Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Doctor

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, 3:10 pm

Putting your body and health into the hands of another person is always a big deal. There are a number of things to consider when choosing a doctor, especially a surgeon. Here is a quick list to keep in mind when deciding which doctor is the best choice for you.

Board Certification— there is a difference between a board certified doctor and a non board certified doctor. Board certification demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice. To practice medicine in the United States, doctors must be licensed by the states in which they work. However, being licensed does not indicate whether a doctor is qualified to practice in a specific medical specialty, such as family medicine, surgery or dermatology. One of the best ways to know if your doctor has the qualifications to provide care in a specialty is to find out if he or she is board certified and participating in activities to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in medicine and patient care.

Has a Fellowship in that Specialty—a fellowship is the period of medical training that a physician takes after completing their residency. As a fellow a doctor is able to act as an attending physician or consultant physician in the field in which they were trained, such as internal medicine, pediatrics or orthopaedic surgery. After completing a fellowship in the relevant sub-specialty, i.e. urology within pediatrics or foot and ankle surgery within Orthopaedics, the physician is permitted to practice without direct supervision by other physicians in that sub-specialty.

Make sure they have a medical degree—many people can use the title doctor. If they have completed a doctorate in anything they are considered a doctor, and while completing a doctorate is no simple feat it is not the same as being a medical doctor. Having a PhD in poetry certainly makes you a doctor of poetry but you wouldn’t want that doctor to operate on you. There is a difference between an MD (medical doctor) and a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), as well as between an MD and a DPM (doctor of podiatric medicine).

To ensure the highest quality of treatment always check that your doctor has these three credentials.

About Dr. Troy Watson

Dr. Watson is an orthopedic surgeon, specializing in the reconstruction of the foot and ankle, practicing in Nevada. He graduated from Georgetown University Medical School with a medical degree. He then completed his surgical internship at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Watson went on to complete his orthopaedic training at both Tulane University and Charity Hospital in New Orleans. Dr. Watson furthered his training by completing a fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at the Miller Orthopaedic Clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He then relocated his family to Las Vegas and joined Desert Orthopaedic Center where he founded the Foot and Ankle Institute. Dr. Watson is currently Board Certified. Most recently, Dr Watson started his own fellowship, the Las Vegas Foot and Ankle Fellowship, where he will train other orthopaedic surgeons in his specialty for a one year period. To learn more, visit

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