Post-nominal letters matter in any profession. I’ve said it before, if we are a profession of professionals, then our post-nominal letters mean something. If we are just some kids kicking around a hobby before we grow up, then we aren’t professionals.
“I am no less a paramedic than you because I don’t have all those letters after my name.” I was told recently. You will never hear me describe myself as a better paramedic than anyone just because of letters. To insinuate something along those lines is only childish.
The bottom line regarding my post-nominal letters is this: I earned them.
I earned NREMT-P when I passed their entry requirements. I earned CCEMT-P after attending a class for three weeks, and passing a test of higher difficulty. I earned FP-C when I passed what was arguably the hardest test ever placed in front of me. I earned CCP-C when I passed a test that was a little bit more difficult than FP-C.
I am no better than any other paramedic out there because of my letters, cards, certificates, or patches. I call myself a “paramedic” and would never refer to myself as anything else.
Post-nominal letters matter, regardless of what others say.
You still think they don’t matter? Fair enough. Go tell that to the interventional cardiologist. Go tell that interventional cardiologist that he thinks he is better than the other cardiologist because he has “FACC” on his coat.
Go tell that to the medical director at the large trauma hospital. Go tell him that he is being pretentious because he puts “FACEP” on his coat. Tell him he must think he is better because his coat says “MD, PhD.”
Let’s go talk to that ICU nurse taking care of the patient on the ventilator and 5 vasopressor drips. Tell her that she isn’t better than the nurse on the orthopedic floor, and that her “CCRN” doesn’t mean anything special.
Maybe we could hang hang around this ICU room for a little while, and when Respiratory Therapy walks in to monitor ventilator settings, and to check on their patient, you could look at her scrubs, turn up your nose, and say “Oh, you must think you are better than me, because you have ‘RRT’ behind your name. What a jerk. I can intubate too.”
While we are on the way out of this hospital, let’s not forget to stop by the ER, where we can find the nurse with “CEN” behind his name. Don’t forget to tell him that he is a jerk because he doesn’t just use “RN.” Only a jerk would use “CEN.”
As I said before, medicine is a profession, made up of professionals. If post-nominal letters don’t mean anything to us, then why should they mean anything to physicians, nurses, or other ancillary providers?