SHM can be a resource for hospitalists to find ways and people to help them assess their careers, say Dr. Frederickson.
“The Society of Hospital Medicine and their annual meetings and chapter meetings are a great place to do networking and a good place to find out different ways and different people you can align yourself with to start looking at your career in an objective way and a critical way,” he says.
Career coaches can be a good option, particularly for hospitalists who are struggling with significant change. Coaches do more than assist with resumes and interview strategies, says Dr. Gaillour. They help people align their careers with their values, strengths, passions, and goals so that they reach their full potential as a professional and a person, she says.
Coaches also advise on how to strategically plan a career and help physicians build career resilience.
“By resilience, I mean that there is always going to be some relevance to what you’re doing and you’re going to be able to weather some of the [healthcare] changes,” Dr. Gaillour says. “With a lot of physician groups and hospitals coming together and the stress of new initiatives, mergers, integrations, electronic medical records, and accountable-care organizations, all of that has a direct impact on physicians.”
The Time Is Right
Recommendations vary on how often career assessments should be conducted. Flores suggests hospitalists conduct a career checkup every two to three years “to see if they’re still on track and if their interests and goals have changed.”
Two years ago, William Atchley Jr., MD, FACP, SFHM, assessed his career while chief of the division of hospital medicine for Sentara Healthcare, a nonprofit healthcare system based in Norfolk, Va. The assessment was illuminating, he says, because it helped him to crystallize his strengths and weaknesses and determine “what I wanted to be doing,” he says.
In July, Dr. Atchley joined Atlanta-based Eagle Hospital Physicians, a physician-led company that develops and manages hospitalist practices for client hospitals. He is now regional senior medical director and is overseeing clinical services and medical affairs in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
The more often physicians examine their career, the better they become at understanding themselves and using that understanding to their advantage, Dr. Gaillour says, who advocates annual assessments. Others suggest a daily dose of assessment.
“Daily, a physician can create a ritual to just check in with themselves, have a space where they can ask themselves questions of what went well today, what do I want more of, if there are complaints that are arising,” Dr. Allen says. “It’s an important way of preventing ourselves from getting in a place where we are really dissatisfied.”
Lisa Ryan is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.