Ranks Of Doctors In Hospitals


Doctors are the major reason for which 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, or veterinarian, etc.

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

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

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

Ranks Of Doctors In Hospitals

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

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 apply to students who are studying with the aim of becoming a medical doctor 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 and. 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 for doctors and surgeons. Example 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 they 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-1’s, or PGY-1’s (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 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.

Read: List of All Accredited Medical Schools in Nigeria

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.


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 upon responsibility for patients and ensure that ward requirements are made. In some cases, they can act as assistant primary surgeon. They also attend research and educational conferences.

5. 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 speciality. Attending physicians 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 patient’s 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 your attending physician 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, 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.

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