These days, what the older folks know of doctors is very limited. As kids, we know them as those kindly old men with stethoscopes and black bags that come over to the house to check our fever. These days, most kids know that there are now several types of doctors who treat different kinds of illnesses other than fevers.
As of last count, there are more than a hundred different types of medical specialties and the number is growing for these specialists. These are actually regular doctors who went on to study a “narrower range of services, procedures, body systems or patients.”
With the ongoing progress in the medical sciences aided with the progress in technology as well, more and more specialized fields of human illnesses are uncovered. Because of the challenges, more and more doctors are likewise going into these new types of specializations.
Before being any of the many types of doctors around, all of them need to be a doctor first. Basically, a doctor is a licensed health practitioner with a medical degree. The license permits him to evaluate, diagnose, and treat medical conditions of a patient.
Aside from advice, a doctor has the license to operate on patients, prescribe the medicines needed, and makes the patient’s personal health evaluation plan. He may work on his own (private practice) or he might work under a professional health institution (hospitals or clinics).
Today, your primary care doctor is the first among the many types of doctors that you will see in the hospital. Trained in every major area of medicine, he is a doctor who has become a specialist of sorts – as a general practitioner.
He is the one who takes care of a patient’s (or a family’s) general health needs including minor illnesses, injuries, checkups, tests, and immunizations. Sometimes, he may also specialize in other specific fields and, whenever necessary, will refer a patient to a specialist of a particular illness.
Another important group among the many types of doctors is the immediate care physicians. They are the ones to go to in urgent (but non-emergency) medical needs – burns, sprains, cuts, sore throats and the like.
They are the doctors to see to when you cannot wait for a regular appointment, although your case may not be classified as emergency. Usually, these doctors are general practitioners or general doctors.
Doctors often choose specializations nearest their interests. These are the types of doctors that general practitioners refer their patients to for better health evaluation, diagnosis and treatment related to their patient’s ailments.
To date, there are many types of medical specializations (and the list is still growing). The more familiar ones are mostly associated with the organs or their related ailments: oncologists (cancer), cardiologists (heart), psychiatrists (mental health), pediatricians (child), dermatologists (skin) and many more.