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What is a Medical Doctor (M.D.) and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)?

Both D.O.s and M.D.s complete four years of medical education after receiving their undergraduate degrees, along with participating in internships or residency programs. To obtain a state license, D.O.s and M.D.s must pass similar examinations. Both types of doctors are fully qualified physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. These doctors can choose to practice in any specialty area of medicine, such as pediatrics, family practice, surgery or obstetrics. D.O.s and M.D.s both practice in fully accredited and licensed health care facilities.

At the Marquette University Medical Clinic, a patient would typically see a M.D. or a D.O. for a physical exam, to diagnose and treat illnesses, for preventive health care, for minor surgical procedures, or for a prescription.

For more information about these types of clinicians, visit the American Osteopathic Association website or visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

What is a Physician Assistant (P.A.)?

P.A.s are trained in accredited education programs designed to compliment physician training. Upon graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination. Graduation from an accredited P.A. program and passage of the certifying exam are required for a state license. P.A.s are trained to provide diagnostic and preventive healthcare services, as delegated by a physician. They take medical histories, diagnose and treat patients, order and interpret lab tests and x-rays, treat minor injuries by suturing or splinting/casting, and write prescriptions.

At the Marquette University Medical Clinic, a patient would typically see a P.A. for a physical exam, to diagnose and treat illnesses, to have tests ordered and interpreted, for counsel on preventive health care, for assistance in minor surgical procedures, and for prescriptions.

For more information about this type of clinician, visit the American Academy of Physician Assistants website or visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

What is a Certified Medical Assistant (C.M.A.)?

CMAs must graduate from an accredited medical assisting program and pass the C.M.A. certification examination. Clinical duties vary according to state law and include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treat­ment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination, and assisting the physician during the examination. Medical assistants instruct patients about medication and special diets, prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, tele­phone prescriptions to a pharmacy, prepare patients for X-rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings.

At the Marquette University Medical Clinic, a patient would typically see a C.M.A. to have vital signs recorded, to discuss the individual’s medical history, to receive travel clinic immunizations, and to prepare for examination by a physician.

For more information about this type of clinician, visit the American Association of Medical Assistants website.

What is a Registered Nurse (R.N.)?

To achieve the R.N. title, an individual must graduate from a state-approved school of nursing—a four-year university program (Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)), a two-year associate degree program, or a three-year diploma program. R.N.s must also pass a state licensing examination. R.N.s treat and educate patients and the public on a wide array of medical issues. They also record patients’ medical histories and symptoms, administer treatment and medication, and help to follow up with patients.

At the Marquette University Medical Clinic, a patient would typically see a R.N. for allergy shots, TB skin tests, immunizations, triage visits and to have prescriptions filled.

For more information about this type of clinician, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

What is a Medical Laboratory Technician (M.L.T.)?

M.L.T.s are required to have an associate degree or a certificate, but many often have a bachelor’s degree with a major in medical technology or life sciences. M.L.T.s examine and analyze bodily fluids and cells, and relay the results to physicians. They also prepare specimens and operate automated analyzers. In addition, M.L.T.s may collect specimens to be sent to an outside vendor for further analysis.

At the Marquette University Medical Clinic, a patient would typically see a M.L.T. to have blood drawn or specimens collected for lab tests and analysis.

For more information about this type of clinician, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

What is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.)?

Dietitians usually have bachelor’s degrees in dietetics, food and nutrition, food service management, or a related field. Many dietitians also have their master’s degrees. Depending on the state, dietitians are required to have a license, a statutory certification, or registration. R.D.s plan nutrition and weight management programs, promote healthy eating habits, and recommend dietary modifications. They often work closely with doctors to coordinate medical and nutritional needs. Patients see R.D.s for both medical conditions and general wellness consultation.

At the Marquette University Medical Clinic, a patient would typically see a R.D. for nutritional counseling, healthy eating plans or at the referral of a physician.

For more information about this type of clinician, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.


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What's in a name?

Quite a lot, actually. Find out what the M.D.s, D.O.s, P.A.s, C.M.A.s, R.N.s, M.L.T.s and R.D.s at Marquette's Medical Clinic do to help get you — and keep you — healthy. Here's a hint: It's more than just caring for your basic health needs. Find out more.