Who’s Who in a White Coat

Learn the difference between doctors, residents and fellows

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Cleveland Clinic is a teaching hospital, so in addition to staff doctors there are residents and fellows caring for patients. All are MD doctors.  So what’s the difference among them?

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Well, staff doctors at Cleveland Clinic are full-time employees of Cleveland Clinic.  They are recruited from around the world for being the very best in their specialty.  There are more than 150 staff doctors in the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, including cardiologists, cardiac and thoracic surgeons, vascular medicine specialists and vascular surgeons.

Residents are doctors who are just out of medical school.  They “reside” at Cleveland Clinic for three or four years of specialty training.  They work under the supervision of what is called an attending, or senior physician.

Fellows are doctors who have completed their residencies, and are pursuing a particular medical sub-specialty.  As fellows, they care for patients as they receive training from the senior physicians and one another. A fellowship can last anywhere from three to five years – the longer fellowships being for demanding specialties like cardiac surgery.

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Residencies and fellowships at Cleveland Clinic are highly prized, so you can be sure that the residents and fellows you meet at the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute are among the finest young doctors in their fields.

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