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What Is the Difference between a Doctor and a Physician? Reading a lot of texts and articles or even hearing people trying to refer to a medical professional who treated them I couldn’t help but notice the words physician and doctor used. Do these two mean the same thing, or we have been using one to mean the other which shouldn’t be the case? The term physician, by itself comes from the word physical meaning a physician bases his profession more on the physical you. Through the examination he can even determine the urgency of follow-up checkups and appointments. Generally, a physician does a physical examination on the patient for diagnosis to have a better understanding of the treatment needed. Now looking at this from the doctor’s perspective it is no more different than what a doctors, and so the two terms can easily be used interchangeably without much of an effect. To have a clear understanding of the two terms we have to look at each one of the separately and compare their training requirements and job description among other things.
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Difference in in terms of medical training
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To become a doctor, one needs about 4 years studying for an undergraduate degree from a medical school and another 2 years for a medical degree/MD. To get a license to practice medicine and surgery, one will need an additional 3 to 7 years of residency training. Now this is a relatively shorter time when you compare it with that of a doctor. The training of a doctor involves about 4-year undergraduate study from a medical school and other 2 years for doctor of medicine (MD). Residency training needs between 3-7 years and an extra 1-3 years fellowship for those who want to be highly specialized in a particular field. Comparing the two, it takes a physician a shorter training time that it would a doctor. Treatment methodology How the physician and doctor treats their sick patient is also sometimes different. A doctor can perform surgery and other comprehensive medical procedures on patients. On the other hand a physician uses more of drugs and medicines to make patients feel well. There is no clear difference between a doctor and a physician. In different parts of the world, one will be used in place of the other depending on a number of factors. For instance, in the U.K they use doctor and only use physician in historical and formal contexts. “Physician” was used early in the 13th century while “doctor” came about in the 14th century. One thing should be clear though, all physicians are doctors but the vice-versa it is not necessarily true.