AskDefine | Define attending

Dictionary Definition

attending adj
1 being present at meeting or event [syn: in attendance(p)]
2 serving attendance on someone; "a ministering angel"; "the angels ministrant sang"; "the attending physician" [syn: ministering, ministrant]


1 the process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others [syn: attention] [ant: inattention]
2 the act of being present (at a meeting or event etc.) [syn: attendance] [ant: nonattendance]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. being an attending in a hospital
  2. the attending physician


  1. the action of the verb to attend
  2. a physician on the staff of a hospital, especially the principal one that supervises a patient's care

Verb form

  1. present participle of the verb to attend

Extensive Definition

An attending physician (also known as an attending, consultant, or staff physician) is a physician who has completed residency and practices medicine in a clinic or hospital, in the speciality learned during residency. An attending physician can supervise fellows, residents/registrars and medical students. Attending physicians may also have an academic title at an affiliated university such as "professor". This is common if the supervision of trainees is a significant part of the physician's work. Attending physicians have final responsibility, legally and otherwise, for patient care, even when many of the minute-to-minute decisions are being made by subordinates (physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students).
Attending doctors may also still be in training, such as a fellow in a subspecialty. For example, a cardiology fellow may function as an internal medicine attending, as he has already finished residency in internal medicine. The term is used more commonly in teaching hospitals. In non-teaching hospitals, essentially all doctors function as attendings in some respects.
The term "attending physician" or "attending" also refers to the formal relationship of a hospitalized patient and their primary doctor during the hospitalization, as opposed to ancillary physicians assisting the primary doctor, referred to as consultants. However, even on a consultation service, at an academic center, the medical doctor who has finished his training is called the attending or consultant, as opposed to a resident physician.

See also

attending in German: Oberarzt
attending in Norwegian: Overlege

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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