Doctorates are the final degrees in several health professions. There are doctoral degrees for physical therapy (DPT), physician assistants (DMS), social work (DSW) and occupational therapy (OTD), as well as nursing (DNP). By convention, all such practitioners call themselves “doctor.” These practitioners may be expert in their specific professions, but none of these are Doctors of Medicine (M.D./D.O.), the only doctors that are licensed to practice medicine and are called physicians. All members of the care team provide expertise and value, but when patients come for medical care, they need to know the education and training of the “Doctor” they meet.

With the increasing complexities of health care-related services, the public is confused about the differences between various types of health care providers across the breadth of medicine. Surveys from 2008 to 2018 by the American Medical Association...

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