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What does it mean when a doctor has M.D. after their name?

By September 17, 2014 - 11:52am
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Some doctors' names have M.D. after it and some don't. What exactly does it mean to have M.D. after a doctor's name? Should I only see a doctor if they are an M.D.?

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Hi Kelly!

That is a great question! Thank you for sharing with the EmpowHER community! 

To answer your first question, these initials refer to the doctor's credentials – they indicate the type of medical school the doctor attended and the licensing exam they took to become a doctor. MD stands for "Medical Doctor," and is the most common type of degree earned by doctors who practice medicine in the United States.

Doctors can also have D.O. after their name. D.O. stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, the degree awarded to graduates of osteopathic medical schools. In the United States, physicians can have either the M.D. or D.O. degree. Both physicians have identical practice rights, and have nearly identical training except for additional training in the musculoskeletal system for graduates of osteopathic medicine schools.

Kelly, depending on the care you need, I would choose a doctor that is in good standing with state licensing agencies. Also, some busy practices will offer for you to see their NP (Nurse Practitioner) in lieu of the doctor who will oversee your file. 

Choosing a doctor is a very important decision and one that should not be taken lightly. I would research the doctor, check their standing and also look at their online reviews from current patients about their "bedside manner."

I found a great article on WebMD on ways to narrow down choosing a doctor. I think you will find it helpful as well as interesting. There is also a link to the site to check the doctor's standing on there as well, which I definitely suggest.


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September 17, 2014 - 12:35pm
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