While the debate about whether pediatric hospitalists should obtain certification is alive and well, the majority of hospitalists favor further education through fellowships, or a recognition of focused practice for the subspecialty.
When asked in a recent poll by The Hospitalist which certification options pediatric hospital medicine should pursue, 40% of respondents preferred having a recognition of focused practice for pediatric hospitalists, similar to that of adult hospitalists; 25% thought a one-year fellowship should be in place; and 9% would keep the status quo. Currently, there is no specific certification option for pediatric hospitalists. Still, the topic has raised some strong opinions and remains popular fodder for debate among hospitalists.
"I think it is clear the vast majority of pediatric hospitalists believe there are skills necessary to function at a high level in pediatric hospitalist medicine that are not gained during just three years of pediatric residency," says Douglas W. Carlson, MD, SFHM, SHM's representative to the Joint Council of Pediatric Hospital Medicine.
Dr. Carlson says he considers two-year fellowships the best option. However, he does see the possible negative consequences to further education. "If we go to a fellowship, I am worried we will turn off that pipeline [of bright young physicians] … particularly when so many medical students in residency are coming out with such huge debt," he adds.
Rather than debating which result is best, Mark Shen, MD, SFHM, medical director of hospital medicine at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, Texas, is more interested in the "why"of the matter."Whatever result comes out will be well thought through," he says. "In my mind, I would be more interested in what the underlying thought process is in the decision more than anything else."