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Medical Definitions

Definition of Residency

Residency is a period of advanced training and medical specialty that normally follows graduation from a medical school (usually a D.O., M.D. degree) which can take two to five years depending on the specialty. This might include internship which is usually designed as PGY1 (post graduate year one) and goes up to PGY5 (post graduate year five). Medical or Surgical residency gives the doctor in depth training in a specific branch of medicine.

Definition of Fellowship

Fellowship is a period of medical training that follows residency specialty training. This usually lasts one or two years and may include academic research or further training in sub-specialty.

Definition of Hospital privileges

This is an authority granted to the physician by a hospital or medical staff governing board. Usually under the guidance of a credential committee, which do a background check on the individual physician’s professional license, experience, and competence. They also follow up with the letters of recommendation and checks for prior disciplinary actions. The physician submits a list of privileges requested which will be granted as full or partial privileges according to the scope of his training. Emergency privileges may be granted by a medical staff, chief of medical staff, or chief executive officer of the hospital, in case of emergency without regard to an unusual circumstance.

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Dr Paul M.

Senior Medical Staff Columnist


Dr Paul M. is a board certified surgeon with over 35 years of experience. He has held the title Chief of Staff at several hospitals and maintained a private practice for many years.

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