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After careful review of the national curriculum across all departments, the ACGME announced on Monday that residents will be eligible to receive a professional Medical Secretarial Degree (MSD) at the end of their intern year.

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One man, 6 secretaries, I mean interns

The decision to offer the professional secretary degree was introduced by Dr. Tom Knight, a board member of the ACGME.

“I was doing my usual morning rounds, when one of my patients mentioned how impressed he was with our secretary,” Dr. Knight said. “He was talking about our intern, who had been behind us furiously writing her notes and putting in orders, but it got me thinking, why not offer an official degree?”

After further research and consulting online programs, Dr. Knight realized that most interns inadvertently fulfill the coursework for a professional medical secretary degree including:

  • List-making
  • Checking boxes
  • Mindless Dictation
  • Superior copy and pasting pasting abilities
  • Creation of orig abbrevs and shrthnds no one else understands
  • Docile subservience

Dr. Knight introduced the idea to the board in August and it passed with strong support and will be implemented for the current intern class.

“I think it’s a great idea to acknowledge our full set of skills,” said medicine intern Hunter Williams. Williams, who currently has an MD, PhD and MBA, added, “Plus, it’s a bit of a lifelong dream of mine to have more letters in my degrees than my last name and this would finally put me over that line.”

In order to get the full Degree, each resident also needs to pass the Secretarial Clinical Skills. The SCS evaluates interns’ ability to type and walk at the same time while navigating a simulated hospital. The tests will only be offered at official testing sites and cost $800.

 typewritter“It seems like just another excuse to charge us for testing fees,” said Sarah Dilhurst, an orthopedic intern.

Dr. Kyle Grant, an ED physician who also serves on the ACGME board, argued that there are many long-term benefits of the added degree beyond just recognition of the work that residents do.

“Did you know that you could make up to $40 an hour as a medical dictation secretary?” Dr. Grant asked. “Imagine doing that for 20 hours a week during a research year. You’d make an extra $40,000 in a year! That degree is definitely worth something.”

Enrollment in the program starts in March with SCS testing dates open in April. For more information on the program, visit ACGME.eugh/joysofresidency.

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