Resident Physician Supervision Policy


POLICY #: 8240.07


1. To define responsibility for supervision and accountability of residents in various venues.

2. Each patient must have an identifiable and appropriately credentialed and privileged attending physician (or licensed independent practitioner as specified by the applicable Review Committee) who is responsible and accountable for the patient’s care. This information must be available to residents, faculty members, other members of the health care team, and patients. Residents and faculty members must inform each patient of their respective roles in that patient’s care when providing direct patient care.

3. The program must demonstrate that the appropriate level of supervision is in place for all residents who care for patients. Supervision may be exercised through a variety of methods. Some activities require the physical presence of the supervising faculty member. For many aspects of patient care, the supervising physician may be a more advanced resident. Other portions of care provided by the resident can be adequately supervised by the appropriate availability of the supervising faculty member or senior resident physician, either onsite or by means of telecommunication technology. In some circumstances, supervision may include post-hoc review of resident-delivered care with feedback as to the appropriateness of that care.


1. Residents involved in patient care are responsible ultimately to the supervising physician with immediate supervision potentially under the auspices of a more senior resident in the same specialty.

2. Levels of Supervision: To promote oversight of resident supervision while providing for graded authority and responsibility, the program must use the following classification of supervision:

A) Direct Supervision: The supervising physician is physically present with the resident during key portions of the patient interaction.

B) Indirect supervision: The supervising physician is not providing physical or concurrent visual or audio supervision but is immediately available to the resident for guidance and is available to provide appropriate Direct Supervision.

C) Oversight: The supervising physician is available to provide review of procedures/encounters with feedback provided after care is delivered.

3. The privilege of progressive authority and responsibility, conditional independence and a supervisory role in patient care delegated to each resident must be assigned by the Program Director and faculty members.

A) The Program Director must evaluate each resident’s abilities based on specific criteria, guided by the Milestones.

B) Faculty members functioning as supervising physicians should delegate portions of care to residents, based on the needs of the patient and skills of each resident.

C) Senior residents or fellows should serve in a supervisory role of junior residents in recognition of their progress toward independence, based on the needs of each patient and the skills of the individual resident or fellow.

4. Programs must set guidelines for circumstances and events in which residents must communicate with the appropriate supervising faculty members.

A) Each resident must know the limits of his/her scope of authority, and the circumstances under which he/she is permitted to act with conditional independence.

i) Initially, PGY-1 residents must be supervised either directly, or indirectly with direct supervision immediately available. [Each Review Committee may describe the achieved competencies under which PGY-1 residents progress to be supervised indirectly, with supervision available].

5. Faculty supervision assignments should be of sufficient duration to assess the knowledge and skills of each resident and to delegate to the resident the appropriate level of patient care authority and responsibility.

6. Procedure: Each Residency Program shall submit a program-specific Resident Supervision policy to the GMEC. The GMEC will approve each policy based on current ACGME or RRC definitions and expectations. The following are general guidelines, with more specific detail to be provided by each Residency Program:

A) Outpatient settings: The Resident shall be supervised directly by a designated Attending Physician, whether at the Public Health Department or in a private setting.

B) Inpatient Settings: The most Senior Resident on a team is responsible directly to the Attending Physician of record, and shall supervise directly the medical care offered by more junior residents, who may in turn supervise the care offered by residents and medical students more junior to them.

C) Any of the Residents involved in patient care shall have the ability to access directly the responsible Attending Physician.

D) If a nurse or other Health Care Worker has a question or concern regarding a Resident’s plan/orders, that nurse or health care worker should contact the involved Resident directly. If the ensuing discussion fails to resolve the question/concern, the Nurse or HCW may contact the next most senior resident involved, and so on up the “chain of command,” to the Attending Physician.


RECOMMENDED BY: E. Wroblewski, MD (CMO)  DATE: 11/14
APPROVED BY: E. Wroblewski, MD (CMO) DATE: 11/14, 1/18, 1/21
DATE REVISED: 5/07, 5/11, 1/18, 1/21
DATE REVIEWED: 3/00, 4/01, 5/11, 11/14, 1/21