Medical Staff Titles & Terminology

Attending Physician
The Attending physician is a doctor who has completed Medical School and all residency training and is Board certified or eligible in their particular specialty. The Attending physician is credentialed by the hospital to practice in the hospital and supervises all the care delivered to you by the entire medical team. The Attending physician is responsible for making the final decisions regarding your plan of care.

A fellow is a physician who is undergoing advanced sub-specialty training and has already completed residency training and medical school. Fellows are fully accredited and can serve as Attending physicians in the general medical field in which they were primarily trained while they are training in the subspecialty area.

A resident is a physician who has completed medical school, has a degree in medicine and is receiving further training in a chosen specialized medical field. Residents practice medicine under the supervision of fully credentialed Attending physicians. They can practice both in a hospital or in a clinic.  An “intern” is a physician in their first-year of residency after graduating from Medical School.

Medical Student
A medical student is a college graduate with a minimum of a four-year degree in a science-related field who is studying and learning for four more years to earn a medical degree. Medical students study the art and science of medicine in the classroom while receiving experience in hospital wards and clinics providing patient care. They are closely supervised by residents and Attending physicians.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Nurse practitioners can serve as a patient’s regular healthcare provider and may diagnose, order tests, develop treatment plans and write prescriptions. Nurse practitioners can be certified in a specific medical specialty and usually work in collaboration with a physician. They are accredited through several organizations, including the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Physician Assistant (PA)
Physician assistants are licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of an Attending physician in a clinic or hospital. They may diagnose and treat patients and prescribe medicine, and some may be surgical assistants. Their education requires a bachelor's degree, plus two to three years of additional physician assistant training.