DOCTOR DEFINITION: Medical doctors (MDs), physicians, medical practitioner, or simply doctors, are professionals who treat people for injuries and illnesses (physical and mental impairments), prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, order diagnostic tests, record patient information (surveillance of cases), and promote of healthy behaviors. 

They are health practitioners who work in medical centers, hospitals, clinics, or private practices. 


Anyone who has finished doctorate (has been awarded a doctor's degree) is considered a doctor and can prefix Dr. to his/her name. Including dentists, physiotherapists, veterinarians, psychologist and others.

This includes lawyers who earn an M.D. and graduate school students in any number of academic disciplines who earn a Ph. D., most law school students also receive a doctoral degree–juris doctor.

The title of “Doctor” is not a protected title, so a person doesn't have to be a medical practitioner to use it.


  • MD - Doctor of Medicine
  • GP - General Practitioner
  • MS - Master of Surgery
  • GYN - Gynecologist
  • OB/GYN - Obstetrician and Gynecologist
  • ENT - Ear, nose and throat specialist
  • AuD - Doctor of Audiology
  • DPM - Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
  • DO or OD - Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • DMD - Doctor of Dental Medicine, Doctor of Medical Dentistry
  • DDS - Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Dental Science
  • DVM - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
  • PharmD - Doctor of Pharmacy
  • DPT - Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • DScPT - Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy
  • DSN - Doctor of Science in Nursing
  • DC - Doctor of Chiropractic

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