Physicians diagnose illnesses and prescribe and administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease. They examine patients, obtain medical histories, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare.

There are two types of physicians: The Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). M.D.’s also are known as allopathic physicians. While both M.D.’s and D.O.’s may use all accepted methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, D.O.’s place special emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic patient care. Primary care physicians practice general and family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics and usually are the first health professionals patients consult. Currently there is a shortage of M.D.‘s doing primary care, whereas, D.O.‘s focus more on general medicine.  Common specialties for D.O.’s include emergency medicine, anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery.

This health profession description is from the U.S. Department of Labor occupational outlook handbook