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Hierarchy Of Medical Professions

Hierarchy of medical professions

Many medical professionals will tell you that there is no hierarchy in their industry and that everyone has the same importance in the chain of medical professionals. Actually, this is not true. Like any other industry, some jobs have more prestige than others. In some positions, training is broader, and in some countries inequality and hierarchy is more evident than in others.

Hospital administrators

Hospital administrators are among the highest ranked in the hierarchy of the medical profession. This refers only to doctors who have been promoted to administrative positions. In general, they have reached the pinnacle of their career, and, as such, they are offered a role to supervise administrative tasks. These roles are given because not only do they succeed in what they do, but they are also excellent at mediating and applying ethics and codes.

Specialist surgeons

Because surgery requires much more training than general medicine, a surgeon is often considered the next step on the ladder of the hierarchy. Surgeons gather a great amount of respect from their peers and are role models for younger physicians. The best of these doctors represents a small percentage and they are often the creators of pioneering treatments and write long textbooks, which are used to teach surgeons around the world.

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Normal specialists

Doctors who specialize in certain areas of medicine, such as oncologists, urologists and cardiologists, get great respect and are considered among the best. For these doctors, the contributions they make to their specific field, the articles they publish and the treatments they discover, all play a role in their place in the medical professional hierarchy. Their place also depends on the difficulty of the specialty and there are many subgroups. For example, a cardiologist would end up with a dermatologist or a urologist. However, this also depends on the level of experience, body of work and notoriety they have in their field.

The silent doctors

It is difficult to say that these doctors come after any other person, as they are usually equal in importance, if not more, as surgeons. This group is made up of doctors such as anesthesiologists, pathologists and radiologists. An anesthesiologist is one of the most respected types among doctors. Anesthesiologists keep people alive, while a surgeon does his job. Similarly, a pathologist will examine the tissues or pathogens (infectious agents) and determine what type of underlying disease or condition a patient may have.


Nurses usually fall at the bottom of the hierarchy, with only medical students below them. There are two types of nurses in the United States, the Registered Nurse (RN) and the Licensed Nurse (LPN, for its acronym in English). The LPN has less schooling and is not allowed to carry out the same range of medical procedures. An RN can be as valuable as a doctor, being able to do everything but the most complex procedures. Many nurses specialize in operating rooms or emergency care.


Medical assistant

Although medical assistants belong somewhere in the vicinity of the general practitioner, they have been placed here because this is a largely American phenomenon. A medical assistant is practically a doctor. They have extensive training, perform the day-to-day functions of doctors and have the ability to prescribe medication.

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