Originally Posted by orbitsurgMD
I understand the concern some physicians might have seeing that a non-physician is at the top of their corps structure. But the reality is that the SG job is mostly as a mouthpiece for the line leadership and the defense secretariat, and the fact that the person is a doctor or nurse is probably not all that relevant; advocacy for the medical corps has never been much a part of their brief. Most have followed a train of administrative assignments, most with a mid-career masters in some area of organizational management, MBA or MHA or the like. They are ribbon cutters and budget cutters.
Understood that it's an administrative job. But it's one with a lot of symbolism. Sure, the person who occupies it probably won't be seeing a patient in the clinic or hospital anytime soon (although I think it would be great if they did), but the title is still Surgeon General. The job description is right there in the title: a surgeon is a title that in the current day and age is universally associated with a physician. A general is a leader. A Surgeon General is therefore a physician-leader.
Now you put someone in that job who isn't a doctor. Guess what? You just took the heart out of the meaning of the title, and the word "Surgeon" in the Medical Corps. Given that "Surgeon" is so closely related to "Doctor" or "Physician", you also take a lot of prestige out of those titles as well.
It's like those commercials: so easy a caveman could do it. Look: the LEADER of the Medical Corps has the title of Surgeon General, and she's not even a doctor. How hard could being a doctor be if the top "surgeon" didn't even go to medical school? If you thought non-physicians in admin positions tried to influence medical decisions before, wait for this to come to pass.
I actually don't have much problem with a non-physician being on top of the Medical Corps, so long as they're a competent leader and administrator. Heaven knows that there have been physicians in the job who have schlubbed things up despite their MDs. But if the person occupying the top job is not a physician, then their title should be Secretary of the Medical Corps or something to that effect. The top physician in the Medical Corps should be the only one with the title of Surgeon General; whether or not he/she happens to be the top person in the Medical Corps itself could vary.