Health Care Team (HCT)About the Health Care Team (HCT) | Doctors | Nurses and Nursing Staff | Other Direct Care Providers | Therapists | Care and Psychosocial Support Coordinators | Consultative Resource Providers | Diagnostic Technologists | Administrative and Information Managers | Other Support Staff | Patients and Families | Consultants
- Participating in a program of graduate medical education and training in a specialized area of medicine.
- Acts as both a student and a health care provider.
- Works in concert with other members of the health care team to provide direct medical care to patients.
- Diagnoses patients’ medical problems and devises appropriate management and treatment plans.
- May perform surgeries if appropriate to medical specialty and level of training.
- Must have a Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), or other acceptable final medical diploma, such as an MBBS.
- Supervised by more senior Residents and by attending physicians.
- Takes medical histories, performs physical examinations, orders and interprets diagnostic studies, and performs some medical procedures.
- Typically first interacts with newly admitted patients either in the Emergency Department, on the ward, in a special care unit, or in an operating room.
Who is a Resident Physician?
What does a Resident Physician do?
In their role as medical care providers, Residents work with other members of the health care team to provide direct medical care to patients. As physicians, one of their primary responsibilities is diagnosing patients’ medical problems and devising appropriate management and treatment plans.
What education, training, and experience must one have to function as a Resident Physician?
All Resident Physicians must have final medical diploma (MD, DO, MBBS, etc.) signifying the successful completion of a medical school curriculum.
As part of their medical school curriculum, Residents may have had variable amounts of direct clinical experience. Direct clinical experience may include the rudiments of taking a medical history; performing and interpreting physical examination; and communicating with patients, families, and other members of the health care team. They may also have had some experience with ordering and interpreting diagnostic studies and may have performed some medical or surgical procedures under close supervision.
How and by whom is a Resident Physician supervised?
Residents are supervised by senior Residents and by attending physicians. First-year Residents are most closely supervised, but as Residents progress in their training they begin to assume more responsibility. The ultimate responsibility for supervision of Residents lies with attending physicians.
What are the typical day-to-day activities of a Resident Physician?
Residents provide direct patient care and participate in ongoing educational activities, including teaching rounds, morning report, and formal conferences. They take medical histories, perform physical examinations, order and interpret diagnostic studies, and perform medical procedures appropriate to their level of training and experience.
Much of Residents’ work, as well as much of their education, occurs during rounds. During rounds, the team of physicians and sometimes other members of the health care team proceed from patient to patient to assess progress, response to treatment, and diagnostic developments, and to refine treatment plans. When not on rounds, Residents may be involved in performing diagnostic or treatment procedures or conferring with consultants and other members of the health care team.
Residents may spend time seeing patients in outpatient clinics or in supervising physicians’ offices, which often involves communication with the patient’s family and coordination of care and services with other members of the health care team.
Must a Resident Physician be licensed or certified to function in his or her role as part of the health care team?
In most states, Resident Physicians must be granted a license from the state or jurisdiction in which they practice in order to provide patient care. As physicians-in-training, junior Residents may have restricted “training” licenses. At some point they must obtain full unrestricted licensure to advance in their training or enter practice.
What types of patients would benefit from the care of a Resident Physician?
How and when does a Resident Physician become involved in the care of a particular patient?
Professional organizations for Resident Physicians:
The training and supervision of Residents is monitored by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the organization that accredits residency and fellowship training programs.
Information on Residents’ responsibilities and rights can be found at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education website.
Gerald P. Whelan, MD, FACEP, ECFMG