It appears to be a lifelong curse for me to have to deal with people who never seem to take the fact that I am a bona fide medical doctor seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard friends exclaim, “Oh wow, you’re like a DOCTOR doctor? I had no idea!”, as if my medical training and career are somehow not supposed to be taken seriously by those near and dear to me. I want to yell, “YES, I am a doctor! Why didn’t you believe me the first time I told you? Why do I have to somehow prove it to you?” What irks me is that I don’t see these people doubting the abilities of their friends who work in any other industry, be it certified public accounting, law enforcement, or any other respected profession. I honestly resent the insinuation that my credentials somehow don’t count because I don’t wear a white coat all the time (by the way, I can’t STAND wearing those polyester nightmares) or flaunt my professional title like a badge.
For those of you in the group which questions what my credentials are, I will be very clear. I completed four years of medical school which culminated in my medical diploma. After that, I completed my internship year (which was also my first year of family practice residency training) and became licensed as a physician. Two more years of residency training in family practice followed, then I sat for my specialty boards and became board-certified in family practice. I am not a nurse or a physician’s assistant (though those professions are highly respectable and draw some of the smartest and most compassionate people on the planet). Degreed. Licensed. Board-certified. Physician a.k.a. Medical Doctor. Yessir.
I may not be conservative or conventional, but I expect the same amount of respect as a physician who chooses to fit the mold and wear conservative attire and a white coat. My patients refer to me as Dr. Naito, not as Dr. Stacey or Stacey. I have worked VERY hard to become a physician, and I also recognize how hard my colleagues work as well. That is why when I am around other physicians, I err on the side of caution and refer to them as DOCTOR and not by their first names unless they specifically ask me to refer to them on a first name basis.