Residency (medicine)

Residency (medicine)

Residency or postgraduate training is a stage of graduate medical education. It refers to a qualified physician, podiatrist, or dentist (one who holds the degree of MD, DPM, DDS, DMD, DO or MB; BS, MBChB, or BMed, BDS, BDent) who practises medicine, usually in a hospital or clinic, under the direct or indirect supervision of a senior clinician registered in that specialty such as an attending physician or consultant. In many jurisdictions, successful completion of such training is a requirement in order to obtain an unrestricted license to practise medicine, and in particular a license to practise a chosen specialty. An individual engaged in such training may be referred to as a resident, house officer, registrar or trainee depending on the jurisdiction. Residency training may be followed by fellowship or sub-specialty training.
Whereas medical school teaches physicians a broad range of medical knowledge, basic clinical skills, and supervised experience practicing medicine in a variety of fields, medical residency gives in-depth training within a specific branch of medicine.
Residency as an opportunity for advanced training in a medical or surgical specialty evolved in the late 19th century from brief and informal programs for extra training in a special area of interest. The first formal residency programs were established by Sir William Osler and William Stewart Halsted at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Residencies elsewhere then became formalized and institutionalized for the principal specialties in the early 20th century. But even mid-century, residency was not seen as necessary for general practice and only a minority of primary care physicians participated. By the end of the 20th century in North America though, very few new doctors went directly from medical school into independent, unsupervised medical practice, and more state and provincial governments began requiring one or more years of postgraduate training for medical licensure.
Residencies are traditionally hospital-based, and in the middle of the twentieth century, residents would often live (or "reside") in hospital-supplied housing. "Call" (night duty in the hospital) was sometimes as frequent as every second or third night for up to three years. Pay was minimal beyond room, board, and laundry services. It was assumed that most young men and women training as physicians had few obligations outside of medical training at that stage of their careers.

 


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