You may notice that your doctor is either a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). Both MDs and DOs generally have the same educational background. Both are required to complete an undergraduate degree -- usually with an emphasis on science -- followed by four years of medical school, and then a residency program. The length of this residency program varies by the physician's specialty. Some specialists may go on through additional training by completing a fellowship in their specialty. All physicians must then pass state licensure requirements and examinations.
Certified Nurse Practitioner
A certified nurse practitioner (CNP) is an "advanced practice" Registered Nurse prepared in a clinical specialty who works in collaboration with a licensed physician. The CNP has a specific agreement with a physician defining both the type of care the CNP can provide as well as requirements for consultation and referrals. Based on specific training, a CNP may perform a variety of patient care procedures specifically authorized by the physician. In addition to having a master’s degree in nursing and being licensed as a Registered Nurse, each CNP is certified and holds a "Certificate of Authority" granted by the Ohio Board of Nursing.
A CNP is qualified to provide a wide variety of health services including general history and physical examinations, gynecological examinations, monitoring of a patient's health status and provision of treatment for select illnesses. Nurse practitioners also emphasize the importance of health and wellness and are able to provide patients and their families with information and motivation to lead healthier lives. The CNP functions as part of a medical team so your insurance reimbursement and co-pay responsibilities are the same when you see a CNP as when you see a physician.
For help in finding a CNP or an OSU physician, contact our physician referral service at (614) 293-5123 or 1-800-293-5123.
Residents and Fellows
You may receive care from an intern, a resident or a fellow (collectively called "housestaff") while you are a patient at one of the Medical Center's inpatient or outpatient locations. Each member of the OSU housestaff has completed medical school (4 years) and is enrolled in an OSU graduate medical education training program. The Medical Center has over 60 separate training programs that vary in length from one year to six years based on the specialty. Each member of the housestaff has either a training certificate or an active medical license from the Ohio State Medical Board. OSU faculty physicians (also called "attending physicians") are responsible for and supervise all care that is provided by the housestaff. The OSU Medical Center strives to help each trainee develop the clinical skills, medical knowledge, and caring attitude necessary to become an outstanding physician or researcher.
Physician Assistants (PA)
A physician assistant works under the direct supervision of your physician or surgeon. They are trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive healthcare services, as delegated by a physician. Physician assistants can perform medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and X-rays, and make diagnoses. They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting and casting. PAs record progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and order or carry out therapy. Physician assistants may aid the surgeon with your care in the hospital, including surgery, as well as follow-up appointments.