Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho is the first woman and first nonphysician to become the Army’s surgeon general. Lt. Gen. Horoho is a nurse. I know this is a controversial topic and will get some people pissed (on both sides) but it seems to me that we need to start doing a better job defining certain professions. A surgeon general, I guess, now does not have to be a surgeon nor a doctor. Don’t get me wrong, this person has an impressive resume as you can see here. Here is a little background on the title of Army Surgeon General according to Wikipedia:
Congress established the Medical Service of the Continental Army on July 27, 1775 and emplaced a “Chief physician & director general” of the Continental Army as its head at that time. The first five “surgeons general” of the U.S. Army served under this title. An Act of May 28, 1789 established a “Physician general” of the U.S. Army (only Doctors Richard Allison and James Craik served according to this nomenclature). An Act of March 13, 1813 cited the “Physician & surgeon general” of the U.S. Army. This nomenclature remained in place until the Medical Department was established by the Reorganization Act of April 14, 1818. He or she is responsible for development, policy direction, organization and overall management of an integrated Army-wide health service system and is the medical materiel developer for the Army. These duties include formulating policy regulations on health service support, health hazard assessment and the establishment of health standards.
So what does this mean? Really nothing. This is an administrative job, plain and simple. I think they need to rename the title or else confuse more and more people about what doctors do and are. My medical partner is a former Army guy. He says this is not a male or female thing. This is an issue of different professions trying to encroach more and more onto physician territory. Maybe now it is nurse but maybe a few years it is a medic. At what point is there or should there be a line in the sand? I await your thoughts.