Researching a Doctor’s Training

Sometimes the challenge of writing a medical scene is knowing how young or old to make your physician based on their medical training. Some specialties require many years of training and others not so much (as far as specialized fellowships, etc.)

In my current novel, I needed to figure out what type of training my physician needed to go through. He’s a pediatric transplant surgeon.

Here were the basics.

College: Four years
Medical School: Four Years
Surgical Residency: Four-Six Years
Cardiothoracic Sugery Fellowship: Two Years
Pediatric Cardiothoracic Fellowhsip: One-Two Years

Why the varied length? One interesting thing I read was that surgeons were required to have a certain number of particular procedures before graduating which makes perfect sense. We can’t guarantee when certain types of patients will come in but we’d definitely want a doctor to have a certain number of cases under his belt before hanging a sign on his door.

It was also interesting to learn that some hospitals are going to combined surgical residencies where the specialty they want to do is combined with their surgical residency. So, perhaps the training could be complete in six years versus the nine years above (for the cardiothoracic portion.) 

It’s probably easier now than ever before to ferret this out on the internet because doctors generally list their training, where they went and how long it took.

The easiest way to approach this is to Google search the type of physician your character is. For instance, in my case, I did “pediatric heart transplant surgeon”. Then looked up a couple of profiles to see what type of training they’d been through.

This could be done with any specialty.

What kind of doctors have you written about?

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