Promoting a doctor into a position with greater responsibility, and perhaps a little (OK, maybe very little) prestige can be a valuable form of non-monetary compensation. A promotion could be as small as electing a doctor to serve on the hospitalist group’s own advisory committee, or representing the group at the hospital’s medical executive committee or other leadership group. More significant promotions could be having the hospitalist serve as medical director for case management or a clinical activity, such as palliative care; these positions often include additional monetary compensation.
SHM offers recognition in the form of fellowship and the opportunity for promotion to Senior Fellow in Hospital Medicine and Master of Hospital Medicine status. This can be seen as a promotion.
I think it is pretty tough to work an entire career devoted solely to patient care in any field, not just hospitalist practice. In June 2011 (see “Good Advice, Bad Advice,” p. 46), I wrote about the value of every hospitalist having at least a few additional professional interests and activities. A practice can encourage development of new interests and career roles, and make some available as a reward and recognition for good performance. Examples include sending your superstar doctors to SHM’s Leadership Academy, or even enroll them in a course to expand their clinical skill set, such as a procedures course or one that teaches interpretation of carotid ultrasounds or echocardiograms. An institution might find it worthwhile to reward the right doctor by paying their tuition at an executive MHA or MBA program.
It is all too easy to think that salary and benefits are the only rewards—i.e., compensation—that matter. Yet, in addition to money, all of us seek rewards in recognition, promotion, and professional development, and every practice should think deliberately about whether there are valuable opportunities in these categories.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has put in place novel and effective non-monetary compensation.
Dr. Nelson has been a practicing hospitalist since 1988. He is co-founder and past president of SHM, and principal in Nelson Flores Hospital Medicine Consultants. He is co-director for SHM’s “Best Practices in Managing a Hospital Medicine Program” course.