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Difference Between a Physician and a Doctor – Detailed Explanation

One of the most common statements that you may hear when you are unwell is, consult a doctor if the symptoms keep persisting. When discomfort gets out of hand and the symptoms dont seem to leave your body, then the patients finally decide to consult a health expert. But, here is a catch. Not many of us know the difference between the different types of health experts. Often, we see ads where we can consult these experts on the phone or conveniently ask a doctor online about our problems. But sometimes, we may need a physical examination and that is when we are in a fix- whether to visit a family physician or consult a doctor. Lets discuss what differentiates the two very similar sounding terms.

Has the above-mentioned scenario occurred for you? When you ended up browsing your symptoms and kept believing that maybe you are down with a chronic disease. When you want to check things online, then it is always better to ask a doctor online instead of coming down with depression over the probable disease that you may have. You need an expert to confirm the presence of a disease and in such a case, you may need to visit the physician or the doctor. The following section will help you decide which is a better choice.

Physician vs Doctor

Most medical books suggest that a physician may simply have the responsibility to give the patient proper care after a thorough consultation is made confirming the required diagnosis. These are mainly based on physical examinations and even the visits by patients. These physicians often also share remedies which do not have to consist of heavy antibiotics and medication making the treatment much easier. Most people prefer to consult the physician before going to a full-fledged doctor if the symptoms are not very serious. However, a physician may ask you to consult a doctor. Both, however, are certified medical practitioners. In this day and age, you will find both at the click of your mouse. If your symptoms do not require any physical checking, then you can always ask a doctor online saving you a lot of hassle.   

Most physicians are also certified to make a decision about how much you need to opt for a follow up checkup or how many appointments are required to treat you properly. They can also prescribe treatments involving normal medication in case it is required. A physician basically is your first step towards confirming whether you really need a specialist or not. After observing the symptoms as well as diagnosing for multiple seatings, if the physician feels that it is more than a simple day to day infection, then he may ask you to consult a medical practitioner more suited to the job and for treatment of those particular symptoms. When you ask a doctor online, he will also be able to help you out with the best course of treatment to take in the coming course. But, if you feel that visiting a doctor is better, then start with a physician. The costs are lesser too and in most cases, you dont even need an expert medical practitioner to treat you. So, basically when it comes to convenience and ease, a physician is more preferred by patients and a doctor comes much lesser in picture.

Additionally, a physician is more specialized to treat overall symptoms. We can totally understand that when you analyze the responsibilities and duties of a physician, you may feel that they are the same as doctors. However, the two terms are very different. You need to first start understanding by the simple fact that while all physicians qualify as doctors, not all the doctors can be qualified as physicians. Following are some more differences in how a physician and how a doctor gains their expertise:  

Educational qualification

In general to become a physician in India, one needs to complete the undergraduate degree or hold a MD postgraduate degree. In order to apply for MBBS in India, the aspirant needs to hold 10+2 in Science and then sit for the entrance examinations to different colleges. When it comes to becoming a doctorate of medicine, an aspirant needs to hold the MBBS degree from any recognized institution in the country. For the physicians course, the students are given an in-depth holistic knowledge into the working of the human body which they can get even during the initial phase of MBBS. But, to specialize as a doctor, the course of treatment needs to be taken differently.  

While a doctor can choose to get into different and specific fields of the medicine world. They can either choose to pick specializations during their course or go for additional degrees in order to get the specialization certificate. Experts such as oncologists, surgeons, dermatologists continue studying for many years before settling in their field of choice. Basically, in simple words, a doctor is not limited only to being of one type. He can choose any field that interests him and goes into that field to become an expert at it. While a physician does not exactly become an expert hence the educational qualification for the two also differs. The years of studying required for both may be very different. Additionally, you can always ask a doctor online about their medical expertise before you decide to consult them.

 

Career prospects differentiation

When it comes to the career prospects that these medical experts hold, there is a definite differentiation there too. As we have established, that a doctor can be anything when he specializes. Right from a physician to an oncologist to a dentist to an orthopedist while a physician is a doctor but he doesnt particularly specialize in any particular field of medicine. Hence, when it comes to simple symptoms and you visit to doctor , there are all the chances that he may be a physician who is certified to solve your problems. A physician is a subcategory of a doctor and is one of the most common types of medical practitioner found in our country.  

Certified physicians can potentially make their career in government dispensaries or even work in private hospitals in both urban and rural areas. Most physicians also open their private practices as a lot of people do not require expertise in the first go. It is only after consulting a physician that they realize they may need a medical expert to look into their problem and treat it further. Additionally, physicians can also choose to pursue a course in general medicine and become family doctors. Doctors, on the other hand, need to have a strong background in their particular field. The internships and residency process can go up to a year or two and is mandatory before they are certified to start their own practice or get a place in any hospital. However, most of the experts such as oncologists and orthopedics have their own clinics and have collaborations with all the big medical institutions where they go for consultations.

Methods of treating patients  

This is definitely the main concern that you need addressed when looking for the difference between a physician and a doctor. The main way for physicians to treat their patients is by using medications, drugs, diets, lifestyle remedies. They ensure that basic infections such as fever, cough, jaundice, cholera, dengue, etc are treated without the intervention of a medical expert. However, in some cases, the physician may ask you to consult a medical expert if the medications and drugs do not show any effect on the patient.  

A doctor, on the other hand, depending upon the field they specialize in, may also prescribe additional forms of treatment. For instance, while drugs and medications prescribed by a doctor may help you to become better too, but you may require surgery or medical procedures that are much more comprehensive. A physician basically in an expert in the department of medicine and has studied general medicine very carefully while a doctor may be a specialist who has pursued a course from a certified medical school involving proper techniques and proper understanding of his specialization.

In a nutshell

Lets take a recap to all the important pointers when it comes to understanding the difference between a physician and a doctor. Now, while both of these terms may sound synonymous, one needs to know that all physicians are doctors but not all doctors are physicians. A physician goes through a medical school and a general study of medicine but specialist doctors take a little more time to gain the expertise of their fields. Lastly, a physicians treatment method drastically differs from a doctor. Both of them, however, are certified medical practitioners. You can visit a physician before consulting an expert if you do not have very serious symptoms. In case of extreme symptoms, you may anyway need hospitalization where the concerned medical expert will take care of you. But, for simple check-ups, a physician is always preferred. So, take a call sensibly and visit the right medical expert for the right treatment.

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