The road from medical school to practice runs through a residency, a period where medical school graduates work directly under the supervision of fully qualified doctors. Although these doctors aren't fully qualified to work independently, they assume the roles and responsibilities of a staff doctor. While working as a resident, doctors face long hours and salaries far below the average for their field.
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The average resident's salary is £26,000 annually as of January 2011, according to Salary List. It's typical for doctors who are in residency programs to work more than 80 hours a week, although organisations such as the American Medical Association and the American Orthopaedic Association are attempting to cap a resident's weekly workload at 80 hours a week. Salaries for residents are usually paid for through federal funds through programs such as Medicare.
Salaries by City
The amount of money a resident physician makes depends on how far into his residency he is, as well as the city in which he receives his training. Second-year residents in Atlanta earn the highest average annual salary at £72,993 as of January 2011, according to Salary Expert. Those in Indianapolis and Charlotte, North Carolina, also earn above the normal rate for second-year residents, earning average salaries of £71,186 and £70,786, respectively.
Comparison to General Practitioner Salary
Residents earn far less than fully qualified doctors. The average annual salary for general practitioners and family practice doctors is £104,344 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS; 90 per cent of all general practitioners earn more than £53,709 each year. The £26,000 average salary for residents is slightly below 25 per cent of the average annual salary for physicians.
In recent years, sectors of the medical training industry have begun to challenge the workloads that hospitals place on their residents. Although the implications of fatigue on quality of care provided by residents has long been a concern, the Association of American Medical Colleges reveals that, amid rising patient loads, hospitals are relying more heavily on low-paid residents to provide care as a means to manage their payroll costs.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Family and General Practitioners --- Occupational Employment and Wages
- "Medicare and Graduate Medical Education"; Baumgardner, James; 1995
- Association of American Medical Colleges: Resident Workload Debate Unveils Bigger Picture