The field of medicine is a big ground full of professionals who, to the outsider, may seem like they’re performing the same duties as their colleagues. As a patient, you may mistake some doctors for other doctors of this or that specialization because of some similarities in what they practice.
But what’s important is that you do your research to make it clear to yourself. You need to know the differences between various medical professions to have your medical concerns addressed properly. Worry not, for doctors and physicians are used to referring other professionals from other fields of medicine that will better serve your needs.
To give you the real insight on the most confusing professions in the medical field, here’s a list that can hopefully clear things up for you:
Psychiatrists and psychologists
Psychiatrists differ from psychologists in terms of the educational requirements required in being a psychiatrist. To become one, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree, a medical school degree, and enter into a residency program specializing in psychiatry.
On the other side, to be a psychologist, you’re required to obtain a doctoral degree in psychology. Psychology has a curriculum containing normal and abnormal functioning and focusing on the relationship between the brain’s functioning and behavior and the relationship between the environment and behavior.
In terms of where they work, psychiatrists can mostly be seen in hospital settings, partial hospitals, day programs, and community residential programs. Their patients are typically outpatients. Meanwhile, psychologists work alongside other professionals inside and outside the field of medicine. Psychologists can be found working in hospitals, courtrooms, laboratories, schools, community health centers, corporate offices, and prisons.
Dentists and orthodontists
In terms of their primary goal being the oral wellness of their patients, dentistry and orthodontics collide. But in how they address oral concerns, they differ. While dentistry is broad and deals with the teeth, gums, nerves, and jaw, orthodontics is concerned and specialized in correcting bites, occlusion, and teeth straightening.
A distinctive difference is this: orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed orthodontists. As they focus on the same area of health care, they can work in the same dental office and provide care alongside each other.
Another point of distinction is their education. To be an orthodontist, a dentist has to undergo additional schooling with orthodontics as a specialty.
Athletic trainers and personal trainers
The main difference between athletic trainers and personal trainers is that the former must obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited institution. Personal trainers, on the other hand, require certifications to legalize their profession.
The duty of an athletic trainer is to give patients the care they need while practicing in a changing medical environment. An athletic trainer’s focus is the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of emerging, acute, or chronic injuries and medical conditions.
Fitness trainers can be found in different environments. They can work in gyms, homes, manage groups and individuals, and hold fitness sessions.
On being informed
When you have a medical ailment that needs immediate action, it can be a big problem if you don’t know which medical professional to run to. That’s why it’s important to have a constant general physician who knows about your medical history. They will be the first ones you’ll consult, and they can redirect you to the right medical professionals that can address your concerns.
When it comes to matters as important as your health, one of your best bets is keeping yourself informed with the right information. If you’re confused, ask your general physician so that you’ll know what to do in case a situation arises.