Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Medical Jargon Demystified II: Pecking Order

Something that I have always found incredibly confusing until I became a part of this structure myself was the hierarchy of medical education. I thought it may be useful to just clarify who is who and how far along in their educational journey in a post.

  • Attending (This person is definitely a doctor, they are what we usually think of when we say doctor. Undergrad + Med School + Residency (depending on the field, fellowship))
  • Resident (All of these people are technically doctors, they have an MD or DO after their name)
    • PGY (INSERT #) (post graduate year) depending on how long their residency training program is this could be PGY 1 - 10)
    • PGY 1 (these guys are the interns, they are the lowest of the low in the MD totem pole.  They are first years that were medical students between 2 and 10 months ago and act fairly clueless for the better portion of the year)
  • Medical Student (These people are not doctors yet, they DO NOT have MD or DO after their name)
    • M4 (4th year student, operates at a similar level to a PGY1)
    • M3 (3rd year medical student, fairly clueless but depending on how far along in their 3rd year are closer in performance to an M4)
    • M2 (2nd year medical student.  Still in the didactic learning years with minimal clinical exposure, have net to no idea what they're doing)
    • M1 (1st year medical student.  In their first year of didactic learning, little to no clinical exposure, has absolutely no idea what is happening ever)

I hope that little snippet helps give a better understanding of what all these weird letters and titles really mean. 

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