The National Association of Inpatient Physicians (NAIP)—now known as SHM—first held an annual meeting in the spring of 1998 in San Diego. Some 100 hospitalists attended the largest gathering of the nascent field. A little more than a decade later, 2,000-plus hospitalists crowded together in Chicago for HM09.
That exponential growth is tied to a host of factors, mostly the swelling ranks of hospitalists. But in terms of conventioneers, the year-over-year spikes in attendance mean that more and more first-timers are attending SHM’s annual gathering. In fact, SHM estimates that 30% of attendees are first-timers.
“Over the last five years, we’ve seen a significant increase in attendance over each year, with the culmination being that 2009 sold out,” says Geri Barnes, SHM senior director of education and meetings. “There are those who return year after year, and new members. It’s primarily new members.”
The growth in the annual meeting attendance confirms that HM is growing in numbers and influence. More and more physicians are making HM a career, and the annual meeting is the perfect place to learn more about the specialty and all it has to offer.
“Sometimes new physicians become hospitalists thinking that it might be a transition time for them. By going to these meetings, they can really cement in their minds the excitement and enthusiasm for being a hospital medicine physician,” says Brian Bossard, MD, FACP, FHM, founder of Inpatient Physicians Associations, a Lincoln, Neb.-based operator of three HM groups. “If they were thinking about transitioning out of HM into a fellowship, this might really encourage them to think twice about that.”
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A four-day conference with more than 90 educational sessions can be intimidating to the first-time attendee. How does a rookie navigate all that “excitement and enthusiasm”? Which sessions does one attend? How does a young hospitalist get matched up with a mentor? What should a veteran hospitalist be learning that they can relay to their colleagues back home?