What is a Resident Doctor | 5 Residency for Doctors

What is a Resident Doctor? – Overview

If you’ve ever been to a hospital, you must have encountered resident doctors. Have you ever wondered the difference between resident and practicing doctors?

In simple terms, a medical resident is a medical school graduate. These are doctors in training who are participating in a graduate medical education (GME) program.

Commonly, resident doctors are called “residents,” while those in the first year of training are called “interns”. Resident doctors work at doctor’s offices or hospitals.

They are engaged in continuing their medical education and are training in their choice of medicinal specialty.

On average, trainee doctors must participate in residency programs for 3 to 7 years, depending on their specific choice of sub-specialty.

What is a Resident Doctor

What is a Resident Doctor

The doctor in training is expected to provide direct patient care during the residency. Their duties may involve diagnosing, managing, and curing patients’ health disorders.

Every resident must work under a doctor’s or senior resident’s supervision in a healthcare facility.

Generally, junior residents are initially allotted more straightforward tasks and less complex responsibilities. As their experience and education grow, their responsibilities become more complex and inclusive.

What Does a Resident Doctor Do?

A resident doctor may work in any specialty department within a hospital, such as emergency care, general patient wards, and intensive care units.

Resident doctors are expected to learn the following during their residency program:

  • Recommending diagnostic tests and interpreting their results
  • Performing physical examinations of patients
  • Participating in or performing medical treatment procedures
  • Keeping a record of the patient’s medical history

Most of a resident doctor’s work in a hospital is done during the doctor’s rounds.

This is when a group of residents follows an experienced doctor or healthcare professional around the award. This round involves checking the patient’s health condition, treatment, and progress.

This way, resident doctors can assess the patient’s health and determine treatment progress. Resident doctors make necessary adjustments to make the treatment more effective and safer.

Resident doctors may also choose to work in doctor’s offices or outpatient departments in clinics. This requires them to work directly with patients during examinations and treatments.

Resident doctors are also responsible for counseling and advising patients’ families and managing service provision with other healthcare team members.

Additionally, resident doctors continue their education by participating in formal seminars and conferences.

What are the Education and Training Required for a Resident Doctor?

To be a resident doctor, you must first complete medical school and acquire a diploma, such as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a similar degree.

While in medical school, you are required to gain direct clinical experience. This means that you will need to work directly with patients in a significant capacity.

Some of the fields at medical school where you can gain clinical experience include:

  • Recording patient medical history
  • Performing diagnostic examinations and interpreting their results
  • Counseling and consulting patients, their families, and other healthcare team members
  • Prescribing and interpreting diagnostic lab results
  • Performing medical or surgical procedures under close supervision of a doctor/surgeon

Once you have the necessary educational qualifications, you must acquire a license from the state (or jurisdiction) where you work.

This is important if you want to provide healthcare services during your residency period. Junior residents are usually given restricted training licenses.

Resident doctors must obtain a full, unrestricted license to continue their training and establish their practice.

As a resident doctor, you should work closely with experienced doctors and healthcare specialists. This is an excellent way to gain extensive medical knowledge and experience working in inpatient care.

During the residency period, the supervising doctor guides, mentors and instructs resident doctors on patient safety and gives feedback on their performance.

These aspects are essential for better educational, professional, and personal development.

Top Residency for Doctors

Let’s take a quick look at some of the top choices of specialty residency programs for prospective doctors in the US in 2021:

1 – Residency in Internal Medicine

Internal medicine focuses on preventing and treating diseases that affect adults. A residency in internal medicine usually lasts three years, and those who specialize in it are called internists.

2 – Residency in Family Medicine

Doctors specializing in family medicine usually are considered primary healthcare providers. These doctors are trained to provide complete healthcare to people of all ages. They can also refer patients to specialists when needed. Usually, a residency program in family medicine lasts for around three years.

3 – Residency in Pediatrics

Pediatrics is related to diagnosing, treating, preventing, and managing illnesses and ailments that afflict infants, children, and adolescents. A residency in a pediatrics program usually lasts for 3 years, too.

4 – Residency in Emergency Medicine

Doctors who choose a residency in emergency medicine undergo training in diagnosing and treating various diseases in an emergency healthcare setting. These doctors collaborate with a team of nurses and specialists to provide optimal emergency healthcare services.

The residency in the emergency medicine program usually lasts for around four years due to its extensive nature.

5 – Residency in Anesthesiology

Anesthesiologists are responsible for the patient’s vital stats before, during, and after surgical treatment.

They administer anesthesia and monitor the patient during and after surgery against complications. Typically, a residency in anesthesiology lasts for around 4 years too.

The tenures of doctor residency training for other specialties are:

SpecialtyResidency Training Length
Dermatology3 years
General Surgery5 years
Neurology3 years
Neurosurgery7 years
Obstetrics/Gynecology4 years
Otolaryngology5 years
Pathology4 years
Physical Medicine3 – 4 years
Plastic Surgery6 years
Psychiatry4 years
Radiation Oncology4 years
Radiology/Diagnostic4 years
Transitional/Preliminary1 year
Urology5 years


Residency for doctors is an essential part of their overall medical education. This is when doctors in training gain first-hand experience working with patients.

The direct supervision of experienced doctors makes residency programs effective and excellent for a fruitful professional career.

See Also

Free Samples for Doctors’ Offices

How to Become a Physician

How to Become a Physician Assistant

How to Become a Military Doctor

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