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What is a fellow M.D.?

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A fellow M.D. is a medical doctor who has been given a fellowship, which is a residency that teaches doctors a sub-specialty, such as internal medicine, movement disorders, gynecologic oncology and pediatric hematology, according to the University of Minnesota. These fellowships help prepare medical doctors to enter into specific fields of medicine with extensive study, training and hands-on experience in the specific field.

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Fellows are also supervised by a medical doctor in the same sub-specialty as their fellowship. Most fellowships last for 1 or 2 years. When the programs are over, the doctor is free to look for employment. Not all doctors look for fellowships, however, because many areas within the medical community do not require advanced specialty training such as a family practitioner or a doctor of general ophthalmology.

It is advised that doctors who are interested in fellowships first discover their passion within medicine. For people who love doing parts of every sub-specialty then a fellowship does not make much sense. For people who truly love a specific specialized area then a fellowship is an excellent idea. The next step is to figure out whether or not a fellowship will enhance the doctor's practice both in terms of employment and in terms of training. There are many specialties that do not require fellowships and where completing a fellowship does not make the doctor more employable. In these areas, it is often best to simply jump into practicing immediately.

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