Why Are Surgeons Called Mister And Not Doctor

Surgeons are the individuals who perform surgeries. Nowadays, surgeons are becoming very popular because field of podiatry, dentistry, orthodontics also includes surgeons. You might be surprised on knowing that Surgeons are called a mister and not a doctor in many parts of the world such as United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland etc. In 1800, for the first time, surgeons were called Mister. For female surgeons term MISS or MRs is used. Mister or miss is basically derived from a Latin word magister which means a teacher. Though it is not very clear that why surgeons are called mister but some obvious and reasons regarding why surgeons are called mister or miss is discussed in details below:

Nineteenth century surgical training system

Till mid nineteenth century, one did not need to go to an educational institute to gain surgical specialties education. Instead, they accompanied a surgeon or groups of surgeons. Then after some years, an exam was conducted under the supervision of highly trained surgeons or college of surgeons. The individual who passed the exam was called Mister because of the diploma achieved, if a degree instead of diploma was achieved by the successful individuals then they will be called as Doctors. So we can say that the trend of calling diploma holder surgeons of nineteenth century mister instead of doctor has not gone with nineteenth century. Though, today all surgeons obtain their degrees from well-known educational institutes but still they are called mister, miss, or Mrs. in Australian, UK, Irish and other regions of the world. In fact, this is the main reason behind calling Surgeons misters.  


All surgeons must first qualify as doctors, so they will have a basic knowledge about medicines and surgery. After getting qualified as doctor and getting the title of Doctor, the one’s willing to be a surgeon then go onto take further training in surgical specialties. After receiving the training, one then becomes a surgeon and is called by the name of Mister or Miss. Some surgeons just like the famous surgeon David Slattery can then obtain further diplomas to specialize in certain areas like orthopaedics, adolescent, knee surgery etc. It is optional to obtain further diplomas but getting these will help you as a surgeon to gain enough information, familiarity, and expertise. So, we can conclude that taking further training in surgical specialties makes you Mister.

Barber Surgeons

Another important reason regarding why surgeons are called mister is because of the term Barber surgeons. Barber surgeons are the individuals who were given the responsibility of taking care of the injured soldiers during battles.  These barber surgeons can perform activities such as pulling out a tooth, cupping therapy, blood testing, and can stitch and bandage the wounds.

In past, these barber surgeons were also used as assistants to the main surgeons and were called Misters. As the time passes, the term Mister for Surgeons became so popular that the leading and highly qualified surgeons were also called Mister.