Learn our lingo (LOL): Academic degrees and certifications

February 11, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,

The Headlines Acronym of the Month is back with another tasty helping of alphabet soup!

This month, the newsletter is giving readers insight into the two-, three-, four-, five- or even six(!)-letter credentials that often follow an employee’s name, indicating the degrees they have received throughout their academic career.

So earn your “degree” in Michigan Medicine lingo by learning these abbreviations:

Doctoral degrees:

  • M.D.: Doctor of medicine. An M.D. is awarded by an accredited medical school.
  • Ph.D.: Doctor of philosophy. A Ph.D. is typically earned at a college or university after an individual submits a thesis or dissertation on original research.
  • D.O.: Doctor of osteopathic medicine. These are fully-licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine. The degree is offered by many medical schools around the U.S.
  • Pharm.D.: Doctor of pharmacy. A four-year professional doctorate degree offered by colleges and universities.
  • Psy.D.: Doctor of psychology. A professional doctoral degree typically designed for individuals interested in a clinical psychology career.
  • D.S.W.: Doctor of social work. A degree preparing graduates to work in advanced clinical social work practices.
  • D.N.P.: Doctor of nursing practice. Earned by those who have completed the highest level of academic study when it comes to nursing practice.
  • D.P.T.: Doctor of physical therapy. A practitioner who has earned a doctorate degree and is educated in many areas of rehabilitation.

Nursing degrees and certifications:

  • R.N.: Registered nurse. An individual who has graduated from a licensed nursing program.
  • B.S.N.: Bachelor of science in nursing. Those who complete a 3-4 year program in nursing.
  • A.D.N.: Associates degree in nursing. Those who complete a associates degree in nursing, which typically takes two years to complete.
  • L.P.N.: Licensed practical nurse. An individual who finishes a less-formal training program than an R.N. An L.P.N. is required to work under the supervision of an R.N.
  • C.N.P.: Certified nurse practitioner. A registered nurse who has completed advanced education and training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions. Nurse practitioners typically specialize in a certain patient population including: Family medicine (F.N.P), pediatrics (CPNP), adult-gerontological acute care (AGACNP), women’s health (WHNP), neonatal care (N.N.P.), emergency care (E.N.P.), gerontological (G.N.P.), psychiatric-mental health (PMHNP).
  • C.N.S.: Clinical nurse specialist. An advanced practice nursing professional who has trained extensively in a specialty practice area.
  • NEA-BC: Nurse executive advanced board certification. Awarded to those who have passed a competency-based exam demonstrating the skills needed to manage the operations of a nursing unit.
  • CRNA: Certified registered nurse anesthetist. An advanced practice nurse who is certified in administering anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedures.
  • M.S.N.: Master of science in nursing. Given to registered nurses who complete an advanced-level post-graduate degree.
  • FAANP: Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.  There are approximately 750 individuals who have completed this fellowship program.

Therapy degrees and certifications:

  • CTRS: Certified therapeutic recreational specialist. A certified professional who works to improve the mental, emotional and physical well-being of patients through recreational activities.
  • P.T.: Physical therapist. This designation refers to individuals who are licensed as physical therapists and completed an accredited PT program.
  • O.T.: Occupational therapist. An individual who is licensed to practice occupational therapy.
  • M.P.T.: Master of physical therapy. Received by physical therapist who earned a master’s degree in the specialty.
  • M.O.T.: Master of occupational therapy: Graduate level program allowing individuals to learn the skills needed to be an occupational therapist.

Other degrees and certifications common at Michigan Medicine:

  • M.A.: Medical assistant. Certification earned by those who finish a specialized program to give them the skills required to become a medical assistant.
  • P.A.: Physician assistant. Awarded to an individual who finishes a certified physician assistant program, allowing them to practice medicine under a supervising physician.
  • M.H.A.: Master of health administration. A master’s level degree granted to those who finish a program designed to provide the skills necessary for a career in health care administration.
  • M.S.W.: Master of social work. A degree held by a large percentage of social work practitioners, earned through accredited social work graduate programs.

Whew! That’s a lot of letters — and a lot of learning!

To check out any past acronyms highlighted in Headlines, click here.

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