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A Future in Hospital Medicine Comes into Focus


Last month, I attended SHM’s annual meeting and met dozens of hospitalists.

In fact, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with my brother, SHM president Eric Howell, MD, SFHM, as he announced his goal of recruiting 1,000 medical students and residents into SHM in the next year. As he counts down toward that goal, he now calls me “No. 1,000.”

In just a few months, I’ll be applying for residency. And I’m grateful for those hospitalists—including my brother—who have helped guide my decision.

Unlike many medical students, I have had the benefit of knowing about HM for years. Now, as I start to make decisions that will guide my career—my subinternship for fourth year, my residency applications, and even the overarching goals for my life as a physician—the benefits of being a hospitalist come into even sharper focus.

I want to be the doctor that I’ve always envisioned a doctor to be: taking care of any problem, working with patients directly, and being the “quarterback” of a team of caregivers. That’s why an HM career is appealing to me.

Plus, hospitalists often have the chance to explore other interests. For me, I’d like to pursue interests in women’s health. For my brother, it was the chance to lead within the hospital administration.

I believe I’ll also get the chance to have the lifestyle I’ve been working for, one that gives me the balance between life inside and outside of the hospital.

Making career choices as a medical student can be tough. They say “you have so much time to decide” until they say “you have to decide right now.” I’m happy that, when I do decide, there’s a specialty out there that gives me options.

—Lesley Sutherland, medical student

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