Determining Doctor Qualifications
Doctor qualifications are based upon much more than simply attaining a medical degree. Becoming a medical doctor is a lengthy and often difficult process, with classes and lectures in medical school being only a small part of that process.
If you want to know something about doctor qualifications for your own purposes, whether it be to engage in the services of a clinic with some peace of mind, or due to a desire to become a physician, checking out the qualifications of a doctor or your children's doctor, often depends upon the opinions or experiences of others.
A doctor for example, may have finished at the top of his or her class, but not kept up with the latest medical advances and findings. On the other hand, a doctor may be very knowledgeable in all aspects of his or her practice, but have manners or mannerisms which can make a visit to the office a less that pleasant experience.
If a doctor is hired by a clinic, it's fair to say that in most cases, doctor qualifications for working in the clinic are probably quite well defined and rather stringent. There are exceptions of course, and there is always the individual who is hired and should not have been.
Degrees And Licensing - The degree is essential of course and the medical school attended often plays an important role in a clinic's or hospital's hiring process. If a doctor has been practicing for some time, qualifications to become a working member of a clinic usually include keeping current on education and keeping skills up to date. Doctors must meet the licensing standards of the state (or country) they work in. This is true for general practitioners but especially holds true for specialists. Part of a doctor's qualifications depend on how well he or she has fared under peer reviews. Praise or criticism from a doctor's patients, while not often made public, can also be important and are usually known to the doctor's peers and staff in a clinic or hospital.
Board Certification - Doctor qualifications normally include board certification, or in some cases being in the process of becoming board certified. A specialist for example may not be board certified when initially beginning work in his or her field of specialty, but usually must become board certified at some point to be allowed to continue working in that specialty. If your doctor is not board certified, it is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as he or she is licensed. Board certification is not required for many of the duties and services a doctor performs, especially a general practitioner.
The Grand Inquisitor - Although it is fair to quiz a doctor on his or her background, to see if the qualifications are there, it is not something we generally do, or at least feel comfortable in doing. In addition, in checking on doctor qualifications, the lay person is at a disadvantage as far as knowing whether the answers given really mean all that much. If a doctor served as a Chief Resident at Massachusetts General, and has the paperwork to show for it, he or she would have to be considered to be a very competent physician. On the other hand, a doctor who completed residency at a lesser known institution, one you are totally unfamiliar with, and was not a Chief Resident, may still be a very excellent doctor. If you're going to attempt to uncover doctor qualifications by interrogation, it could be a rocky road. Some doctors will talk all night about their background and qualifications, while others simply don't care to do so, though they have nothing to hide.