Ranks Of Doctors In Hospitals

Doctors are the major reason hospitals are established. Without them, sick patients will not have the proper medical attention they deserve. Let us consider the ranks of doctors in hospitals.

Ranks Of Doctors In Hospitals
Ranks Of Doctors In Hospitals

Before we proceed, let us remind ourselves of who a doctor is. It is general knowledge that a doctor may be a psychologist, a physician, a biomedical scientist, a dentist, a veterinarian, etc.

Nevertheless, before anyone can be considered a doctor in the medical field, he or she must have acquired an MD, a PhD, or any other doctoral degree in any medical profession.

Whereas a professor of history,  an eminent theologian, or a person awarded an honorary doctorate by a college or university can be titled a doctor, respectively.

Since our concern for this course is medically qualified doctors, we will be making headway in the various ranks of doctors in hospitals.

Ranks Of Doctors In Hospitals

If you have ever been to the hospital for whatever reason, you would agree with me that it is one of the most organised, neat, and coordinated entities.

Coordination in any establishment can truly be achieved when different people are assigned a befitting task which aims at guaranteeing perfection at the end of the day.

Below are the ranks of doctors in hospitals that ensure that things follow the appropriate order while saving lives. Check them out:

1. Medical Students

Medical students, as the name applies, are students who are studying with the aim of becoming medical doctors, and as such, they are yet to be employed because they are yet to have a medical degree.

The course of the patients in the hospital adds up to their training. They are assigned different degrees of authority and also review medical history, which is further submitted to a licensed doctor for proper signing.

Medical students learn under a tertiary educational institution that has a medical school and awards a professional degree to doctors and surgeons. Examples of medical degrees are:

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, MBChB, MBBCh, BMBS)
  • Master of Medicine (MM, MMed)
  • Doctor of Medicine (M.D)
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O)
  • Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M).

2. Interns

These sets of doctors have completed medical school and have a medical degree but are not yet licensed to practice medicine on their own.

Therefore, they’ll have to be under the supervision of senior MDs or DOs for one year. In some hospitals, interns are rather referred to as first-year residents, R-1s, or PGY-1s (for Postgraduate year 1).

Medical interns are usually available for on-the-job training. They help care for patients, complete tasks given by doctors, undertake medical procedures and perform documentation of patients. Important skills that medical interns should have include medical teamwork, clinical skills, availability for work shifts, stamina, interpersonal and communication skills and record-keeping.

3. Resident

Doctors in this rank have graduated from a medical or osteopathic school and have passed a national licensing examination.

They are otherwise known as licensed “MD” (osteopaths are called “DO”). Unfortunately, residents cannot work until they have completed a minimum of three years of hands-on training (the primary residence), after which they will receive a command to resume service.

The Chief resident (senior resident) directs the activities of other residents and also functions as their immediate “boss.” The Senior resident is usually a third-year resident and is below the chief resident. The Junior residents are below the senior residents, who are usually in their second year.

Residents collaborate with other members of the hospital medical staff to cater to the medical needs of patients. They can diagnose a patient’s illness or condition and create a suitable treatment plan.

4. Fellows 

Responsibilities assigned to this group are a little lower than those assigned to ‘attending physicians. Fellows are physicians who have completed their primary residency and have chosen to pursue advanced training (a fellowship) in a certain speciality.

Fellows may have little direct patient contact, and it may not be obvious that a fellow is participating in your treatment.

The fellow may act as the primary supervised surgeon in the hospital; he or she can take responsibility for patients and ensure that ward requirements are made. In some cases, they can act as assistant primary surgeons. They also attend research and educational conferences.

5. Attending Physicians

Attending Physicians

Attending physicians are the most senior doctors directly responsible for your medical decision-making and treatment while you are in the hospital.

They are fully trained doctors who have completed a minimum of three years of residency training and who also may have passed a board examination in a specialty. Attending physician and handling patients at a hospital is called the Medical Staff.

The attending physicians are wholly in control of patient care and are responsible for patient primary care. They must see patients daily, review treatment plans with residents and supervise the management of patients’ health. Attending physicians can help in teaching or supervising interns, residents and medical students.

6. Hospitalist


These are physicians who focus solely on the care of hospitalized patients. They are usually hired either by the hospital or by a medical group that contracts with the hospital.

In various hospitals, hospitalists take over duty from the regular doctor and function as attending physicians a patient enters the hospital. Whereas they serve as a backup to the attending physician.

7. Medical Directors

Finally, these are physician leaders who oversee all the staff physicians on staff and organize all aspects of both inpatient and also outpatient care in hospitals.

They work to establish institutional policies as well as practices that will ensure high-quality care to patients.  All of the physicians ultimately respond to the medical director.

That will be all for the ranks of doctors in hospitals. So when next you pay a visit to the hospital, get to interact with the people attending to you in order to know their ranks.

Types of Doctors

When a person has a medical problem, they may seek medical advice from a doctor. There are many different types of doctors, and the type of doctor a person chooses is largely determined by their unique condition.

The types of doctors include:

Primary care doctors

Credit: Graham Oliver

A person can seek help from a primary care physician for mild ailments.

A primary care physician is a doctor who specializes in the following areas:

  • treats mild ailments
  • answers health-related queries
  • performs health examinations
  • provides standard health checks, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, sugar tests
  • refers people to other specialists when appropriate
  • collects all of a person’s medical records in one place


Paediatricians specialize in the treatment of children from infancy to young adulthood.

Geriatric medicine doctors

Geriatric medicine specialists, often known as geriatricians, specialize in caring for the elderly.


An allergist or immunologist is a doctor who specializes in the prevention and treatment of allergic illnesses and disorders. Allergies and asthma are common among these conditions.

After getting a medical license, allergists must undergo extra years of study in the speciality of allergy and immunology.

Internal medicine or paediatrics training is also required for allergists.


Dermatologists specialize in skin, fingernails, and hair disorders and problems. Eczema, melanoma, pimples, and dermatitis are among the disorders they address.

Dermatologists can conduct some operations in the office, such as wart or lesion removal. Cosmetic treatments such as laser treatments, dermal filler treatments, and skin rejuvenation are also available.

Infectious disease doctors

An infectious disease Doctors specialize in communicable diseases and disorders. These may include the following:

  • candidiasis
  • hepatitis
  • infections following surgery or hospitalization
  • chlamydia
  • pneumonia
  • infections caused by parasites
  • HIV


Ophthalmologists are doctors who specialize in the care of the eyes and eyesight. They can diagnose and heal eye disorders and diseases, as well as to conduct corrective surgery.

Ophthalmologists see patients for regular vision care, such as prescription lenses and conducting checks, as well as for complex eye diseases.


Obstetricians and gynaecologists

Obstetricians and gynaecologists (OB/GYNs) are doctors that specialize in the prevention and treatment of female health problems. These are some of them:

  • the health of female parts
  • breast health
  • pregnancy
  • delivery and labour
  • infertility
  • menopause

Many women will visit an OB/GYN on a frequent basis throughout their pregnancy, as well as during labour and delivery. They may also pay them a visit for routine checks and screenings, such as pap tests and breast exams.


Cardiologists specialize in the veins and arteries which make up the cardiovascular system. They can help with a variety of cardiovascular issues, including:

  • blood pressure that is too high
  • elevated cholesterol levels
  • Stroke and myocardial disease
  • issues with the heart rhythm

Cardiologists are capable of performing a wide range of tests and treatments. They do not, however, do cardiac surgery.

Cardiologists must also have completed residency programs in internal medicine or paediatrics.


Endocrinologists specialize in abnormalities and diseases of the endocrine system. This system includes numerous glands in the body that produce and release hormones.


Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialize in the gastrointestinal process. The oesophagus, pancreas, gut, liver, digestive tract, cecum, and gallbladder are all included.

Endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy are all procedures performed by gastroenterologists.

Gastroenterologists must also have completed residency programs in internal medicine or paediatrics.


A nephrologist is a doctor who specializes in renal care and diseases that affect the kidneys. The following are some of the conditions they can help with:

renal failure

Renal (kidney) failure


stones in the kidneys



Nephrologists are also trained in dialysis and kidney transplantation.

Internal medicine or paediatrics training is also required.


Urologists treat both males and females with urinary tract problems. They also pay attention to the health of men’s reproductive organs.

Some urologists specialize in one aspect of the field, such as feminine urology or male infertility.


The organs involved in breathing are the attention of pulmonologists. The lungs and heart are among them.

In hospitals, pulmonologists may offer ventilation or life support.

They also handle breathing issues, lung diseases, and allergies in their office.

Internal medicine or paediatrics training is also required for pulmonologists.

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