Who Is A Resident Doctor In Nigeria? An Inside Look At The People Behind The White Coats

Who is a medical doctor in Nigeria
Who is a medical doctor in Nigeria

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Introduction

Who is a resident doctor in Nigeria?

Have you heard the term “resident doctors” in Nigeria? What does it actually mean? This is what it’s this blog post is about, to explain to you what resident doctors mean and what their roles and responsibilities are

Who is a resident doctor in Nigeria?

A Resident doctor is a medical professional who has completed their medical school training, holds an MBBS degree and has been admitted for further training so as to become a specialist in a particular area of the medical field.

Resident doctors play a very important role in the health care system.

They are like the gatekeepers in the teaching hospital system.

They are likened to the machines or the engine room of patient care.

This is because they’re very involved, very much involved in patients’ care and know virtually every detail about the patients.

What does it take to become a medical resident?

To become a medical resident, a queuevas said earlier, the person must have:


1) completed medical school and obtained an MBBS or MbChB degree.

2) completed his housemanship.

The housemanship is a one year supervised training or work experience by new doctors, where they hone their skills while making a transition from the theoretical medical school teachings to practical reallife doctor work.

3) completed the NYSC program

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a one year mandatory “service to the fatherland” which every Nigerian graduate is expected to undertake.

4) written the Primaries examination in their chosen field.

Primaries is an examination that qualifies one to commence residency training program.

Successful candidates are issued a letter stating they have passed and can now commence residency training in any institution of their choice.

5) be admitted into an accredited hospital to start the residency training programme

Residency training is done in most teaching hospitals in Nigeria, as well as in some General hospitals and even private hospitals.

These hospitals normally advertise for vacant resident doctor positions so that they can be quickly filled up by doctors who have obtained their Primaries and who want to get their training at such a hospital.

In some cases, interviews are scheduled and successful candidates are selected and issued with their appointment letters as resident doctors.

They can now commence residency training.

Do resident doctors get paid in Nigeria?

Yes, resident doctors get paid in Nigeria. This is because in residency training program, the resident doctor is a “full doctor”. He is a critical member of the unit and brings his time, efforts and skills into patient care.

With these salaries, they can take care of themselves and their families and also invest in training and education to make themselves better doctors in that area of their residency training.

What is “resident” about resident doctors?

In order to practice effectively, the resident doctors spend long hours in the hospital. Resident doctors have call rooms in hospitals where they stay overnight so they can attend to their patients while on call.

They also have reading rooms and Residents Common Room or Lounge.

This makes it possible for the resident to stay within the hospital as much as possible, even when they are not actively attending to a patient.

In most institutions, because of space and some othe constraints, residents do not have buildings where they live within the hospital.

However, most of them live around the hospital where they work for easy access to the hospital.

What are the working conditions of resident doctors in Nigeria?

For many resident doctors, working conditions in Nigeria is a mixture of good and bad.

1) First of all, there are issues of long hours of work and large patient load.

This is because there are now more doctors who have left Nigeria for better work opportunities abroad.

Many hospitals complain of less resident doctors to work with.

This means that the work that would have done by, say, ten resident doctors are now being done by three or four resident doctors in some centers.

Some department units don’t even have a resident doctor anymore, especially junior residents.

So this makes work tedious, in some cases stressful. And this does not augur well both for the doctor and the patient in terms of quality of care and even the ability of the doctor to good clinical judgment because of the fatigue.

2) Next thing we look at is pay.

Pay for resident doctors is not as optimal as it should be.

They put in a lot of time and effort.

Then, there are still doctors in training, meaning they have to buy books, they have to write examinations, and they have to take care of themselves as well as their family.

They also need to have some savings.

So this makes it challenging.

They are not paid as optimally as they should.

This has resulted in avoidable strike actions by resident doctors under the auspices of the National Association Of Resident Doctos (NARD) in order to press him their demands for better welfare.

Some resident doctors engage in private practice and even businesses in order to make ends meet.

This is not really what it should be, because it can be a distraction from the main aim of the residency training in the first place.

At what age do doctors become residents?

There is no specified age for doctors to become residents in Nigeria.

It basically depends on when you leave medical school, when you decide to get into the residency training and when you are employed by an accredited hospital.

Some people graduate from medical school, do their NYSC, and they decide to just work as medical officers for a while.

Some even work up to ten years, for instance, before deciding to go back to do the residency.

Some others decide to start the residency training program immediately after completing their NYSC.

So when you come to the residency program, you are going to see a mixture of different ages, ranging from people in their 20s down to people in their 40s or even 50s.

What are the career prospects for resident doctors in Nigeria?

Having looked at who is a resident doctor in Nigeria and some of the things surrounding them, we are going to be looking at the career prospects of a resident doctor in Nigeria.

Career wise, what does it offer?

For a Junior Resident, after some years of training and successfully writing the exam, he becomes becomes a senior resident doctor.

For senior residents, ultimately they become Fellows of the Colleges, meaning they have successfully completed their training and have been awarded the fellowship of respective colleges.

This means they are now specialists in the area of medical practice.

Eventually they can be employed by the hospital or by other hospitals as
Consultants or Specialists.

At this stage, the pay is better and the opportunities are even better, because of the title “Consultant”.

Consultants get more offers from different hospitals or in different centers to give opinion about some clinical cases.

Wrapping Up

Resident doctors in Nigeria play a very important role in the health care system.

These are roles that should not be taken for granted.

They provide good medical care to patients in collaboration with other members of the medical team.

They also build their experience in their chosen field.

If you really want to do well practising as a medical doctor in Nigeria, you may consider towing the residency training pathway.

It comes its own challenges but has its rewards.

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