Jane Jerrard covered some potential career paths for academic hospitalists in her article “How to Navigate Hospital Medicine” (May 2007, p. 9). But I believe her account was incomplete. I would like to add detail to the opportunities in community-based and other programs.
Community-based medical groups offer a number of opportunities in hospitals or hospital systems. These include:
Another path of opportunity is within your organization, depending on your employer. These roles may overlap with hospital positions:
Hospitalists can also participate on committees that deal with such areas as pension plans, contracts, or other business.
Health insurance companies provide opportunities for individuals to practice part-time and serve as medical directors. They also have career paths for VPMAs and CMOs.
Also, many healthcare companies have been started and run by physicians. Invent something; start a company. The opportunities are endless.
Some other tips:
Mary Jo Gorman, MD, MBA
Immediate Past President, SHM
I feel one piece of advice in the Career Development section in the May issue of The Hospitalist (“How to Navigate Hospital Medicine,” p. 9) is not complete and may adversely affect a new hospitalist’s career.
The article recommends exploring locum tenens work. We have found two unintended consequences of such action. First, the locum companies usually have a buyout clause for the physician. Should he decide he likes a location and wishes to stay, the potential employer faces an additional cost in the $20,000-$30,000 range. It makes budgeting difficult. Also, there is usually a clause in the locum contract that this policy is in place for two years after leaving the locum company.
Second, frequent job changes lead to prolonged processing of credentials at hospitals as they verify good standing at all previous practice sites. This means delays that force a hospitalist company to look for more readily available docs. The physician may be unable to find hospitals in highly desirable areas.
The article was otherwise well balanced and timely.
George Block, MD
CMO, Galen Inpatient Physicians Medical Group
The Hospitalist newsmagazine reports on issues and trends in hospital medicine. The Hospitalist reaches more than 25,000 hospitalists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, residents, and medical administrators interested in the practice and business of hospital medicine.