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Attending Physician

What is an attending physician?

An attending physician is a doctor responsible for providing care for a patient in a hospital or other clinical facility. Every attending physician is board-certified and has completed their residency training. As the highest level of physician, the attending physician has final responsibility for all patient care, even if someone under them provides the care.

In addition to providing patient care, the attending physician may also be responsible for supervising and teaching residents, interns, or medical students who also play a role in providing patient care.

Depending on the field of medicine someone pursues, the road to attending physician may take seven or more years, with some specialties taking 14+ years of post-undergraduate studies and training.

Why is the attending physician critical in healthcare?

The attending physician is a doctor who has completed all their schooling and is now an expert in their field of medicine or surgery. In addition to being responsible for providing patient care, the attending physician trains up-and-coming physicians, ensuring the future medical workforce can complete their job.

The attending physician is also able to provide direct care to the patients without supervision and is not limited in the services they can deliver.