Visual cues for Resident Physicians

Visual cues for Resident Physicians



As you may know, we are sometimes pairing up emergency medicine resident physicians with our medics on zone cars.  Residents are recent graduates from medical school who are now learning their specialty — in this case, emergency medicine.  They are working their way toward becoming attending emergency medicine physicians.


When EVMS or the Navy sends residents to ride with us, we usually don’t have enough advance warning to onboard them as members, so they may not have a VB EMS ID card.  They only have their EVMS or Navy ID card.  This has made it difficult for our personnel to determine whether these people belong on the scene or what their role or authority is.


To address this, we’ve expanded our system of identification to include the oversized cards shown below.  Personnel wearing these cards are RESident DOCtors.  (Please keep reading below the images…)


For FIRST YEAR residents (PGY1’s)

For all other residents (PGY2/3/4’s)




  • YELLOW will be for FIRST YEAR (PGY1) residents.  The yellow RES DOCs will not generally be giving “physician orders”, but they are encouraged to do all the hands-on skills that their preceptor can do.
  • ORANGE will be for PGY2/3/4 residents.  The orange RES DOCs may give physician orders, in addition to practicing hands-on medicine.
  • If a resident does not have any kind of VB EMS ID card, notify a supervisor.


We will still be onboarding other doctors into our organization as full-fledged members, and these people will have the normal VB EMS ID cards that say “PHYSICIAN” on a gold background (in addition to a photo).


BOTTOM LINE:  All the ID variations can be confusing, but the following rules of thumb apply (and are very similar to how they’ve always been):




Special guidance for physicians


Limited experience

  • Learning about EMS
  • Following protocols


Experienced but still in training

  • Learning about our local system
  • May give physician orders



  • Acting independently
  • Giving physician orders


The medic precepting a physician should be sure the physician’s ID card is externally visible throughout the duty.


Let me know if you have any questions or comments.


— Division Chief Kevin Lipscomb, NRP

— Regulation & Support Services

— Va Beach EMS Department

“EMS Chief 7” (ECH07)