Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

The Power of “M.D.”

MD InitialsBy Dr. ClinkShrink

I took my car in to the shop last week to visit his Car Momma. I’ve been going to this garage for years and I know most of the mechanics. I’ve run into Car Momma at the hair salon with her head wrapped in a towel. I’ve heard about her son, his school activities and her home renovation projects. She’s heard about my vacations and seen my climbing pictures. I’ve always been on a first name basis with the people I know there.

This time, I had to leave the car and get a rental. I left a voice message with the rental desk and when the rental guy called me back at work I answered the phone with my usual “Dr. ClinkShrink.” Now, my garage knows what I do for a living, and it’s just never been an issue or really even a topic of conversation once the novelty wore off.

The difference this time was that the guy worked on my car was new to the shop. When I arrived at my scheduled time the next morning, he was standing in front of the shop, clipboard in hand, waiting for me. “Dr. ClinkShrink?” he asked and he shook my hand. He had all the paperwork waiting to go, my rental was lined up and waiting, and every reference to me was preceded by “Dr.” I gotta tell ya, it felt weird. Eventually he asked me if I was a medical doctor, explaining that he asked because “there are a lot of people who go by ‘doctor’ who aren’t actually an M.D.”

My first thought was: “blog material.”

I never go by my title or my initials when I’m off duty. When I first graduated from medical school a got several letters (hand-written, pre-email) from my mother addressed to “Dr. ClinkShrink” or “ClinkShrink, M.D.,” but that was about it. I think people who flash their initials around are a bit obnoxious. This was just the first occasion that I really was struck by what initials can do. (And no, I don’t plan to make a habit of flashing the “M.D.” It just felt too weird.)

And for the record, I did make a point of telling the rental guy that “Ph.D.” is an earned degree, too.

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »