1. Doctors (MD) or (DO)-There are tons a different doctors in a number of different specialties. (e.g. cardiology, hematology, surgery, anesthesiology, dermatology, or obstetrics just to name a few...) They diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication and treatments, perform minor procedures to major surgeries, and analyze diagnostics information (e.g. x-rays, CT scans,) In the best case, they spend 4 years getting their bachelors degree, then 4 years in medical school or longer, then a minimum 3 years in residency and it's longer if they specialize.
2. Physicians Assistant (PA) -They practice under the license of a physician and support their efforts. They do many things that the physicians do depending on the state they practice in. They can specialize in certain areas as well. They typically have a bachelors degree in a science degree and then go to a masters program to become a PA.
3. Nurse Practitioner (NP) -They are similar to a Physician's Assistant, but they practice under their own licenses and can hold their own practice depending on the state they live in. They are trained in the nursing model vs. the medical model. They typically have a bachelors degree in nursing (BSN) and then a masters degree in their specialty. They can specialize in certain areas as well.
*****The difference between these two professions (NP vs PA) is a highly debated subject and I feel it simply depends on your preference and what the state you live in favors.
4. Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)-They are registered nurses who have practiced in an ICU for at least 1 year that have returned for a masters degree to become a nurse anesthetist (takes about 3 years post-BSN). They support anesthesiology in the OR as well or services (intubating, administering spinal blocks). They are very well paid and work hard.
5. Nurse Midwife-They help deliver babies! They are registered nurses who go back for a masters (about 2 years post-BSN). They can be selected by patients to solely deliver their babies vaginally.
6. Registered nurse (RN)-They support and provide a ton hands on patient care. They assess the patients, implement orders, report changes, given medications, and monitor the patients throughout their hospital stay while acting as their advocate. They are absolutely essential. They can work in many areas including med/surg, cardiology, OR, ER, ICU, PICU, psych, home health, offices, ethics, quality control, and many more. They can practice with an associates degree in nursing (2 years, ASN), a diploma (3 years), or a bachelors degree in nursing (4 years, BSN). A BSN is generally favored, but not necessary to work. A BSN is usually required for career advancement or further education.
7. Licensed Practical nurse (LPN)-They also support and do hands on patient care. LPN's are similar to RN's but they are slightly limited in what they can do as far as medication administration and assessment. Again, that depends on the hospital and state in which you live. Each are different. They typically have a diploma as an LPN which lasts about 18 months.
8. Clinical Technician or Nurse's Aide-They support the nurses and the patient. They do a major amount of patient care. They assist the patients with their hygiene, eating, ambulating, positioning, and other needs. They can also perform diagnostic tests such as drawing blood and performing EKG's. This is very dependent on the hospital and the unit. They generally have a certificate that can be provided by some schools and directly as some hospitals after a certain amount of training.
9. Respiratory Therapists (RT)-They provide therapy to patients by assisting them with ventilation. They implement orders such as chest physiotherapy as well as support patients on ventilators.
Other medical professions include phlebotomists, lab technicians, radiologists, radiology technicians, medical assistants, surgical technicians, and many many more.
Hope this helps!
Answered By: - 12/9/2010