What does the MD degree (minus residency) do for you?

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WaitingImpatiently

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Perhaps not the best subject line...

Anyway, what does residency accomplish? I know that's where MDs really get to learn their specialty, but a med school grad has the MD degree nonetheless... can someone practice medicine right out of med school without going through residency?

Off a tangent, is there some sort of comprehensive exam you have to take at the end of your residency term?

Thanks
 

Jim Picotte

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You can't get your permanent license until you pass Step 3 and every state has a different requirement on when you can take it. In Michigan you need at least 6 months of residency before you can sit for the step and they require 2 years of residency in order to actually get your permanent license. I suppose with your permanent license, you could practice medicine although you wouldn't get priveledges at any hospitals. I honestly don't know if anyone does this.

As for residencies, yes as far as I know every specialty has an exam at the end of their residency. Hence you'll see that a doctor is Board certified which means they've completed the residency and passed all exams. Some specialties have an oral exam after you've been out practicing for a couple years as well.
 

The Pill Counter

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Do you know which states specifically allow you to take Step 3 at anytime (ie. no stipulation on residency time)?
Thanks
 

Jim Picotte

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There's several. Goto <a href="http://www.fsmb.org," target="_blank">www.fsmb.org,</a> click on USMLE, then Step 3 and towards the bottom of the page there is a link for state-specific requirements. California doesn't require any residency training to sit for it neither do several other states.
 

Kluver Bucy

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Or just <a href="http://www.fsmb.org/2002USMLE/2002part3.htm" target="_blank">click here.</a>
 

AJM

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Even though California doesn't require any residency time before Step 3 is taken, that does not mean that you can get a medical license in California if you haven't done any residency (It's probably like that in the other states that don't have strict Step 3 prereqs, but I'm not sure). The CA medical board makes it clear that taking and passing Step 3 does not guarantee that you will get your license. In fact, the licensing requirements are that you have to complete an internship, among some other things -- that's my understanding from the paperwork they gave me.

Pretty much, if you want to be qualified to do anything with your medical degree, you have to do at least one year of residency to get a license. Once you're licensed, you can practice medicine, but you will not be reimbursed well (or at all) by insurance companies, and you will most likely not get hospital priveledges. The only physicians that I've heard of who are licensed but not Board-certified are the physicians who work at student health at my school.
 

sistermike

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I can think of one thing you can do with your MD degree without doing any residency. You can do infomercials! Those programs about new diet systems and you have Dr. John Doe who says that this diet is the best! :D
 

Sevo

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by WaitingImpatiently:
•Perhaps not the best subject line...

Anyway, what does residency accomplish? I know that's where MDs really get to learn their specialty, but a med school grad has the MD degree nonetheless... can someone practice medicine right out of med school without going through residency?

Off a tangent, is there some sort of comprehensive exam you have to take at the end of your residency term?

Thanks•••••Many states require that you can't practice medicine without completing a minimum of one year of residency (an internship) and passing Step III.

Technically, after internship and fulfilling licensure requirements, you could theoretically practice as a GP in some states (or the federal prison system) without completing the rest of your residency. However, most insurance companies will not insure you and most hospitals will not grant you privileges -- in effect, keeping you from practicing.

There's really not much you can do with a MD degree outside of practicing medicine. You could use it as a springboard for post-graduate bench work, and when combined with a MBA or JD, for a career in a specialized field of law or business (pharmaceuticals and biotech come to mind).

As for your last question -- yes, in order to become "boarded" or certified in your field -- you will need to take a written (and in some fields, also an oral) exam administered by the governing body of that speciality.
 
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