The evolution of the program coordinator role

Residency Program Insider, August 28, 2019

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Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Residency Coordinators Handbook, Fourth Edition. For more information about this book, click here.

Prior to 2000 when the ACGME unveiled the Outcome Project and introduced the six core competencies, coordinators were largely thought of as clerical support staff. With the advent of the Outcome Project, this all changed. In order to maintain accreditation, programs must have documentation showing how all six competencies are taught and assessed. As a result, the administrative management of the training program became a much different and much more critical component of resident education and accreditation. The function of the coordinator shifted from clerical/secretarial to manager/administrator, requiring coordinators to have a higher level of skills, ability, and knowledge. As this is being recognized by institutions, many coordinators' titles are being changed to program manager or program administrator.

Coordinators work more closely with program directors and support them in new ways. In this new capacity, coordinators must involve themselves in several aspects of the program, including:

  • Providing analyses and recommendations based on data (which is entered into the system by the coordinator)
  • Understanding medico-legal issues that can impact residents and the program
  • Monitoring, reporting, and analyzing compliance with duty-hour regulations
  • Knowing, understanding, and applying the accreditation, board, and institution requirements that affect the program
  • Knowing and understanding state and federal regulations that impact the program
  • Understanding and documenting the competencies
  • Understanding educational terminology
  • Budgeting


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