the question “Should Pharmacists Use the Title Doctor?” has a black and white answer.  I truly think it depends on the setting, so let’s discuss!

“This post was brought to you by Total Health Chiropractic and Wellness Center.”

Hospital Setting

If I’m in a hospital as a pharmacist, patient, or visitor, when I hear “Dr.” Jane Doe, I am looking for a M.D. (Doctor of Medicine), you know the one you go see at the Doctor’s office.

It’s too confusing to use the title doctor in the hospital if you are not a medical doctor.  In my opinion, it is slightly pretentious.  There are health care professionals other than pharmacists with Doctorate level degrees (i.e. physical therapists).  It would get confusing and be pointless for everyone to be calling each other doctor.

A pharmacist in a hospital setting should refrain from calling/expecting others to call them doctor.

Community (Retail) Setting

This is my practice setting and it makes absolutely no sense TO INSIST that your staff and coworkers in the store call you Dr. Jane Doe!  I am not saying there’s a problem with being addressed that way. I just don’t think it should be a requirement.  It’s just not the norm and because it’s not the norm, if you insist, they will comply but you will look grandiose!

Customers will affectionately refer to their community pharmacist as Doc and that is super awesome.  More that likely, members of your staff will do no such thing and that is perfectly fine.

A pharmacist in a retail setting should refrain from calling/expecting others to call them doctor.

Pharmacists Educators

Professors are unique in the profession because they are instructors.  It is absolutely the norm to call instructors with earned doctorates Dr. Jane Doe.  It is disrespectful for the student to address the professor without the title.  This sounds like a double standard.  Yep, it is! It’s the norm.  We are discussing what is typical not what is necessarily right.

A pharmacist in an education setting should call/expect others to call them doctor. 

Family, Church, & Community 

You are crazy if you think your family isn’t tossing that title around when referring to you, especially the proud parents.


Geesh, I was tiny, but this is the sign and cake my parents had made for my graduation party 🙂 !


My church family uses the title “Dr.” for any earned doctorate in the congregation.  They use it officially on programs and they use it affectionately in passing.  I think they are proud and of course, that’s ok.

In the community, I’ve used the title Dr. to sign a complaint letter.  I am not sure if it mattered, but I got a prompt return call.  I also use it on my insurance policy because people believe and operate in their stereotypical beliefs.

For a wedding announcement, I would refrain from from using the title.  Of course it’s your wedding, however it’s not the social nor healthcare standard so again, it becomes pretentious!

In conclusion, using the title Doctor as a pharmacist will not be the norm the majority of the time but it has it’s place in your life in the community if needed.

I hope you enjoyed American Pharmacists Month here with a PFL spin on the tag line “Live Healthy & Active. Be Prosperous.” Next month, we are back to regular business at hand as we prepare for the holidays!


Yours in Healthy, Active, & Prosperous Lifestyles,

Rx Fitness Lady wants to know…

  • Is there something controversial about your profession that you’d like to share with me?
  • What is a topic you’d like to see debated her on PFL?

Follow on Bloglovin

Print Friendly
Sharing is caring...
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
The following two tabs change content below.

Rx Fitness Lady

Greetings, I'm Joi, a Pharmacist with a passion for fitness & a community leader. I teach BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, Tabata Boot Camp, & serve as a mentor to young girls. My goal is to inspire people to live healthy, active, & prosperous lifestyles through practical blog posts deliveries. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. You can view more post and subscribe to stay tuned to latest updates at Rx Fitness Lady.

One thought on “Should Pharmacists Use the Title Doctor?

  1. While it’s true that anyone who has earned a doctorate is a doctor, it’s customary in this country to only use it for health professionals, especially those that touch the body. It’s interesting that, as far as I know, MDs in England go by Mr. because in that country, only PhDs are called doctors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge