A physician, also known as a medical doctor or just doctor, is a health care specialist who practices medicine, promotes health improvement, makes diagnoses, and cures diseases; physicians may be differentiated to primary care doctors (or general practitioners), dentists, surgeons, and specialists of various departments (“The Differences Between a Nurse and a Doctor” par. 2). In relation to the main concepts, two of them may be considered fundamental: patient-centeredness and physician-patient communication. The former pertains to the idea that patients’ needs are of primary importance: all health care professionals, including physicians, are expected to be sympathetic, respectful, and responsive to their patients. As for physician-patient communication, collaborative interaction is a must (Berger et al. 405). Patients’ health improvement depends on physicians’ experience and expertise, but whether patients follow recommendations is equally significant.
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The profession of a physician is ancient, although it is impossible to identify the exact date. As early as in 2700 B.C., physicians and dentists existed in Egypt. Homer (about 1000 B.C.) considered Egyptian doctors to be the best specialist, and Herodotus (the fifth century B.C.) highly appreciated their professionalism (Ackerknecht and Haushofer 14-15). Other ancient countries could also boast their doctors, for example, the earliest Chinese physician Bian Que, Charaka, one of the contributors to Ayurveda development, and a famous Greek physician Hippocrates (Ackerknecht and Haushofer 28, 46). Thus, this profession was widespread in the ancient world.
In the present stage of development, the responsibilities and roles of doctors are numerous. They concentrate on performing a history and physical to determine a differential diagnosis for a patient: the most probable diagnosis is identified (“Physician Role” par. 1). Then, in accordance with the data received, management and individual treatment plans are formulated. Physicians’ duties are also to arrange sustainable care and administer complexity and risks if the medical case is uncertain. Apart from the role of care provider, physicians are team members who cooperate with medical staff: for instance, they may give referrals to other specialists. Further, doctors act as educators: they explain to patients and their families what must be done to combat the current disease and how they should behave in order to reduce exposure to diseases in the future. Finally, physicians are advocates for patients and families because they help them navigate through a complex medical system and receive the most patient-centered care in a cost-effective manner (“Physician Role” par. 8). These facts illustrate that the roles and responsibilities of physicians are diverse.
While both physicians and nurses are significant to medical history, the differences between them are substantial. First of all, doctors are limited to their specialized field, and nurses may work across several wards (“The Differences Between a Nurse and a Doctor” par. 4). Then, doctors bear more responsibility and carry out the decision-making process to a larger extent, while nurses are more oriented to practical tasks and handling patients. As a rule, doctors prescribe treatment, but advanced practiced registered nurses are allowed to make prescriptions (“The Differences Between a Nurse and a Doctor” par. 2).
In conclusion, physicians are one of the most important health care specialists. Dated back to ancient times, this profession has acquired new characteristics. The doctors’ roles and responsibilities are varied and refer to medical care, teamwork, education, advocacy, and guidance. While nurses focus on practical issues and care delivery, physicians interpret patients’ conditions and make decisions.
Ackerknecht, Erwin H., and Lisa Haushofer. A Short History of Medicine. Baltimore: JHU Press, 2016. Print.
Berger, Charles R., Michael E. Roloff, and David R. Ewoldsen. The Handbook of Communication Science. Thousand Oaks: SAGE, 2011. Print.
“The Differences Between a Nurse and a Doctor.” Nursing Degree Guide, n.d. Web.
“Physician Role.” UT Interprofessional Education, n.d. Web.