Anyone who spent any amount of time watching medical shows on television heard the term chief resident before. A resident is someone who leads a group of doctors and works as an educator in a hospital or medical setting. You can only obtain this position once you complete your studies and finish your residency, and even then, you may see those positions going to men and women who have twice as much experience as you or even more. Medical students and those interested in studying medicine should look at what residents do and how to become one.

Residency Requirements

Prior to becoming a doctor, you can expect to spend several years in college. It typically takes four years to earn a bachelor's degree, but then you'll spend at least two years or more in medical school. Completing medical school isn't the last step either. You'll then need to gain experience working in a hospital and complete your residency. After gaining some experience working in different fields of medicine, you will complete a residency of at least one year, which gives you more training in a specialized field such as pediatrics or plastic surgery.

Becoming a Resident

The chief resident is the head doctor on staff in that specific department. To obtain one of these positions, you need to show that you are the best person for the job. You can accomplish this through high evaluations and reviews from both your patients and the doctors who supervised your work. You will usually need to submit an application and go through an interview with head doctors as well. Some hospitals may hire from within, but other hospitals look for residents who demonstrate proficiency on the job from other clinics and hospitals in the area or from across the country.

Duties on the Job

The Johns Hopkins Children's Center Magazine followed two residents working in the children's department around for a day and found that one of the duties residents have is the leadership of others. Those residents must work with others on their team to identify symptoms, determine a diagnosis and find a way to treat their patients. They are also responsible for training and recruiting others. They may interview medical school students and determine which ones will work best in that facility, or they may lead new students through training exercises designed to help them work more effectively with their patients.

Why Apply for a Resident Position?

There are a number of reasons why you might apply for a chief resident position. This is one of the highest paid positions in a hospital and can come with a salary of $100,000 or more. Working as the chief of your department lets you demonstrate your skills and may give you time to work on your research. If you have the right team of doctors and nurses working under you, you can trust the work they do with your patients. Working as a resident is sometimes a requirement for working in a teaching hospital or teaching in a medical school too.

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While a hospital might have hundreds of doctors on staff, it will only have a handful of residents running its individual departments. As a chief resident, you are responsible for finding new doctors and students, hiring interns and ensuring that patients receive the care they deserve.