“I think [the Core Competencies] is something that SHM can be proud of,” said Dr. Pistoria of the group’s efforts. “But this is by no means the end of the project – it’s only the beginning. It is a work in progress.”
Dr. Dressler agreed with Dr. Pistoria’s characterization of the Core Competencies as a work in progress.
“I am pretty satisfied with what we’ve accomplished,” says Dr. Dressler. “By no means do I feel that this is the end-all, be-all for hospital medicine, or even for education in hospital medicine. It’s a start. We expect comment. We expect criticism. Being hospitalists, we are all open and aware and willing to make changes. And so we make a start, our initial best effort to get something out there that hospitalists can look at, utilize, and then offer feedback. Our primary goal is to provide a structure for consistency in practice and consistency in expectations. We would like to make [the Core Competencies] something that hospitalists and hospitalist educators feel is useful and that can change with the needs of our specialty.”
I think, in the end, that everyone in the core editorial group felt that their opinions were heard, and I think that lends itself to the pride that we all feel in the final product.
—Michael Pistoria, DO, FACP
“[Working on the Core Competencies] was an exciting project,” says Dr. Amin. “It took a lot of time. We had to spend a fair amount of time learning before we could actually define what we wanted from our chapter authors. But it was a good process. It was a four-year process to develop a document that would be worthwhile and hopefully stand the test of time in defining the core aspects of the field of hospital medicine. It was great to be chairing [the] education [committee] and seeing the value of helping to facilitate this project, and now looking more broadly across how to apply this project to future educational efforts.”
The project certainly had its challenges, most of which were related to time constraints.
“All of us were working very hard in our respective programs,” notes Dr. McKean, “and we were doing this on a volunteer basis. I think we had 10 face-to-face meetings, and sat at our computers on Saturday afternoons for conference calls using a Web-based editing program.”
For her part, Dr. McKean found working on the core competencies “very satisfying. I think I learned a lot from other people on this task force, editorial board, and the organization of the Society of Hospital Medicine. This project helped me reflect upon skills that I should try to obtain, and to think about more global issues than the day-to-day hospital politics in which I was involved. I did more strategic planning and thinking about retreats. So, it was a learning experience for me, and I also felt that I was contributing to something worthwhile. It was a chance to make a difference.
“From my own professional experience, the development process has helped me here, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, so I hope that anyone who wants to apply the core competencies would feel free to e-mail us or contact us if they have any questions at all,” she says.
Dr. Pistoria agrees with Dr. McKean’s observations. “Working on the Core Competencies had a really big impact on me, both personally and professionally,” he says. “The process helped me mature in how I deal with running a project like this because I have been given the opportunity to do some similar things at my institution. Some of the ideas that we hit upon as we were editing and developing these competencies make one think, ‘We need to do this at our institution.’ Let’s take a strong look at, say, discharge processes, get a group together, and generate some recommendations that we can then institute.”