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How to Find a Mentor in the Mentorship Gap


Looking for a mentor to help guide your career development? HM presents young physicians with unique challenges and opportunities.

As a relatively young field, HM hasn't yet accrued a depth of senior leaders. Protected time is in shorter supply in academic medicine, as hospitalists bridge the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty-hour coverage gap. In community hospitals, hospitalists are expressly hired to provide clinical coverage, and rewards for career advancement might not be included in the hospital's contract with the program. (For more on career advancement, listen to experts talk about why hospitalists make great hospital leaders.)

There are really no boundaries to the silo for the hospitalist. To be successful may mean branching out to find people outside of hospital medicine to mentor them in their career pursuit.

—Jeff Wiese, MD, SFHM, professor, associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

Each is a reason Steven B. Deitelzweig, MD, MMM, FACP, SFHM, vice president of medical affairs and system chairman of the Department of Hospital Medicine at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, concludes: "If you rely on hospital medicine to teach you hospital medicine, you're only going to get so far in this day and age."

Big Community Ops

Working a week on/week off schedule might be the preferred goal for some hospitalists in the community setting, says Erik DeLue, MD, MBA, SFHM, hospitalist medical director for the Virtua healthcare system, which runs four hospitals in southern New Jersey. But if you find yourself asking, "Is there more out there for me?" community settings offer lots of opportunities to explore.

For example, one PhD physician in Dr. DeLue's group is parlaying her interest in research to the next level by submitting an abstract to the SHM annual meeting's poster competition regarding care coordination and fragmentation rates. Two other hospitalists share a clinical position (each works 0.5 FTE). On their off time, one works in information technology (IT) for Virtua, which pays the other half of his salary; the other does IT work for two hospital systems in New York City.

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