BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuTypes of health care providersPhysicians; Nurses; Health care providers; Doctors; PharmacistsThis article describes health care providers involved in primary care, nursing care, and specialty care. Information PRIMARY CAREA primary care provider (PCP) is a person you may see first for checkups and health problems. PCPs can help manage your overall health. If you have a health care plan, find out what type of practitioner can serve as your PCP.The term "generalist" often refers to medical doctors (MDs) and doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) who specialize in internal medicine, family practice, or pediatrics. Medical doctorsMDs may be found within a wide range of practice settings, including private practices, group practices, hospitals, health maintenance organizations,...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Doctors of osteopathic medicineA doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) is a physician licensed to practice medicine, perform surgery, and prescribe medicine.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Obstetrician/Gynecologists (OB/GYNs) are doctors who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, including women's health care, wellness, and prenatal care. Many women use an OB/GYN as their primary care provider. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are nurses with graduate training. They can serve as a primary care provider in family medicine (FNP), pediatrics (PNP), adult care (ANP), or geriatrics (GNP). Others are trained to address women's health care (common concerns and routine screenings) and family planning. NPs can prescribe medicines. Nurse practitionersA nurse practitioner (NP) is a nurse with a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing. This type of provider may also be referred to as an ARNP (...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article A physician assistant (PA) can provide a wide range of services in collaboration with a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Physician assistantHISTORY OF THE PROFESSIONThe first Physician Assistant (PA) training program was founded in 1965 at Duke University by Dr. Eugene Stead. Programs re...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article NURSING CARELicensed practical nurses (LPNs) are state-licensed caregivers who have been trained to care for the sick. Registered nurses (RNs) have graduated from a nursing program, have passed a state board examination, and are licensed by the state. Advanced practice nurses have education and experience beyond the basic training and licensing required of all RNs.Advanced practice nurses include nurse practitioners (NPs) and the following:Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) have training in a field such as cardiac, psychiatric, or community health. Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) have training in women's health care needs, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, and the care of a woman who has given birth. Certified nurse midwivesHISTORY OF THE PROFESSIONNurse-midwifery dates back to 1925 in the United States. The first program used public health registered nurses who had bee...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) have training in the field of anesthesia. Anesthesia is the process of putting a person into a painless sleep, and keeping the person's body working so surgeries or special tests can be done. DRUG THERAPYLicensed pharmacists have graduate training from a college of pharmacy.Your pharmacist prepares and processes drug prescriptions that were written by your primary or specialty care provider. Pharmacists provide information to people about medicines. They also consult with providers about dosages, interactions, and side effects of medicines.Your pharmacist may also follow your progress to check that you are using your medicine safely and effectively.Pharmacists also can evaluate your health and prescribe medicines.SPECIALTY CAREYour primary care provider may refer you to professionals in various specialties when necessary, such as:Allergy and asthma Anesthesiology -- general anesthesia or spinal block for surgeries and some forms of pain control Cardiology -- heart disorders Dermatology -- skin disorders Endocrinology -- hormonal and metabolic disorders, including diabetes DiabetesDiabetes is a long-term (chronic) disease in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Gastroenterology -- digestive system disorders General surgery -- common surgeries involving any part of the body Hematology -- blood disorders Immunology -- disorders of the immune system Infectious disease -- infections affecting the tissues of any part of the body Nephrology -- kidney disorders Neurology -- nervous system disorders Obstetrics/gynecology -- pregnancy and women's reproductive disorders Oncology -- cancer treatment CancerCancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Ophthalmology -- eye disorders and surgery Orthopedics -- bone and connective tissue disorders Otorhinolaryngology -- ear, nose, and throat (ENT) disorders Physical therapy and rehabilitative medicine -- for disorders such as low back injury, spinal cord injuries, and stroke StrokeA stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack. " If blood flow is cut off for longer th...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Psychiatry -- emotional or mental disorders Pulmonary (lung) -- respiratory tract disorders Radiology -- x-rays and related procedures (such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI) x-raysX-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light. An x-ray machine sends individual x-ray particles through the body. The im...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article UltrasoundUltrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of organs and structures inside the body.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article CTA computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create pictures of cross-sections of the body. Related tests include:Abdomin...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article MRIA magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the body. It does not us...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Rheumatology -- pain and other symptoms related to joints and other parts of the musculoskeletal system Urology -- disorders of the male reproductive system and urinary tract and the female urinary tractNurse practitioners and physician assistants may also provide care in association with most types of specialists.Open ReferencesReferencesAssociation of American Medical Colleges website. Careers in medicine. www.aamc.org/cim/specialty/exploreoptions/list/. Accessed October 21, 2020.American Academy of PAs website. What is a PA? www.aapa.org/what-is-a-pa/. Accessed October 21, 2020.American Association of Nurse Practitioners website. What's a nurse practitioner (NP)? www.aanp.org/about/all-about-nps/whats-a-nurse-practitioner. Accessed October 21, 2020.American Pharmacists Association website. About APhA. www.pharmacist.com/who-we-are. Accessed April 15, 2021.AllVideoImagesTogTypes of health care providers - illustration Health care providers range from generalists to providers who specialize in certain areas of the body or disease. Any category of medicine or care such as cancer or anesthesia can have a specialist. Nurses also can specialize in certain areas of medical care.Types of health care providersillustrationTypes of health care providers - illustration Health care providers range from generalists to providers who specialize in certain areas of the body or disease. Any category of medicine or care such as cancer or anesthesia can have a specialist. Nurses also can specialize in certain areas of medical care.Types of health care providersillustrationA Closer Look An introduction to CAM (Alt. Medicine)Viral hepatitis(Alt. Medicine)Diabetes(Alt. Medicine)Epilepsy(In-Depth)Heart-healthy diet(In-Depth)Food poisoning(Alt. Medicine)Travel to developing countries(In-Depth)Bone cancer(Alt. Medicine)Pneumonia(In-Depth)Diabetes - type 2(In-Depth)Self Care Home health care How to choose a nursing homeAtopic dermatitis - self-careCholesterol testing and results Tests for Types of health care providers Blood typingPap testColonoscopyRelated Information Review Date: 8/13/2020 Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 04/15/2021. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.