Published on April 14, 2022

A doctor and a resident consulting.

Resident physicians help address need for local family medicine providers

You may have heard the term resident physician and wondered what it really meant. A resident is a doctor who has graduated from medical school and is working in a medical setting while obtaining advanced education and training.

Eight or more years of university education and hands-on classes prepare resident physicians to provide direct medical care to patients. Their next step after earning a medical degree is to apply for a residency associated with a teaching hospital. Resident physicians arrive at the hospitals associated with their residency programs ready to treat patients.

The additional clinical and educational aspects of a resident physician’s training are overseen by faculty physicians of their specialty. The length of residency varies by specialty. Most family medicine providers serve a three-year residency, while a surgical residency may be five to seven years.

The State of Wisconsin Medical Examining Board oversees the licensure of physicians in Wisconsin. The state requires medical school graduates to be accepted into and complete a residency program before they can obtain an unrestricted medical license in the state or apply for licensure in other states.

Educating and training physicians is critically important, now and in the future. Multiple studies indicate an increasing shortage of physicians

A recent report by the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce included this data:

  • By 2035, Wisconsin is expected to experience a primary care physician shortage of 14 percent, meaning there will be 745 fewer primary care physicians than needed.
  • Demand for physician services in the Waukesha area is likely to grow by 25 percent by 2035.

A family medicine physician is a primary care doctor who specializes in care for the whole family – children and adults. Family medicine physicians get to know their patients, understand their patients’ medical needs, and ensure that each patient receives high-quality care for everything from a sore throat to depression or diabetes. Some are also trained in obstetrics.

According to the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians, more patients are seen by family physicians than any other specialty. Family physicians can diagnose and treat 85 percent of all ailments and they help coordinate additional care when it is needed.

Of the family residency programs in Wisconsin, the Waukesha Family Medicine Residency at ProHealth Care is unique in that:

  • Resident physicians have the opportunity to obtain a fourth year of education, allowing them to earn a master’s degree in public health or business administration or a surgical obstetrical fellowship so they may perform cesarean sections.
  • Resident physicians provide 150 hours of volunteer care each year at the Waukesha Free Clinic at Carroll University, a not-for-profit organization that serves uninsured and underinsured people, providing medical services, health education and referrals to community resources.

"People can choose a resident physician as their primary care provider, just like any other primary care physician," said Susanne Krasovich, MD, medical director of the Waukesha Family Medicine Residency at ProHealth Care and a ProHealth Medical Group family medicine physician who also provides obstetric care.

The residency program’s physicians provide care at the ProHealth Medical Group clinic located at 210 NW Barstow St. in downtown Waukesha. Patients call 262-548-6903 to schedule an appointment at the clinic.