What Is a Resident Physician?

Resident physicians are most often involved in a patient’s first medical contact in teaching hospitals and clinics throughout the province.

Following the completion of a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program, resident physicians undergo further training, known as residency, which prepares them for licensure under either the College of Family Physicians of Canada or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Resident physicians generally have at least seven years of university training prior to the commencement of residency. 

With residency programs requiring an additional two to seven years of post-graduate training, most resident physicians spend more than 10 years training to become fully-licensed physicians and surgeons.

Residency Training has a Rich Tradition

The term ‘resident’ reflects that these trainees used to literally live within the hospital, providing intense, round-the-clock care to patients during their training.

While resident physicians no longer live within the hospital, they do provide a significant portion of the overnight and after hours care in acute care facilities across Alberta.

Typically, a resident physician will work upwards of 70 hours per week, including on-call service, and 10 percent of resident physicians will work upwards of 80 hours per week.

In Alberta, resident physicians may be required to do as much as one 26-hour on-call shift every four days, while still working regular shifts on the days they are not on call.

Residency Training has a Rich Tradition

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