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Massachusetts medical schools accelerate graduation this year to get new doctors into the field more quickly

The state's four medical schools - at Harvard, Tufts, BU and UMass - have agreed to push their normal May graduations into April at the request of state officials, who in turn have promised an expedited licensing process for people who stay in Massachusetts, to get new doctors into the front lines of the war against Covid-19.

In a letter to final-year students at the BU School of Medicine, Dr. Karen Antman, the school's dean, writes:

Your class is clearly graduating at one of the most medically challenging times of the last century, and will shortly be an important part of the country's response to the COVID-19 challenge. We are proud of the physicians that you will soon be, and for the role that you will play in the care of your patients.

BU will hold its medical-school commencement exercises - online, of course - on April 17, instead of the originally scheduled May 14.


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You really don’t become a “Doctor” until you finish residency. But on the other hand Covid19 are relatively straightforward. Those new docs will not get a lot of mentoring the first few months.

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I was under impression that like PhD's of any field, having an MD, DO degree in and of itself allows them to be called "doctor this doctor that."

Having a license to actually practice medicine, requires residency etc.

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Is that these new doctors will be relatively useless as they have no actual training. They’re recommending unnecessary staff stay away from certain procedures, like trainees.

Anyone can call themselves a doctor, like Dr Dre for example.

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By fourth year they're doing rotations, I believe.

They will probably be used to handle routine cases, broken bones, etc.

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Graduates will be doctors and useful on the front lines. They will have a limited license and direct supervision as residents, but residents are the workhorses of many hospitals, working the longest hours and doing much of the nitty gritty work to take care of patients.

The issue is going to be the logistics of getting them on board. Many move to another city for residency and will need housing, licensing and orientation to the hospital. Plus the hospitals need to pay them at least the normal salary (~60K)

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The newer docs can take the strain off more experienced people by managing their less intensive caseloads. Even writing prescriptions and ordering tests will help.

And, less charitably, they'll have lots of experience soon enough...

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April 17 is BU's virtual commencement for the Medical School, not for the university as a whole, which will have in-person commencement postponed to late summer or fall.

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I've added "medical school" to that sentence.

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