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Related to physician: Physician Assistant


1. a person legally qualified to practise medicine, esp one specializing in areas of treatment other than surgery; doctor of medicine
2. Archaic any person who treats diseases; healer



a person who has completed a higher medical education or higher veterinary education. (Dentists have a secondary medical education.)

Physicians are trained at higher medical educational institutions. Persons who have graduated from foreign medical schools gain the right to practice medicine in the USSR after passing state examinations and examinations in courses not given in foreign schools. Persons who have practiced medicine as well as those with advanced degrees are allowed to practice without taking examinations by special permission of the Ministry of Health. The physician in a socialist state engages in therapeutic and prophylactic work aimed at improving the environment and the working and living conditions of the people. He is guided by medical ethics, which also includes the concept of a physician’s duty. Working in a medical institution, the physician is obliged to keep medical secrets. His duty is to render first aid. Soviet law stipulates criminal liability for failure to take care of a sick person without valid reasons on the part of individuals required by law to do so (Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 128). If medical personnel have not provided the necessary care during performance of their official duties, they are held responsible for malpractice.

Physicians who also engage in private practice must record in special books general information about their patients, as well as the medicine prescribed and treatments given.

Physicians are divided by specialties into internists (for internal diseases), pediatricians (for children’s diseases), surgeons, gynecologists (for women’s diseases), roentgenologists, neurologists (for diseases of the nervous system), psychiatrists (for mental illnesses), dermatovenereologists (for skin and venereal diseases), stomatologists (for diseases of the oral cavity and teeth), otolaryngologists (for diseases of the ear, nose, and throat), phthisiologists (for tuberculosis), oncologists (for tumors), traumatic surgeons (for various injuries), orthopedists (for diseases of the organs of support and motion), and so on.

In the USSR certification is required to ensure the correct utilization of physicians and to improve their qualifications. Qualifications are determined by special committees. The highest qualification is awarded a physician who has had at least ten years of experience in his specialty and who has advanced theoretical and practical training. A physician’s salary depends on his qualifications and length of service.

In capitalist countries medical care is provided chiefly by private practitioners. In a number of countries some forms of medical care are provided free at state-owned medical centers or charitable organizations.


Artem’ev, F. A. Zakonodatel’stvo po upravleniiu zdarvookhraneniem SSSR. Moscow, 1955.
Semashko, N. A. “Ob etike sovetskogo vracha.” Gigiena i sanitariia, 1945, nos. 1-2.
Gruber, G. B. Arzt und Ethik. Berlin, 1956.


What does it mean when you dream about a physician?

See Doctor.


An individual authorized to practice medicine.
References in classic literature ?
The physician shook his head, leaving it doubtful whether he meant to reply in the negative or to deplore considerations of that nature.
When he felt very hot he stopped playing, and went back to the palace, went into the bath, and did all that the physician had said.
With such anticipations, he stole reverentially to the door at which the physician stood, but paused upon the threshold, gazing fearfully into the gloom of the darkened chamber.
Meanwhile Cotton Mather took his staff and three-cornered hat and walked about the streets, calling at the houses of all the physicians in Boston.
This remark caused a cessation of the compliments, and induced the physician to turn an inquiring eye in the direction of his patient.
He payeth not sufficiently his physician," replied the doctor, casting a side glance at his companion.
The physician asked him one or two questions, and examined the patient himself.
It is more and more plain to me that I am being made the subject of an experiment, in which Sir James and the physician are equally interested.
All this, however, has nothing to do with what I have to tell; I thought it might amuse a physician.
The eminent physician whom I had called in to superintend the treatment behaved admirably.
Do you mean, for example, that he who is mistaken about the sick is a physician in that he is mistaken?
To say the truth, every physician almost hath his favourite disease, to which he ascribes all the victories obtained over human nature.

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