In the battle over how to best cope with the changing landscape of medical training, a key front could be job descriptions. That’s right: job descriptions.
“It behooves a program to define what and who they are, and follow it through in the hiring process,” says Ken Simone, DO, FHM, president of Hospitalist and Practice Solutions in Veazie, Maine, and author of the recently published Hospitalist Recruitment and Retention: Building a Hospital Medicine Program (Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
Dr. Simone, a member of Team Hospitalist, notes that the way any successful program—private, academic, or community—hires and keeps quality staff is to attract like-minded physicians.
For younger physicians, he says a major factor in job selection is the role of mentoring. And in the wake of new and potentially continuing changes to the training that residents are allowed to experience, that training role becomes even more important. “The good news is we can basically mold this person and we can support this person, so they become the provider we want them to be, as opposed to an experienced doctor who has habits they won’t change,” Dr. Simone says.
—Ken Simone, DO, FHM, president, Hospitalist and Practice Solutions, Veazie, Maine
And while much of the discussion about residency regulations focuses on potential downsides, Dr. Simone quickly points out that post-graduate physicians often are well versed in technology, evidence-based protocols, and other modern techniques that older physicians are reticent to adopt.
“Although we recognize that recruiting is challenging, that’s not been something that has prohibited [HM] from agreeing to be the solution here,” says Shaun Frost, MD, FACP, FHM, regional director for Cogent Healthcare in St. Paul, Minn., and an SHM board member. “With education, training, and mentoring, young hospitalists fresh out of their residencies can learn to practice as efficiently as so-called 20th-century residents.”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.