Three new specialties offer certification for residency coordinators
In 2007, residency coordinators in obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedic surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation programs will be eligible for certification by the National Board of Certification for Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education (TAGME).
In addition, task forces in diagnostic radiology, emergency medicine and internal medicine are actively at work; these specialties should be offering certification no later than spring 2008.
At the spring Board meeting of the National Board for Certification of Training Administrators for Graduate Medical Education Programs (TAGME), held in Madison, Wisconsin, in May, it was announced that Jeri Whitten, CTAGME, has begun her term as President of the Board.
Whitten is the Program Specialist, Residency Education Coordinator for the Department of Pediatrics at the Charleston Division of West Virginia University. She previously held the position of TAGME President-elect.
Linda Gacioch, CTAGME, Administrative Specialist for the Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, has accepted the position of President-Elect, and Laura Warner, CTAGME, Program Coordinator for Surgery at the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, Pennsylvania, has accepted the position of Secretary. Ruth H. Nawotniak, MS, CTAGME has become the Immediate Past President and will be working with the developing clinical specialties.
TAGME certification will now be available to coordinators in thoracic surgery and vascular surgery (a subspecialty of general surgery). There will be an open assessment for candidates from the following approved clinical specialties on Saturday, October 7, 2006, in Chicago:
- General Surgery
- Vascular Surgery (Subspecialty)
- Thoracic Surgery
Also at the May Board meeting, requests to form task forces to develop certification assessment tools were accepted from emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery, and internal medicine. These three clinical specialties join diagnostic radiology, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation, bringing the number of active task forces to seven.
Another 17 coordinators from pediatrics and general surgery were recommended and approved for certification at the Fall board meeting of the National Board of Certification for Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education Programs (TAGME). (This link will take you off the AMA Web site.)
In addition, psychiatry has been approved for permanent membership on the TAGME Board of Directors, with assessment tools approved and certification now available to psychiatry program coordinators.
The following specialties have developed task forces and have been approved to develop their assessment tools:
- Diagnostic Radiology
- Thoracic Surgery
- Vascular Surgery
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
As interest in coordinator certification continues to grow, TAGME Board members have been invited to make numerous presentations at national meetings. Questions? Please contact Ruth H. Nawotniak.
Certification pilot under way
"I am very pleased to announce that Certification for Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education Programs is underway," said Ruth H. Nawotniak, MS, President of TAGME (National Board for Certification of Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education Programs). "General Surgery and Pediatrics are piloting the process this year."
The global assessment tools all coordinators will be required to take, as well as the core items that all clinical specialties will need to include as they develop their assessment tools, were approved at TAGME's March Board meeting. This template is now available to clinical specialities that have decided to pursue certification. For more information, please contact Ruth H. Nawotniak.
The certification process is a very robust and worthwhile vehicle to assess the knowledge, skills and abilities of those training administrators who manage the day-to-day activities of graduate medical education programs. All clinical specialties have the opportunity to become involved, whether or not they have organized coordinator groups. Having an organized group helps the process, but should not be a deterrent.
"I had the opportunity to present this process to the Organization of Program Director Associations (OPDA) at their Spring meeting in March," said Nawotniak. OPDA also includes representatives from all associations contributing to the development of GME, including the AMA, ACGME, AAMC, and NRMP. "They were very receptive to the presentation and supportive of the initiative, based upon the questions and discussions that took place."
The piloting of the certification process will be completed in April 2006. At that time, it will be opened to any interested clinical specialties. For those clinical specialties that have already decided to pursue certification, the template is available to start developing assessment tools; contact email@example.com for information on how to start the process.
Piloting of coordinator certification process to begin spring 2005
In October, the National Board of Certification for Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education Programs (TAGME), as well as the task forces of both general surgery and pediatrics, met to work on developing measurement tools for the coordinator certification process.
TAGME will be piloting processes for both surgical and nonsurgical coordinators, as well as the standard methodology for certification, to be used by all clinical specialties.
The template and the two pilot projects will be tested from spring 2005 to spring 2006, with the formal certification process and the standard format available by Spring 2006.
The TAGME Web site will continue to offer updates on the pilot projects as they proceed. (This link will take you off the AMA Web site.)
Attendees at Open Forum validate need for coordinator certification
Held in Chicago March 2, the Open Forum on Coordinator Certification was well received, with participants validating the need for a certification process. Represented at the meeting were 13 specialties, along with five internal medicine subspecialties, GME offices, the AMA, and the Association for Hospital Medical Education (AHME).
Ruth H. Nawotniak, MS, President of the National Board for Certification - Training Administrators of GME Programs (TAGME), presented the three phases of the project:
- Phase I: Developing the mission statement, vision statement, and objectives
- Phase II: Developing proposed criteria and the certification process
- Phase III: Exchanging some ideas for future vision
Michael Catron, Vice President of TAGME, then presented some initial results of the job analysis survey of coordinators (e.g., average hours worked per week is 51.5). As of the time of the conference, more than 500 surveys had been completed.
National Board of Certification - Training Administrators of GME Programs is established
Representatives from surgery (Ruth Nawotniak, SUNY Buffalo), radiology (Amy Richgels, Univ of Wisconsin, and Michael Catron, Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles), and OB-GYN (Sandi Kardos, Christiana Care, Newark, Delaware) met in Baltimore on October 26 to discuss the global vision of the coordinator certification process.
The following actions were taken:
- Creation of a global task force that established the National Board of Certification - Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education Programs, to include representatives from other organized residency coordinator associations;
- Development and distribution of a national job analysis study, to be used as a database for future planning;
- Scheduling of an open forum venue, in which coordinators will have the opportunity to discuss the development of this project and provide input, insight, and feedback.
As of November 10, a global task force has been initiated to form the working board of the National Board of Certification. This board includes the above-named specialties and representatives as well as the following:
- Orthopedic surgery (Gail Driver, Mobile, AL)
- Internal medicine (Alice Gordon, Rochester NY)
- Family medicine (Vicki Greenwood, Springfield MD)
- Emergency medicine (Marie Wegeman, Baton Rouge, LA)
- Pediatrics (Jeri Whitten, Charleston WV)
- Psychiatry (Lucille Meinsier, Farmington, CT)
Is credentialing of coordinators needed? Maybe yes, but probably not
I realize there are many who feel that credentialling has merit. I am on the fence on this issue.
I would suggest that credentialing for residency administrators not be mandatory for program accreditation by the ACGME. At the very least, if required, those with a specified number of years of GME experience at the administrator level combined with college education, years of professional experience, etc, should be "grandfathered in" unless he/she so chooses to be certified. For those wanting to be certified, I would assume educational materials would be provided and "testing" done per internet as I know many budgets are tight and don't allow for the cost of registration and/or travel.
It is obvious that, for many, credentialing is seen as a way for us to be viewed as professionals. I strongly believe that being seen as a professional is far more than that. I feel that the job as a program administrator (PA) requires a formal education and background that is applicable to the profession at hand (see the suggested job description/requirements for IM residency program administrators, from the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, as a sample--they require not only GME experience but a college education).
Being a PA is far more than realizing accreditation standards/processes for a given program. That is only one part of the whole. At least half if not more of the skills demanded of us go beyond GME issues and rest on what we have learned in taking management, English, psychology, and other related courses. As well, I believe the rigors of a formal education bring forth a refining process which is an learning tool in itself.
Having said all this, for my own benefit I would probably take the test to be credentialed, but I have to ask myself, will being credentialed make me a more valuable person to my program? If it was the only studying I did to better myself, I would say yes. But since it wouldn't be (as a professional is always seeking to grow and learn more about their profession), I would have to answer no.
In summary, I don't see where having a credential behind my name is going to benefit my workplace nor make me be seen or treated more like a professional, rather, I do see where my job experiences, my job performance, my professional demeanor, and the BA after my name all have. (Anonymous)
Credentialing for residency coordinators gathers momentum
"The concept of credentialing for coordinators is gathering more national attention,” said Ruth H. Nawotniak, MS, SUNY Buffalo, member of the task force for the credentialing of general surgery coordinators. “The OBGYN and radiology coordinators have also voted to pursue this direction."
She added that the surgery coordinators' task force has been named, with its first meeting planned for Chicago in mid-October. In addition to Nawotniak, members are:
- Michele Bowman, Washington University in St. Louis
- Ava Fulbright, Orlando Regional Healthcare System
- Barbie Grissom, University of Texas-Galveston
- Nancy McDowell, New Hanover Regional Medical Center
- Machell Thompson, University of North Dakota
"I would like to reach out to those associations that have endorsed this concept to consider the potential future reality of one general credentialing system that has the flexibility to also accommodate specific programs," she added. "There are many coordinators around the country who manage multiple programs. As more efficient methods of managment of medical education are used, consolidation of several training programs under one coordinator will become the norm. I believe, then, that as we look at the credentialling concept for our own specialty, we should consider a basic credentialing system for all coordinators that can be augmented to accommodate each specialty."
For more information, contact Ms. Nawotniak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being a residency and/or fellowship coordinator is no "part time" job
Linda Taylor, Education Coordinator of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Department of Ophthalmology, writes that a national organization and certification process for coordinators is needed.
“Being a residency and/or fellowship coordinator is no 'part time' job. It should be recognized and valued as a professional, managerial-level position," she writes.
“Feedback and a concerted effort from other coordinators across the nation will be necessary to unify all the specialties and their coordinators to create a certification process that can be recognized by the ACGME and our own institutions.
“Let me hear from you. What is going on at your institution among the coordinators?”
Ms. Taylor can be reached at Linda.Taylor@utsouthwestern.edu.
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