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A physician is a person who practices medicine. See that article for more information on what physicians do in their practices; this article focuses on physician training and regulation.
In the United States, the term physician is traditional and commonly used. In Britain & Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, the term doctor is more common, as physician refers to specialists in internal medicine.
Because of the extensive training requirements, physicians are traditionally considered to be members of a learned profession.
Education and training
- Main article: Medical school
Medical education, training and career pathways vary considerably across the world.
In all developed countries, entry-level medical education programs are tertiary-level courses undertaken at a medical school pertaining to a university. Depending on jurisdiction and university, these may be either undergraduate-entry or graduate-entry programs.
Following completion of entry-level training, newly graduated doctors are often required to undertake a period of supervised practice before full registration is granted; this may be referred to as "internship" or "conditional registration".
Further training in a particular field of medicine may be undertaken. In some jurisdictions this is commenced immediately following completion of entry-level training, whilst other jurisdictions require junior doctors to undertake generalist (unstreamed) training for a number of years before commencing specialization.
Various teaching methodologies have been utilized in medical education, which is an active area of educational research.
In most jurisdictions, physicians need government permission to practice. This is known as licensing in the United States, as colegiation in Spain, as ishi menkyo in Japan, as autorisasjon in Norway, as approbation in Germany, as "άδεια εργασίας" in Greece and as registration in Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In France, civilian physicians must be a member of the Order of physicians to practice medicine. In some countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, the profession regulates itself, with the government affirming the regulating body's authority (in the UK the General Medical Council).
Regulating authorities will revoke permission to practice in cases of malpractice or serious misconduct.
Graduates of Foreign Medical Schools, who enter USA have to pass USMLE step 1 and 2 ECFMG and do a residency program to qualify for a state license. After graduating from medical school, American physicians usually take a standardized exam which enables them to obtain a certificate to practice from the appropriate state agency. All American states have an agency which is usually called the "Medical Board," although there are alternate names such as "Board of Medicine," "Board of Medical Examiners," "Board of Medical Licensure," "Board of Healing Arts," etc. Australian states usually have a "Medical Board," while Canadian provinces usually have a "College of Physicians and Surgeons."
In the United States, as a result of the war on drugs, pharmaceuticals are strictly regulated at the federal level by the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration. All practicing American physicians who intend to prescribe controlled substances must obtain a number from the DEA, and that DEA number must appear on all their prescriptions. Use of the DEA number enables dispensing pharmacists or the DEA to ensure that a physician is not dispensing potentially addictive or harmful drugs, such as opiates or stimulants, in contravention to accepted standards of care.
- Tips for Talking to Your Doctor
- Dillard, David Medical Writers of Literature and Literary Writers with Medical Issues Found in Medical Sources and Beyond. Net Gold discussion group. Yahoo. URL accessed on 2006-05-08.
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