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As Physician Shortage Looms, Recognize Your Doctor On March 30, National Doctors' Day
Date:3/27/2009

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"National Doctors' Day is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to recognize those individuals who dedicate their lives to taking care of us and our loved ones," said MSMS Alliance President Lakshmi Tummala of Flint. "We, the spouses of physicians, understand just how much time and energy is given by physicians to their patients and to their communities."

Many people do not know that the title "doctor" before a name does not necessarily mean that the person is a physician. Physicians are individuals who have earned a degree and fulfilled other requirements to practice medicine as an allopathic physician (M.D.) or an osteopathic physician (D.O.).

Because there are so many types of care currently offered by people who have had training that permits them to be called "doctor," it is important for patients to understand the qualifications of physicians, that is, M.D.s and D.O.s.

Becoming a physician takes at least 11 years of schooling and sometimes 13 years or more. To be a licensed M.D. or D.O., one must first graduate with a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college, then graduate from an accredited medical school, generally a four-year program. Then the physician-in-training serves three to seven years as a "resident physician" on a hospital staff where medical teaching programs are offered. At this point, the young physician studies one of many medical specialties from family practice to brain surgery.

A physician also must successfully complete a comprehensive examination for licensure by the state Board of Medical Examiners. Maintaining the ethical standards of the profession and continuing medical education throughout his or her career also are required.


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SOURCE Michigan State Medical Society
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