Here’s What You Need to Know About Medical Residency

So, finally, you have completed the challenging four years of medical school. Congratulations! Your path to becoming a qualified doctor starts now.

Once you obtained your medical degree, it’s time to gear up for medical residency, which is the most important part of your journey. Medical residency is the post-graduate training that is especially designed for fresh graduates who recently completed a Doctor of Medicine degree.

Usually, third or fourth-year medical students know which medical specialty they need to apply. However, some students find it challenging to choose the right medical specialty that perfectly fits their interests and career goals. Undoubtedly, medical residency is an exciting and confusing aspect of every medical student’s life.

Knowing the right residency programs that perfectly match your interests and career goals is a challenge for many graduates. Many medical students are curious to know how to match with one of their preferred residency programs, how long is medical residency, what type of training they will receive in a specific medical specialty.

If you are an aspiring physician and want to learn about training in the specialized field of medicine, here is everything you need to know about medical residency. Learn all the steps and you will become a competent physician in near future.

What is a Medical Resident?

A resident is a medical school graduate who takes training in a specialized field of medicine. Medical residents are responsible for diagnosing, managing, and treating different health conditions. They work at hospitals, emergency rooms and private clinics to get specialized training in a particular medical specialty.

What Medical Residents Do?

During their training, medical residents will learn how to diagnose, manage and treat different health conditions. Doctors and senior residents supervise medical residents to perform a variety of tasks. They will learn how to order and interpret diagnostic tests, perform medical procedures, take medical histories and perform physical examinations.

As a medical resident, you might work in a myriad of hospital departments, such as emergency department, operation theater, intensive care unit, pediatrics wards, and general patient wards. Some residents get the opportunity to work in outpatient clinics and doctors’ private clinics. It will allow them to observe how doctors perform physical examinations and treat patients.  They will also learn how to communicate with patients, families and healthcare staff. Supervising doctors educate residents how to perform different surgical procedures and diagnostic tests.

Furthermore, medical residents also attend seminars and conferences to strengthen their knowledge and polish clinical skills in a specialized field of medicine.

The Duration of Medical Residency

A medical residency is a period of postgraduate training medical students will receive after completing their medical school journey. The duration of a medical residency depends on the type of specialty you are pursuing. Usually, residency training lasts for three to seven years. Those students who are interested in competitive medical specialties, such as radiology, pediatric radiology and reconstructive surgery are required to complete additional fellowship training.

Here is the required length of postgraduate trainings for board certification.

Specialty Length of Training
Anesthesiology 3 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Dermatology 3 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Emergency Medicine 3-4 years
Family Practice 3 years
General Surgery 5 years
Internal Medicine 3 years
Neurology 3 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Neurosurgery 7 years
Obstetrics/Gynecology 4 years
Ophthalmology 3 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Orthopedic Surgery 5 years (includes one year of general surgery)
Otolaryngology 5 years
Pathology 4 years
Pediatrics 3 years
Physical Medicine 3-4 years
Plastic Surgery 6 years
Psychiatry 4 years
Radiation Oncology 4 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Radiology, Diagnostic 4 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Transitional/Preliminary 1 year
Urology 5 years (includes one year of general surgery)


Types of Medical Residency

There are four different types of medical residency.

  1.       Transitional Residency

This type of residency is intended for first-year residents. They are required to rotate in different departments of hospitals every two to three months. These rotations can count as the first year of training.

  1.       Preliminary Residency

It is a one to two-year training program that residents have to complete before choosing an advanced specialty program.

  1.       Categorical Residency

Categorical residency is hospital based and provides you with full residency training that is needed for Board Certification in a specific specialty.

  1.       Primary care Residency

The goal of offering primary care residency is to produce well-rounded and competent physicians who can provide high-quality, patient-centered and advanced clinical care. Medical residents are trained to provide excellent clinical care in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

How to Prepare for Medical Residency?

For many graduating medical students, preparing for medical residency is an exciting time of their lives. You will become a fully board-certified doctor after completing your medical residency. Medical students should create a list of medical residencies they should enter and which type of career they want to pursue.

Here is a list of some of the most popular medical residencies:

  •         Internal Medicine
  •         Family Medicine
  •         Emergency Medicine
  •         Anesthesiology
  •         Pediatrics
  •         Obstetrics and Gynecology
  •         General Surgery
  •         Orthopedic Surgery
  •         Neurology
  •         Diagnostic Radiology
  •         Integrated plastic surgery

After deciding what type of residency you should choose, it’s the right time to prepare for the residency application. You can read these blogs before applying to a residency program and writing a great residency personal statement.

Concluding Thoughts

Believe it or not, postgraduate training is the most critical step of becoming a competent doctor. Medical residency is specialized training that provides medical students with the required experience, knowledge, skills and confidence to work in challenging healthcare settings. Hopefully, this blog will help aspiring physicians understand what is a medical residency and everything they need to qualify for the most competitive medical residency.

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