Physician

A Physician is an individual who has graduated from either an allopathic (Medical Doctor) or osteopathic (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) four year medical school program. In most cases, this four year medical school experience follows successful completion of an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree. Although there is some variation in study between different medical schools, the basic medical school education will involve two years of pre-clinical course work consisting of primarily basic science but also early patient experiences and two years of clinical study. Osteopathic medical school has the same basic courses as allopathic medical school with the addition of a course involving Osteopathic Principles and Practices (OPP). During this distinctively osteopathic course the students are taught the relationship between human structure and function and the hands on manipulative medicine techniques. After graduation from medical school, the physician begins postgraduate work as an intern (one year rotating internship) or resident physician. Almost all graduates of medical school in the United States complete a residency program. The amount of time spent in postgraduate training varies according to the specialty chosen. Residency requirements may be from a minimum of three years or up to six years in length. It is possible to complete a further specialty fellowship after residency if desired. A physician is responsible for: diagnosing disease, creating a treatment plan, and patient education. The physician works with the other members of the healthcare team to create the best possible outcomes for the patient, whether it is in health improvement or health maintenance. Physicians, because of their unique role on the healthcare team, have an obligation to understand all the roles of members of the healthcare team and include appropriate members in the care of the patient.