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A clinician is a health care professional who works as a caregiver of a patient in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, clinic, or patient's home. Clinicians work directly with patients rather than in a laboratory or as a researcher. A clinician may diagnose, treat, and otherwise care for patients. For example, physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical pharmacists, speech-language pathologists (SLP), and speech-language pathology assistants (SLPA) are clinicians. Midwives can be considered clinicians, although some midwives may emphasize de-medicalizing giving birth. Many clinicians take comprehensive exams to be licensed and some complete graduate degrees (master's or doctorates) in their field of expertise.
A main function of a clinician is to manage a sick person in order to cure the effects of their illness. The clinician can also consider the impact of illness upon the patient and his family as well as other social factors.