You may be wondering, “what do all these confusing doctor titles mean, and what’s the difference between them?” We have a comprehensive break-down of what role each doctor plays, and how that can benefit you as a patient. View each box below to learn more!
An internist is a doctor of internal medicine.
They’re doctors who specialize in the internal organs and systems of the body, but they are not limited to those areas. They can also give preventive care and treat anything from skin rashes to ear infections. They only treat adults and they aren’t surgeons.
When choosing a primary care physician (PCP), you may opt for an internist or a family physician. Both can treat a wide spectrum of conditions. Internists have a great depth of knowledge about adult health issues. Family physicians treat children as well as adults, so they must have a broader base of knowledge.
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Geriatricians are primary care doctors who have additional training in treating older adults, especially those 65 and up. People in that age range often have multiple or complex health matters and need specialized care. Geriatric doctors have the training and experience needed to address these issues.
Geriatricians can be a primary care doctor, a consultant, or work as part of a team of doctors and caretakers for older adults. They have the same training as regular primary care doctors, with usually one to two years extra of specialized geriatric education and training.
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A doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) is a fully trained and licensed doctor who has attended and graduated from a U.S. osteopathic medical school. A doctor of medicine (M.D.) has attended and graduated from a conventional medical school.
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Job responsibilities vary by specialization but include managing patient care, prescribing medications, diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries, and ordering tests. NPs also offer patient education and counseling. Some NP specializations include family health, pediatric health, women’s health, and psychiatric/mental health. Nurse practitioners may work for hospitals, nursing homes, private practices, and clinics.
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PAs are medical providers, most with graduate-level educations. They are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease and to prescribe medication for patients.
PAs work in physician offices, hospitals, and clinics in collaboration with a licensed physician. Because of their advanced education in general medicine, modeled after physician education, PAs can treat patients with significant autonomy within the physician/PA relationship.
In the primary care setting, PAs can provide almost all the clinical services that physicians provide, including performing physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses and prescribing medications.
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We are family physicians serving south Riverside county with the highest quality of care. Rancho’s goal is to approach medicine differently by offering more cohesive care and education that extends beyond the four walls of the exam room. We do not just make suggestions and write prescriptions, we have taken steps to improve the health of our patients. Our family physicians have developed educational content that empowers their community to make healthy lifestyle changes. We also have free senior centers for our patients 65 and older that are full of exercise and nutrition classes as well as full online courses teaching a wide variety of health topics. We pride ourselves on going beyond the exam room to make our community healthier and happier.