Hospitalists who are planning on advancing their careers—particularly those working toward leadership roles—need to acquire or sharpen their skills through additional training: conferences and seminars, online courses, self-study, or university classes.
The Hospitalist spoke with several HM leaders and a physician executive coach about what makes an employee promotion material. Here are their “continuing education” suggestions for ambitious hospitalists.
Invest in Yourself
The first step in selecting a training venue is to identify your goal. What do you need to learn? How much time, effort, and money do you want to devote to the training? “There are avenues for physicians to pursue if they want to develop some leadership skills,” says Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE, executive director of the Physician Coaching Institute in Bellevue, Wash.
One route, which requires a considerable investment, is to pursue a master’s of business administration (MBA) degree. “I don’t recommend this for most physicians. However, a lot of physicians choose this,” Dr. Gaillour says. “It will help mainly on the business side of becoming a leader, and there are several MBA programs that cater specifically to physicians, or to healthcare.”
A number of the nation’s top universities offer advanced degrees for physicians, including:
- The University of Tennessee offers a physician executive MBA;
- The University of California at Irvine offers a healthcare executive MBA;
- The University of South Florida offers an executive MBA for physicians; and
- The University of Massachusetts offers an MBA program through the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE).
For many hospitalist leaders, an MBA is not necessary. Instead, you might prefer to sign up for a certificate program or short-term course in physician leadership. “For example, here in my area, the University of Washington offers a nine-month course in medical management,” Dr. Gaillour explains. “You attend one evening a week, and it covers the essential concepts in being a leader in the medical field. The course kind of skims the surface of a number of important topics.”
A practical—and popular—way to acquire targeted training is by taking focused leadership courses and workshops offered by such organizations as SHM or ACPE.
Start with SHM
As the chair of SHM’s Leadership Committee, Eric Howell, MD, FHM, SHM board member and director of Collaborative Inpatient Medicine Service in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, is closely involved in the society’s Leadership Academy. “Anybody can sign up for this—hospitalists, nonphysicians, even administrators,” he explains. “Level 1 has no prerequisites, and Level 2 requires only that you’ve completed Level 1 or something equivalent.”
The Level 1 Academy is “probably best for those looking to improve their leadership skills in whatever venue they’re in—an HM group, nursing unit, you name it,” Dr. Howell says. “You can use it to figure out what you need more help with and then branch out to an ACPE [course] or something like that—even an MBA program.”
The next Leadership Academy is Sept. 14-17 in Miami.