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What do I Need to Know About Residency (Internship or Fellowship)?

Most of your insight into the medical field before becoming a professional will come from your residency. The residency program often helps students decide what specialty of medicine the wish to practice. For this reason, the residency is crucial to a medical student’s future. The first year of the residency is called the internship. It is usually more general in the type of work that it covers. This is a great time to try many different types of medical work in order to narrow down what you want to specialize in.

After your residency, you will enter what is called the fellowship. This will focus in on the sub category of medicine that you have chosen as your primary interest. After graduation from medical school, your training becomes more and more specific. Below are a few things to expect from each portion of your post-graduate training.

Internship: Expect to be rotated through many different areas of medicine. Some of this is because you are lower on the totem pole and will be asked to do jobs that others simply do not have time for, as will an internship in any field. The other reason for this is to expose you to as many specialties as possible. You may be doing a lot of shadowing during this time, or following residents, fellows or doctors and nurses around to observe their actions and behaviors.

Residency: While your focus may be somewhat narrowed by this time, you will still be expected to perform multiple types of tasks. Some of these may include rounds, reporting history of patients, performing physical examinations of patients, writing orders and instructions for tests and medications and observing procedures. Eventually, after you observe these things for a while, you will be asked to perform them. You will likely then be asked to teach another intern or resident how to perform these tasks as well, This gives you more practice an make the processes stick in your head better. You  may also be asked during this time to attend lectures and conferences as well as do a good deal of studying on your own time.

Fellowship: By this time, you will most likely be practicing in your preferred area of specialty. During your residency, it is important to be diligent about trying to have as many different types of experiences as possible, so that you do not have to change your mind through the course of your fellowship. During your fellowship, you will be asked to perform many more tasks, rather than observe. You will also have a higher salary and will carry more responsibility.

The transition from student to doctor is well organized each step of the way in order to ease you into your career in medicine and prepare you for anything that you may come across.

Don’t fell like you need to come out of medical school already knowing everything. The best way to learn is to experience, and that is how this process is designed.

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