Residents and Fellows at Mayo Clinic

Jun 11, 2021 | Kristin Eggebraaten | @keggebraaten | Comments (4)

Mayo Clinic’s residency or fellowship program is the oldest and largest graduate medical education training program in the nation. Mayo Clinic typically has more than 1700 active trainees disbursed throughout the departments of all our locations. At Mayo Clinic, "team approach" is not just a saying, it’s our culture. It’s a way of practicing medicine and caring for patients every day. Here’s some information about education for physicians that you might not know.

What does it mean to be a resident or fellow?

A resident is a graduate of medical school who is taking part in a graduate medical education (GME) program, continuing their education and training in a specialized field of medicine. Residency for this group of doctors could last from 3 to 7 years, depending upon their specialization. Residents at Mayo Clinic are supervised by our staff doctors. The level of supervision varies depending upon how much experience each resident has gained.

A fellow is a graduate of medical school who is already finished with their residency years. Doctors pursue a fellowship to gain expertise in a specialized area of medicine, such as transplant surgery. During a fellowship, a doctor follows a specialist closely to get even more education in a single field of medicine. Not all physicians complete a fellowship, but those who wish to be the top doctors in their field pursue at least another full year of education beyond their residency.

Why is Mayo Clinic a training organization?

The Mayo brothers not only pioneered the development of the integrated group practice of medicine, but also established one of America's first graduate training program in clinical medicine in 1915, enrolling 71 students in its first year.

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is committed to educating health professionals of the future, both to meet the needs of Mayo Clinic as well as to spread the Mayo culture and philosophy of health care beyond the walls of the institution. The school's goal is to be a national and international leader in the transformation of health sciences education.

Mayo Clinic is deeply committed to advancing the science of medicine through research and education. Some of these physicians choose to stay at Mayo Clinic, and others share their knowledge at hospitals around the nation and the world. Mayo Clinic offers superior educational programs that ensure the success of the next generation of medical, scientific, and allied health professionals.

How are residents and fellows supervised at Mayo Clinic?

Staff who work for Mayo Clinic know that they are responsible for teaching others. Mayo Clinic has more than 60,000 staff members who understand that one of the expectations they carry is to train their successors and others to be better than they themselves are. New residents and fellows are never on their own and the transition to patient care responsibilities is gradual and carefully supervised. Each trainee is assigned to a staff physician on each shift and is expected to review each patient’s case with their supervising staff. Faculty trainers participate in workshops designed to share best practices on ways to support trainees and spot and address any concerns. The goal is for each trainee to be successful from day one.

If my case is complex, should I see a resident or fellow as my doctor?

Mayo Clinic is committed to our primary value – the needs of the patient come first. Every patient is treated to the best of our ability, no matter which doctors you are seeing for your visit. In the case of residents and fellows, these physicians are fully educated and credentialed, and are simply getting an even higher level of knowledge in their specialty. They are closely supervised by a staff physician. In essence, you are seeing two doctors for the price of one. Two doctors, two examinations of you and your case, and two opinions about your care and treatment. Mayo Clinic has been using this model for more than 100 years and it works, often even better than the models used by nonteaching hospitals.

We pride ourselves on the excellence of our staff supervisors, the quality of our residents and fellows, and our goal of advancing the science and educating hundreds of physicians each year.

Have you seen a resident or fellow as part of your care? Tell us about your experience.





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I have been treated and followed for the past 12 years by many residents, fellows and very experienced staff team approach. I have always felt I had the best of care and self education throughout.


I was treated by a Fellow just today. He carefully explained everything to me and recommended the proper treatment. I would love to have him permanently follow my case.


I was treated by a Fellow just today. He carefully explained everything to me and recommended the proper treatment. I would love to have him permanently follow my case.

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You should be able to have him follow you at least until he finished his fellowship


I have seen both residents and fellows. Sometimes they leave the room to consult with their supervising physician and often both return to consult with me. I have always felt I have had excellent care atMayo Clinic.

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