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Medical Cluster: Healthcare

Doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs), also known as podiatrists, can diagnose, treat and prevent disorders of the foot and ankle. They employ medical, surgical and biomechanical means to treat injuries, deformities or abnormal growths of the foot and ankle. Podiatric physicians prescribe orthotics, braces and shoes to treat conditions and improve the patients’ walking and posture. Podiatric physicians stress preventive health care and are often the first health care professionals to recognize symptoms of diabetes, heart disease or arthritis. Podiatric physicians work with all other health care professionals and will refer patients for treatment of serious conditions involving the body. In addition to general practice, DPMs may choose to pursue certification in a specialty area such as surgery, orthopedics, or public health. Some of the noted subspecialties are primary care, sports medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, radiology and diabetic foot care.

Chiropractors, or doctors of chiropractic (DC), treat patients through manipulation of various joints of the body, particularly the spine which can ease irritation to spinal nerves. By re-establishing normal joint mobility, the doctor of chiropractic allows the body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably. The chiropractor typically conducts patient consults, case histories, physical exams (orthopedic, neurological), laboratory analyses, and X-ray examinations. In addition, he or she provides a chiropractic structural examination, with emphasis on the spine. To assist in patient treatment, chiropractors can use exercise, water, light, traction, ultrasound, electric, laser, ice, and heat therapy. They also counsel on wellness concepts such as nutrition, ergonomics, lifestyle changes, and stress management, but do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery. Chiropractors use natural, medicine-free, non-invasive health treatments, consulting with or referring to other health care providers when indicated.

Physicians diagnose, treat, and try to prevent human illness, disease, or injury. They perform many functions, including but not limited to: analysis of patient histories, physical examinations, and interpretations of diagnostic tests. Physicians stress preventive care and often counsel their patients on better health care practices. They help patients through life-threatening situations and severe illnesses. Physicians use accepted methods of medical treatment, including pharmaceutical agents and surgical procedures. There are two types of physicians: allopathic physicians, better known as the M.D. (medical doctor), and osteopathic physicians, better known as the D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine).

Nurse Anesthetist (also in nursing category)
Anesthesia is the use of special drugs that temporarily block sensation in an area of the body or enable a patient to be kept unconscious and pain free during surgery. Anesthesia is administered by either an anesthesiologist (a physician who specializes in this area of practice) or a nurse anesthetist (a registered nurse who is specially trained in anesthesiology). As a key member of the operating team, the nurse anesthetist combines professional nursing skills with the science of anesthesia and works in collaboration with a doctor or dentist to administer and monitor anesthesia.

Nurse Practitioner (also in nursing category)
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are nurses who have completed a master’s nursing degree or post-master’s training in providing preventive and medical health care to individuals and families in collaboration with a physician. NPs provide comprehensive health promotion services to ambulatory clients, evaluate presenting problems at the client’s initial contact with the primary care system, and provide continuing care to clients with acute illness and stable chronic illness. Nurse practitioners also educate patients about staying healthy. They often take care of special populations such as the rural poor, migrant farm workers, elderly persons, and children. In communities or facilities with few physicians, nurse practitioners are especially important as providers of health care.

Physician Assistant
Physician assistants (Pas) practice medicine with a physician’s supervision. Physician assistants perform complete physical examinations, diagnose illness, give treatments, order and review laboratory tests and X-rays, and counsel patients on their health problems. North Carolina, like most other states, allows its Pas to prescribe medication. Pas are always directly supervised by a physician but the supervision may be indirect or occur at a distance. The majority of physician assistants choose to work in primary care, while the rest specialize in such areas as surgery, emergency medicine, or other medical specialties.


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Clinical Nurse Specialist

Salary Range: $42,000-$77,000
Education offered at: UNCG-JSNN (MSN, Cert), WSSU (MSN)
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