A physician or (medical) doctor has a degree in medicine. Physicians may be described as practising, professionally active or licensed.
A practising physician provides services directly to patients as consumers of healthcare. These services include:
- conducting medical examinations and making diagnoses;
- prescribing medication and treating diagnozed illnesses, disorders or injuries;
- giving specialized medical or surgical treatment for particular illnesses, disorders or injuries;
- giving advice on and applying preventive medical methods and treatments.
A professionally active physician is a practising physician or any other physician for whom medical education is a prerequisite for the execution of the job (practising medicine as defined above or, for example, verifying medical absences from work, drug testing, medical research, ...).
A licensed physician is a physician ‘licensed to practise’; this category includes practising physicians, professionally active physicians, as well as all registered physicians who are entitled to practise as healthcare professionals.
This classification also applies to other health care professionals, namely: dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, nurses and other care professionals.