Some folks still take hospitalist jobs for a year or two and then go on to something else. But now that there are hospitalist training programs and board certification, most hospitalists are in it for the long haul. Because they are crucial to the success of the entire system, they are well compensated, have a reasonable schedule, and have tremendous opportunities for career advancement. For example, it seems like virtually every chief medical officer or information technology (IT) director (and a pretty good number of hospital CEOs) is a hospitalist.
All in all, the past 10 years have been terrific for our field. In 2007, after seeing the field’s early and unprecedented successes, some folks thought we had peaked. But one thing I’ve learned in the 20 years since I first wrote the word “hospitalist” (if I had just trademarked that term, I’d be on the golf course in Maui, not in assisted living here in Boca): Given a choice whether to bet on growth or stasis, when it comes to hospitalists, the bet should always be on bigger and better. TH
Dr. Wachter is professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, associate chairman of UCSF’s Department of Medicine, and chief of the Medical Service at UCSF Medical Center. He was the first elected president of SHM.