Residents vs Intern: Difference and Comparison

Residents and interns are both at different levels of medical training. Both of the levels can be considered doctors, but doctors at each level have different duties and different tasks assigned to them.

While the former has more freedom to do tasks individually, the latter has a comparatively lower degree of freedom. After completing medical school, one can enter into an internship.

While after this, one can perform individually, many choose to continue practicing as resident doctors, which is the next step after internship.

Key Takeaways

  1. Residents are medical professionals who have completed medical school and are undergoing speciality training, while interns are medical graduates in their first year of postgraduate training.
  2. Residents have more clinical experience and responsibility than interns, managing patient care under the supervision of attending physicians.
  3. Interns are in the early stages of their medical careers, learning and practicing clinical skills under the guidance of residents and attending physicians.

Residents vs Intern

Residents are more experienced doctors who have completed their medical school training and specialize in a particular area of medicine. Interns are recent graduates from medical school who support residents by helping with tasks such as taking vital signs, etc., under supervision.

Residents vs Intern

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Resident doctors are doctors that have graduated from an internship.

They practice their own specialty during this period of time, and, depending on what they choose, residency may stretch from a minimum of 2 years to a maximum of 7 years on average.

They can do some work individually but are under the supervision of their attending physicians.

Intern doctors referred to as first-year residents, are also doctors that enter into training for the first time after graduation from post-medical school.

They remain interns for no more than a year and are always under the guidance and supervision of senior doctors. During this period of time, they are assigned various tasks and assignments in different fields before they choose one specific field.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison  Residents  Intern 
 Definition Resident doctors are those that have passed their internship and are under training.  Doctors that have freshly enrolled in post-medical school are called interns.  
Years of practice Depending upon their specialty, the years of practice may range from 2 to 7 years.  An internship is for a maximum of 1 year. 
Primary Duties The duties of a resident doctor are to check the patient’s help, perform the initial task, etc.  The primary duties of an intern doctor are to admit the patient, blood-taking, etc.  
Experience  Resident doctors have a minimum of 1 year of experience.  Intern doctors do not have any prior experience.  
Focus  The prime focus of resident doctors is on their chosen specialty.  Intern doctors are trained in various medical sectors and do not have any primary focus.  
Levels  There are various levels of residency, such as: chief resident, senior resident, and junior resident.  There are no levels in an internship.  

What is Residents? 

After a doctor has passed his or her internship status, which goes around for a year, he or she gets the resident status. A resident is anything after a medical student graduates from his or her first year of training.

Residents’ doctors are eligible to work independently, but, however, they are supervised by senior attending physicians for the final results.

Resident doctors have earned an M.D. degree and are training in a specific sector of their choice to become doctors.

Depending on the specialty chosen, residency may be anything from 2 to 7 years. Some duties of a resident doctor are as follows:  

  1. Performing initial tests and assignments on the patients. 
  2. Following up with the patient’s health.
  3. Coming up with various plans for the effective treatment of the patient.
  4. Identifying and discussing the various symptoms of the patient and recording them thereafter.  

What is Intern?  

When new doctors enroll for the first time in post-medical school for the first year, they are called interns.

They are also referred to as first-year residents as the time duration of their internship is one year, soon after which they become resident doctors.

An intern is seen in their typical white gowns and is under the supervision and instructions of their fellow seniors. Interns are not given the authority to perform tasks individually and are assigned various tasks in different fields.

The basic roles and responsibilities of an intern’s doctor are 

  1. A-Admission: The interns are the first that would run a background check on the patient as soon as he or she is admitted to the ward. 
  2. B-Blood taking: They are expected to run various tests on the blood sample and detect abnormalities. 
  3. C-Cannulation: Interns may also perform this specific task of inserting or removal of fluid or gathering samples. 
  4. D-Discharge summaries: When the patient is discharged, the intern is responsible for gathering all the files of the patient and ensuring their follow-up medications.  

Main Differences Between Residents and Intern

  1. Residents are intern-graduated doctors that have more experience, while interns are young doctors that have just entered post-medical school. 
  2. Depending on the specialty chosen, residency status may last from 2 to 7 years, while an intern status may last for a maximum of 1 year.
  3. A resident doctor can perform some tasks individually, while an intern cannot perform any task individually. 
  4. During the residency year, the prime focus is on the chosen specialty of the doctor, while during the internship year, the doctor is juggled between various fields of medicine and sectors. 
  5. Resident doctors are somewhat experienced because they have already surpassed a year of training. On the other hand, interns are not well trained and have just recently enrolled.  
  6. The primary duties of a resident doctor are that he or she looks after a patient, follows up with the patient’s health, Coming up with various plans for the patient’s health betterment. On the other hand, intern doctors are assigned the responsibility of blood-taking, admitting patients, creating discharge procedures, etc. 
Difference Between Residents and Intern



Last Updated : 15 July, 2023

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