Grey's Anatomy Universe Wiki

Chief resident announcement

Residency is a stage of post-graduate medical training. A resident physician/surgeon is a doctor who has received a medical degree and practices medicine under the supervision of fully licensed physicians and/or surgeons, usually in a hospital or clinic. A residency may follow the internship year or include the internship year as the first year of residency. Successful completion of an internship is a requirement to gain a full license to practice medicine as an attending physician/surgeon and successful completion of a residency program is required by most hospitals. A resident may choose a residency in any specialty of their choosing but may have to complete years in more general training as prerequisites for some specialties.

Residency Match[]

In order to gain a residency, a complex process known as "the Match" is used. Primarily, senior medical students apply during their fourth year and are subsequently chosen for interviews. After the interview period, the students submit a "rank-order list" to a centralized system of their preferred residency programs. The residency program director then submits a similar ranked order of candidates into the same system. When the two entries match, the applicant is made aware on "Match Day". The applicant is then obligated to that program for the program length and vice-versa.


Sometimes, a resident is unable to complete a residency program due to certain circumstances, such as death, marriage, relocation, mergers, etc. This results in residency programs having openings that allow for a transfer without using the match system. Transfers are usually under the discretion of the residency program directors.


If transfers aren't available (i.e. hospital closure), a resident could re-match using the matching system. Once matched, resident and program are again obligated to one another.

Residency Programs[]

Program Director[]

The residency program director is in charge of all the decisions regarding a hospital's educational program. Appointed by the chief of surgery, the residency program director handles the organization and implementation of an educational program with guidance and supervision of the resident, facilitating the resident’s ethical, professional, and personal development while ensuring safe and appropriate care for patients.

Responsibilities include interviewing prospective candidates, processing those candidates through the matching program, resident in-take, resident service assignments, resident evaluations, and if need be, resident disciplinary action or separation. This position works closely with the hospital's chief and board.

Notable Program Directors[]

Surgical Residency Programs[]

Medical Residency Programs[]

  • Pathology Residency is a 4-year program training solely in pathology. The first year in this program is also the intern year.
  • Psychiatry Residency is a 4-year program training solely in psychiatry. The first year in this program is also the intern year.
  • Radiology Residency is a 4-year program training solely in radiology. The first year in this program is also the intern year.
  • Emergency Medicine Residency is a 3-year program training solely in emergency medicine. The first year in this program is also the intern year.
  • Internal Medicine Residency is a 3-year program training in internal medicine. The first year in this program is also the intern year.
  • Neurology Residency is a 3-year program training solely in neurology. An internship in internal medicine is required prior to beginning the program.
  • Pediatrics Residency is a 3-year program training solely in pediatrics. The first year in this program is also the intern year.

Research Year[]

A residency program can have an optional research year. This allows the resident to take a year-long break from the clinical training of their generalist specialty and devote that time for academic/clinical research. The research year can be taken at the resident's current facility or at an entirely different facility, depending on the parameters of the research project.

Preminger Grant[]

Every year, the Preminger Grant allows a resident to be awarded one full research year in residence at the Preminger Research Center in New York City. Grant eligibility is available to any resident in any year. Resident-applicants are expected to describe themselves and submit their proposed research project on its relevance to the human or animal health, advancement of knowledge, and/or for the good of society. After submitting their application, residents are nominated by attendings, and the Chief of Surgery selects the grant recipient.

Military Service[]

Residents could also opt to use military service as a research year.

Chief Resident[]

The chief resident, as described by Sydney Heron, is "the fifth year resident that rules over all residents." The chief resident also handles training, call schedules, and assignments of other residents on top of their own responsibilities to ensure that the department runs smoothly.

Notable Chief Residents[]

Notable Residents[]

Current Residents[]

Former Residents[]




"Resident Limbo"[]

The following characters were still residents during their last appearance, but because time has moved on significantly, they are logically no longer in their residency. Since it's also possible they have not completed their residency, it would be wrong to just assume they currently hold attending status. Therefore, they are in "resident limbo".

Notes and Trivia[]

  • Typically, residents are on-call for 30 hours straight.
  • Dr. George O'Malley died shortly before completing his second year as a resident.
  • It is unknown who succeeded Dr. Miranda Bailey as Chief Resident in the following class when she completed her residency. It is also unknown who succeeded Dr. April Kepner in the following class.
  • Dr. Arizona Robbins was Chief Resident of her class at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • In the real world, there is a Chief Resident for each residency program, and because Dr. Callie Torres was an ortho resident, she would have presided over other ortho residents, not the other surgical residents as they were in the general surgery program.
  • While neurosurgery is its own residency program and takes seven years in the real world, both Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice portray neurosurgery as a fellowship, requiring a standard five-year surgical residency.
  • While urology is its own residency program in the real world, Grey's Anatomy portrays urology as a fellowship, requiring a surgical residency.
  • Dr. Sam Bennett is the only cardiothoracic surgeon [of the main cast], on both shows so far, revealed to have taken the cardio residency program vs. other cardiothoracic surgeons who completed a surgical residency followed by a cardio fellowship. Another doctor, Chris, was revealed to undergo a cardio residency: he was introduced as a fourth-year cardio surgical resident at Cleveland Clinic.
  • Although anesthesiologists are not considered surgeons, they are part of the surgical divisions and departments within a hospital's hierarchy. In the real world, in some large teaching hospitals, anesthesiologists are grouped into their own department but work very closely with the surgical divisions.
  • In an alternate reality, Dr. Alex Karev was chief resident instead of Dr. April Kepner.
  • Despite a new residency year occurring in She's Leaving Home signifying the fifth year for Jo, Stephanie, and Ben, no chief resident was named for that class as normally announced at the end of the fourth year. As of Out of Nowhere, Jo is named Chief Resident of her class.
  • There is significant variation across the series in the extent to which residents can perform surgery unsupervised. For example, in the earlier seasons, Miranda Bailey, Callie Torres, and Sydney Heron operate on patients without an attending being in the OR with them. However, in the later seasons, the residents appear to work under tighter supervision by attending surgeons. This could be attributed either to the complexity of the procedure and/or changes in hospital protocol.

See Also[]