Physician and Surgeon
By: Michelle Orellana
What does a Physician and Surgeons do?
Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. Physicians examine patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They often counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive health care. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.
There are two types of physicians: M.D. (Medical Doctor) and D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Both types of physicians use the same methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, but D.O.s place additional emphasis on the body's musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic (whole person) patient care.
General pediatricians provide care for infants, children, teenagers, and young adults. They specialize in diagnosing and treating problems specific to younger people. Most pediatricians treat day-to-day illnesses, minor injuries, and infectious diseases and administer vaccinations. Some pediatricians specialize in pediatric surgery or serious medical conditions that commonly affect younger patients, such as autoimmune disorders or serious chronic ailments
Physicians and surgeons held about 691,000 jobs in 2010. Many physicians work in private offices or clinics, often helped by a small staff of nurses and administrative personnel.
Increasingly, physicians work in group practices, health care organizations, or hospitals where they share a large number of patients with other doctors. The group setting gives doctors backup coverage, allows them more time off, and lets them coordinate care for their patients, but it gives them less independence than solo practitioners have.
Surgeons and anesthesiologists usually work in sterile environments while performing surgery and may stand for long periods.
Family practice (without obstetrics) 189,402
How to become one?
Most applicants to medical school have at least a bachelor's degree, and many have advanced degrees. While a specific major is not required, all students must complete undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English. Students also take courses in the humanities and social sciences. Some students volunteer at local hospitals or clinics to gain experience in a healthcare setting.
Students spend most of the first 2 years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics, and the laws governing medicine. They also gain practical skills, learning to take medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses.
After medical school, almost all graduates enter a residency program in the specialty they are interested in. A residency usually takes place in a hospital and varies in duration, usually lasting from 3 to 8 years, depending on the specialty.
All states require physicians and surgeons to be licensed; requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school, complete residency training in their specialty, and pass written and practical exams.
All physicians and surgeons must pass a standardized national licensure examination.