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Who's Who in Health Care

Wondering what all of those two to three letter abbreviations after a doctor's name mean? Here's a quick glossary to help you out.

M.D. : A physician who is licensed to practice medicine and who has obtained a Doctor of Medicine degree. They have been trained to treat diseases and illnesses with medications, surgery, diet, exercise and other means.

D.O. : A physician who is licensed to practice medicine and who has obtained a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. They have been trained to treat diseases and conditions with medications, surgery and other holistic techniques that emphasize the body’s ability to heal.

D.P.M. : A podiatrist who is licensed to practice medicine limited to the foot and ankle and has obtained a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree. They have been trained to help prevent, diagnose and treat diseases, injuries or defects of the foot and ankle with medications, surgery, orthotics and other means.

N.P. : A Registered Nurse who has advanced education and clinical training in a health care specialty area. Nurse Practitioners provide individualized care with patients of all ages, providing regular health care, education and information to achieve and promote wellness. They collaborate as needed with physicians and other health professionals. Often a Nurse Practitioner is referred to as a "Physician Extender."

P.A. : A medical provider with an advance degree with national certification who has received academic and clinical training. Working under physician supervision, Physician Assistants perform physical examinations, diagnose medical problems, order laboratory tests and prescribe medications. Often a Physician Assistant is referred to as a "Physician Extender."

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