Education and training always will be a major draw for hospitalists attending SHM’s annual meetings, but hospitalists who let their day end after the last educational session are missing some of the meeting’s biggest opportunities for professional growth, according to conference veterans.
Networking, whether in between sessions, on the exhibit floor, at receptions, or after hours, can be a powerful career development tool, according to Jeff Glasheen, MD, SFHM, HM12 course director, and Michael Pistoria, DO, FACP, SFHM, course director for HM13.
“Hospitalists who haven’t attended an SHM annual meeting before are going to be pleasantly surprised by the accessibility and friendliness of faculty and other leaders in the field,” Dr. Pistoria says. “Networking opportunities will be everywhere at HM12. Smart hospitalists will take advantage of them to make connections, find resources, and advance their careers.”
Dr. Pistoria also points to SHM’s special-interest groups as easy ways to quickly find hospitalists with similar interests and establish professional networks.
The impact of networking at the annual meeting extends beyond individual interests, Dr. Glasheen says. Savvy networkers can impact the entire specialty, but they need to show up.
“This is our chance to influence the society—both big ‘S’ and small ‘s.’ And you can’t do that on your couch at home,” he says. “If you care about your field, be at the meeting learning with others, meeting colleagues, and influencing the direction of the field. This field is still new enough, small enough, and undifferentiated enough that you can influence its direction. Your odds of doing that are enhanced with the more people you meet.”
—Michael Pistoria, DO, FACP, SFHM, HM13 course director
Staying true to the “connect” and “collaborate” themes, HM12 will provide unprecedented opportunities to network with other hospitalists from across the country, including new breaks, receptions, and the special-interest groups.
As in years past, the most resourceful hospitalists will find even more informal opportunities, such as time between sessions and unwinding after a full day of meetings. Dr. Pistoria says the after-hours sessions pay off in the form of a support structure that he can rely on for professional advice.
“I remember the relationships that are developed and nurtured during time networking,” he says. “Those same relationships then help me when I am faced with an issue at my institution. I’ve now got built-in ‘consultants’—friends at other institutions that I can email and ask, ‘What are you doing about …’”
He also finds the networking personally rewarding, bridging the gap from professional colleagues to personal friends. “Those hours are where I’ve developed the friendships that I have with other SHM members,” he says.
Brendon Shank is associate vice president of communications for SHM.