P3 is proud to offer a diverse group of qualified practitioners who are honored to serve our patients and are committed to quality patient care. We encourage you to learn more about the different types of providers and respect your preference for a provider with whom you are most comfortable.

You are likely familiar with medical doctors, also known as MDs. However, doctors of osteopathy (DOs), certified physician assistants (PA-Cs) and certified nurse practitioners (NP-Cs) are also required to complete rigorous academic programs and practice hours. In addition, they all are certified by state medical or nursing boards. Most importantly, all four types of medical professionals are qualified to handle all your primary care needs, including:

  • Conducting physical exams
  • Diagnosing and treating illnesses
  • Ordering and interpreting lab work and tests
  • Counseling patients
  • Writing prescriptions, including controlled substances

Here are some questions from many of our patients. (Please click on each question to see the answer.)

Most patients encounter various types of nurses working in healthcare.

  • Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) usually have about a year of nursing education and some earn certifications or associate’s degrees. They are required to work under a doctor or certified nurse practitioner’s close supervision and often work in long-term care facilities.
  • Registered nurses (RNs) have an associates or bachelor’s degree and frequently opt to work in hospitals.
  • Certified nurse practitioners (NP-Cs) and certified family nurse practitioners (FNP-Cs) have master’s degrees and usually care for patients in medical group clinics or private practices, performing the same duties as their MD, DO, and PA-C colleagues.

Certified Physician Assitants (PA-Cs) can perform nearly every function in a primary care practice that the physician can, including conducting examinations, ordering and reviewing labs and tests and prescribing medications. PA-Cs are assigned to a doctor who is required to review a small percentage of their charts, but they operate independently nearly all of the time.

While both provider types are referred to as doctors, there are some differences. DOs are osteopathic physicians whose education and training focuses on the body as an integrated whole. MDs are allopathic physicians, where the traditional Western medicine approach centers more on diagnosing illness and injury and treating through medical or surgical remedies. They have similar medical education and clinical experience requirements and are licensed by the state medical board. While MDs are found in a variety of practice types, most DOs opt to practice in primary care because it allows them to use their comprehensive approaches to deliver excellent patient care.

The medical profession is constantly evolving and, as in many career paths, the road a practitioner takes may change with experience and opportunities. For example, students studying nursing sometimes decide to take the next step and become certified nurse practitioners. In other cases, students obtain an undergraduate degree outside a traditional pre-med program, like kinesiology, and decide that becoming a certified physician assistant will help them reach their goals to care for patients. Other students relish the depth of knowledge gained in medical school with hands-on experience in both the classroom and clinical settings. In the end, all of P3’s providers are qualified, certified and committed to giving you the care you deserve.