Group Growth

Ambitious hospitalists may be eager to add an MBA or a PhD to their credentials, in the belief those magic letters will open doors to leadership positions or higher compensation. But before you fork over tuition for an advanced degree program, consider whether that degree will pay off.


Hospitalists as Managers

As hospitalists move up the career ladder, many will find themselves managing their colleagues. Mastering new skills, including supervision and motivation, can go a long way toward success in these positions. Here are some tips for hospitalist supervisors from the article “New Role for Hospitalists: Managing other Physicians” by Paula S. Katz in October 2005 ACP Observer:

  • Effective feedback is key—and not just during an annual review. When providing regular feedback, focus on the individual’s behavior or actions;
  • Feedback can occur informally during work hours or formally, during a performance review. Conduct formal reviews in private, and let the hospitalist see a written review in advance; and
  • If you’re having trouble with a hospitalist under your supervision, document all applicable objective and measurable behavior. Schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss the problem, and share all documentation with the hospitalist before the meeting. When you meet, be direct and succinct, and focus on the behavior by listing specific examples.

Ethics Are Part of the Job

Physicians working in the public sector aren’t able to completely transcend workplace politics, but ethical judgments must be based on sound ethical principles and reasoning despite the challenges of regulation, policy, and ethical issues in the hospital setting.

“Hospitalists need to recognize that ethical issues are distinct from medical ones and need to utilize different techniques in their resolution,” according to the authors of “Ethical Issues in Hospital Medicine” (Medical Clinics Of North America, July 2002, p. 869-886). —JJ

Choose Your Career Path

If you’re considering pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Health Administration (MPH), or even a doctorate degree, the first thing you should consider is which career path within hospital medicine you’re interested in. What position would you ultimately like to hold? And which, if any, advanced degree can help you get there?

“Explore the idea [of earning an advanced degree], but the most important steps are to try to get some work experience and set some goals,” says Mary Jo Gorman, MD, MBA, the CEO of Advanced ICU Care, St. Louis, Mo. “Along the way, find out what you have an aptitude for.” Once you know your general or specific career goals, you can consider whether to earn an advanced degree.

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