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Medical education

Medical training involves several years of university study followed by several more years of residential practice at a hospital. Entry to a medical degree in some countries (such as the United States) requires the completion of another degree first, while in other countries (such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand) medical training can be commenced as an undergraduate degree immediately after secondary education.

The name of the medical degree gained at the end varies: some countries (e.g. the US) call it "Doctor of Medicine" (abbreviated 'M.D.'), while other countries (mostly following the British Oxbridge system) call it "Medicinæ Baccalaureus & Baccalaureus Chirurgiæ" (Latin for "Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery", Old English: "Chirurgie"); this is technically a double degree, frequently abbreviated 'MB BChir', 'MB ChB', 'MB BS' (or variations thereof), dependent on the medical school. In either case, graduates of a medical degree may call themselves physician. In the US and some other countries there is a parallel system of medicine called "osteopathy" which awards the degree D.O. (doctor of osteopathy). In many countries, a doctorate of medicine does not require original research as does, in distinction, a Ph.D..

Once graduated from medical school most physicians begin their residency/house post training, where skills in a speciality of medicine are learned, supervised by more experienced doctors. The first year of residency is known as the "intern" year (USA) or "junior/pre-registration house officer" year (UK). The duration of residency training depends on the speciality.

A medical graduate can then enter general practice and become a general practitioner (or primary care internist in the USA); training for these is generally shorter, while specialist training is typically longer.

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