I like to keep a finger on the pulse, when it comes to mainstream medicine. Every now and again I'll lazily surf the first page of google searches related to the profession. I like to know which misconceptions are prevalent enough that potential patients may run into them. And I'm not just speaking of Chiropractic health care, I'm talking about the entire counter-movement to the stale paradigm much of mainstream medicine has found itself in. I'm speaking of NDs too, and all functional medicine docs.
Lately, I've been finding that there is a lot of confusion out there about what a doctor actually is. I agree, the nomenclature can be very misleading. Medicine has increasingly become conflated with health care, so much so that the two have practically become synonymous. So let me clear the muddied waters the best I can. There are a few different doctorate degrees that grant the recipient the right and abilities to care for patients' health. There are Medical Doctors (they sure scored big when they chose that name), Doctors of Osteopathy, Doctors of Chiropractic, Naturopathic Doctors, and an ever increasing number of various other doctorates.
The main differences between these doctorates are entailed in their scope, philosophy, end goal, and the lens through which they view the treatment of pathology. MDs, DOs, and DCs are considered to be primary care physicians on a national level. DCs scope varies by state. Scope entails what treatment strategies and tools doctors are allowed to legal employ to treat their patients. A good example of this is the fact that DCs may prescribe pharmaceuticals in New Mexico, but not in other states. We may perform minor surgery in Oregon, but not elsewhere. The state-by-state scope can be a little confusing to understand at first, and has various implications on what these doctoral candidates may or may not be allowed to do while practicing their craft at their particular school.
I recently read a rather bombastic blog, lambasting the NUHS ND program, on the premise that such a program would be illegal because NDs aren't recognized by the state of Illinois. That would be like saying that learning about wolverines is illegal because they don't reside in the state of Illinois. They exist, just not in this particular state. Another erroneous point they posited was that all ND students in clinic are breaking the law because they're seeing and treating patients. That is akin to saying all nurses are breaking the law. ND students are just that -- students. They themselves aren't seeing and treating patients; they are operating under the legal medical licenses of the various clinicians. It's a good thing to keep your eyes out for such misconceptions, folks. Know how you'll address the questions that may be posed to you.