Hospital Residency In The United States

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The hospital residency program is a paid medical training experience program that is conducted for medical graduates who have successfully completed their medical specialization. The residency program in the United States is hospital based. Medical graduates gain medical instruction and supervised medical experience within the hospital, working with patients in the area of their medical specialization.

In the United States, the duration of a hospital residency would typically be from about 3 years to 8 years depending on the medical specialization that the intern has chosen. Some of the medical specializations options include internal medicine, surgery, orthopedics, gynecology, pediatrics, otolaryngology, obstetrics, oncology, psychiatry, anesthesiology or some other specialty. Within that there are several other sub-specialties depending on what type of medical work a medical graduate wishes to pursue. 

Gap Medics student Liam on hospital placement in Iringa, Tanzania Most hospitals in USA choose their hospital residency candidates from among a pool of medical applicants who participate in the “Match” process. This is a centralized “Matching” system wherein candidates are matched with the appropriate hospital residency training positions. This Match process gives the medical graduates the opportunity to personally determine their preferences, while simultaneously giving the hospitals the opportunity to rank hospital residency applicants. These preference lists are then merged by computer at the National Resident Matching NRMP. The hospital residency ‘matching’ process results are announced annually in March.

Hospital residency programs in USA typically look for medical graduates who have obtained USMLE scores above 200/82. Those with higher USMLE scores are always given preference. Consideration is also given to those graduates who have had hospital work experience in the US and those who have glowing recommendation letters from physicians or other medical professionals that the medical graduates have worked with. 

A personal statement outlining goals, valid reasons for wanting to pursue the medical profession, preferred medical specialization, and special interests are also some of the other factors that hold weight in the selection process.  Medical graduates are advised to plan ahead in order to meet these requirements safely and comfortably before the hospital residency Match deadlines.

USMLE

The United States Medical Licensing Examination or USMLE is a multi-part professional medical exam. All medical doctors or medical graduates are required to pass the USMLE exam before obtaining their certification allowing them to practice medicine in American hospitals. The USMLE appraises a physician’s or doctor’s ability to apply medical principles, medical concepts and medical knowledge for safe and effective patient care. 

The USMLE consists of 3 steps. Medical students who have graduated from a US med school will have to pass all 3 USMLE steps before being eligible to apply for a license to practice medicine in American hospitals.

Medical students who have graduated from non-US medical schools and international medical graduates must pass all three steps of the USMLE exam to be licensed to practice medicine in the US hospitals, irrespective of the current title of their medical degree. With the number of applications far outnumbering the limited number of available hospital residencies, international medical students  have to put in more effort to secure the right hospital residency position. 

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