A career as a doctor can be both fulfilling and gratifying. If you want to become a doctor, you probably already know that it takes years of study, practical training, and experience. After graduating from a medical school, you may wish to further pursue a residency program to become a resident doctor.
A resident doctor is a medical school graduate seeking training in the chosen medical profession. Aspiring doctors provide direct care to patients during their training. They work on appropriate patient management and treatment strategies, contact them regularly, perform medical examinations, and arrange essential treatments. If you are looking at this as a potential career option or are willing to be a resident doctor, the below sections will walk you through the steps to follow. As we discuss how to become a resident doctor, you will also get information on their career growth path, duties, and remuneration.
How to become a resident doctor?
If you wish to be a resident doctor, follow these steps:
- Complete post-secondary education
If you want to become a resident doctor, you will have to first complete higher secondary education (10+2) with physics, chemistry, and biology subjects. Many medical schools set minimum score criteria, ranging from 50% to 60%. You can also choose to take mathematics as an elective. During their higher secondary education, academic years, many students also study for medical entrance exams like NEET by enrolling for special coaching and test series to be able to clear the entrance with good scores.
- Clear the NEET test
To get admission to a well-known and reputed medical college, candidates need to clear the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). You can appear for the NEET exam after completing higher secondary education. Students have to prepare well for this test to get good scores and thereby get admitted into the best medical schools.
- Complete your bachelor’s degree
The next step in becoming a resident doctor is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in medicine. The most common undergraduate medical degree is Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). The completion of a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for becoming a doctor. After passing the medical entrance exam, you can apply for admission to a medical school to pursue an MBBS.
- Obtain a medical license
A medical license is obtained after passing the MBBS exam and completing a one-year internship including residency in a medical institution recognized by the Medical Council of India (differs in different countries). The prerequisites for obtaining a license may differ based on where you intend to practice medicine. You may also have to pay fees to get a license.
- Acquire relevant experience
Working in hospitals and medical facilities that hire medical graduates with MBBS degrees can help you get the required experience. Topmost hospitals prefer hiring medical experts with experience. Getting relevant experience can help in gaining important clinical skills and eventually assist in handling the responsibilities of a resident doctor.
- Prepare and apply for junior resident positions
Start looking for relevant resident doctor positions after earning the MBBS degree and gaining experience. Apply for jobs that match your profile and experience. Read the job description thoroughly before tailoring the resume. You can also prepare for the interview by understanding the job requirements and description properly to showcase yourself as a promising candidate.
- Finish post-graduation course
Many junior resident doctors pursue post-graduate degrees, such as MD or MS, to advance to the position of a senior resident doctor while working as a junior resident doctor. To achieve growth in your medical profession, you can earn a master’s degree or doctorate. Senior resident doctors are those who have completed three years of residency and have a postgraduate degree.
Areas where a resident doctor needs to have training
- Maintain professionalism
For patients to feel safe and secure, professionalism is essential in medical practice. In all circumstances, resident doctors adhere to a set of professional standards. Cultural awareness, integrity, discipline, and the ability to remain calm are crucial attributes for maintaining professionalism throughout your career.
- Pay close attention to the details
Medical science is a very detail-oriented area where attention to detail is critical, especially in the early stages of investigation, in studying a patient’s history and prescribing dosages. During all stages of patient therapy, resident doctors are thorough in their job and pay close attention to detail. In fast-paced environments, where numerous distractions make it difficult to focus on a task, attention to detail becomes even more important.
To avoid medical malpractice as a resident doctor, practicing observation, focus, delegation, and alertness is important.
- Communication and interpersonal abilities
Interpersonal skills are frequently used by resident doctors to build a healthy doctor-patient connection. When communicating with patients, nurses and other health care workers require good communication skills. Patients should be able to understand your medical suggestions, diagnoses, and treatments. Strong interpersonal and communication skills can assist you in speaking with compassion and displaying sensitivity toward your patients. Workshops, volunteering, and participating in various activities can together help you enhance these skills.
- Time management
Resident doctors are responsible for several activities, including patient care, assessment and treatment plans, and surgical assistance. You’ll need good organizational and time management abilities to successfully manage, prioritize, and accomplish all of these duties. The ability to efficiently manage time is a valuable skill that can help improve your performance during the residency program.
- Humanity and empathy
Resident doctors employ empathy to meet patients’ emotional needs and respond appropriately to their concerns. Resident doctors must be able to understand what their patients are going through. Patients are happier with resident doctors who pay attention to their issues and understand their viewpoint.
- Teaming up with colleagues
A resident doctor’s job includes working with other healthcare experts, including surgeons, nurses, technicians, and administrative staff. The doctors can deliver the greatest possible patient care and treatment if they have good teamwork skills. Working with a group in complex medical conditions and participating in research initiatives can help you improve teamwork skills. You can collaborate with other medical professionals to provide the finest possible patient care.
- Optimistic outlook
Patients who are stressed or emotional can benefit from resident doctors who have a pleasant attitude. A good attitude also aids patients in maintaining patience and continuing to receive treatment for illnesses. Workplace stress and frequent interactions with patients might make it difficult to maintain a positive attitude.
- Technical abilities
Resident doctors execute a variety of clinical procedures that necessitate varied technical abilities. Injection, stomach tube insertion, arterial puncture, insertion, and removal of IUDs are among the technical and other routine skills that aspiring resident doctors can learn. Technical skills on a resident doctor’s CV might help one in standing out from the crowd.
- Stress reduction
Resident doctors deal with the lives of people, thus they are under a lot of stress. Those who can effectively handle stress can best devote their time to patient care. Exercise regularly, eat well, and get enough sleep to avoid stress. Staying healthy is of utmost importance to stay stress-free and thereby perform your duty of taking care of patients.
In most cases, resident doctors practice in hospitals under the supervision of a senior doctor. Their residency, sometimes known as a residency program, can last anywhere from three to seven years. During their residency, medical school graduates develop important skills and handle various responsibilities.
After completing residency, a majority of the doctors start a private practice, work for a hospital, or choose to join a group practice. Some residents, especially those interested in research or specialties, such as neurosurgery, neonatology, and pathology, opt for a fellowship of one or two years after their residency to get hands-on experience of advanced techniques in their sub-specialty area.
Doctors can apply for unrestricted medical license after completing their residency training. They can then consider private practice or employment in a clinic or hospital. It is time to take a full-time job to repay the enormous student loans taken to fund medical studies.
- Certification by a Board of Directors
After completing residency, doctors may choose to pursue board certification in their field. Board certification is a voluntary credential that certifies a doctor’s understanding of a specific medical specialty, such as pediatrics, internal medicine, orthopedics, or pathology. To be eligible to take a board certification exam, you must complete a residency program accredited by the medical specialty.
You may realize that you have successfully executed more tasks or that you have taken on a leadership role as your career progresses. Resident doctors can further identify their professional aspirations as they proceed through their training. For instance, they could begin with the title of Medical Officer, advance to the title of Medical Director, and finally to the title of Senior Medical Director.
A resident doctor’s average pay
A resident doctor’s average annual pay depends upon his specialization and experience. The remuneration of a resident doctor varies depending on the total and relevant experience, the size of the medical institution, and the location of the position.
A fresher graduate in India gets a package of a minimum of 12-15 lakh/annum. A mid-level residential doctor enjoys a pay of 55-60 lakh/annum. If you have a postgraduate degree, years of relevant experience, and required expertise, you can expect a higher starting salary.