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Scotland Deanery

Home of medical and dental excellence

International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

Roles and responsibilities in the NHS

The names given to different grades of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in the UK may differ from what you are used to. Junior Doctor refers to doctors who are in clinical training. They have completed a medical degree and could have up to eight years' experience working as a hospital doctor, or up to three years in General Practice. All junior doctors work under the supervision of a senior doctor. This could be a Hospital Consultant, GP (general practitioner) or SAS (staff grade, associate specialist and specialty) doctor, depending on specialty and location. Doctors who perform surgery may, due to historical reasons, use the titles 'Mr', 'Mrs', 'Miss' or 'Ms' instead. A doctor that is a university professor may also use the title ‘Professor’ instead of 'Dr'. 


Titles of Junior Doctors  



Foundation year one junior doctor  


Foundation year two junior doctor 


Internal Medicine Trainee 


Core Surgical Trainee 


Senior house officer (old fashioned term for grades between FY2 and ST). The use of this term should be discouraged. The Deanery and Service Leads do not support the use of this term as it creates uncertainty about the level of experience and competence of an individual doctor which can confuse staff and colleagues.  


General Practice Specialty Trainee 


Specialty Trainee who is a doctor in training in a hospital specialty – the term can be associated with a number which signifies the amount of years spent in training in the specialty, e.g. ST4 psychiatry 


Other members of the MDT (Multi-disciplinary Team) 



Nurses in the UK have a degree in nursing and work in either adult, children, mental health, or learning disability care 

Ward Sister/Charge Nurse 

A charge nurse is a nurse who is 'in charge' of a ward in the hospital or other healthcare facility where they work. These nurses perform many of the tasks that general nurses do, but also have some supervisory and managerial responsibilities 

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) 

CNSs have specialist knowledge of a particular area of nursing e.g. cancer, diabetes, and palliative care  

Healthcare Care Assistant (HCA) 

HCAs work closely with patients to ensure their comfort and safety under the direction of a qualified professional (usually a nurse). They help patients with personal care including infection prevention and control, food, and personal hygiene  

Physiotherapist (PT) 

Physiotherapists help patients recover from injury, illness, and surgery through physical rehabilitation 

Occupational Therapist (OT) 

OTs consider all of a patient's needs - physical, psychological, social and environmental. They can help people overcome the effects of disability caused by illness, ageing or accident so that they can carry out everyday tasks or occupations 


Roles and Responsibilities Checklist

Click here for the roles and responsibilities checklist.

This page was last updated on: 15.05.2024 at 08.06