SHM: My home as a pediatric hospitalist


As I began my career in pediatric hospital medicine at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn., I knew that I wanted a way to continue my education and to network with other hospitalists with interests in academics and pediatrics.

Dr. Kris Rehm, associate professor, pediatrics, and director, division of pediatric outreach medicine at Vanderbilt University and Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Kris Rehm

In 2010, I decided to attend a pre-course to the Society of Hospital Medicine’s annual conference that focused on academic hospital medicine, and my career has never been the same! I am thrilled to say I have found my professional home in SHM.

Here’s a quick list of the reasons SHM has been such a warm, welcoming home for me. I’ve highlighted the few options that stood out to me, but rest assured there is so much more from which to choose:

  • Leadership opportunities in our Pediatrics Special Interest Group.
  • Representation on the Annual Conference Committee to select pediatric-specific content as well as workshops on leadership, education, patient experience, and quality improvement.
  • The Academic Hospitalist Academy, first as a pre-course before the SHM annual conference, and now as its own amazing meeting for academic pediatric hospital medicine providers.
  • SHM’s Leadership Academy, a wonderful opportunity to learn leadership skills and network with other leaders. This year, it is in Vancouver!
  • Participation in quality improvement initiatives like Pedi-BOOST, a care transitions program that specializes in pediatric patients.
  • Traveling to Abu Dhabi and the Middle East Update in Hospital Medicine this March – being able to spread the latest trends in hospital medicine in the USA is one of the best experiences I have had with SHM!

Another reason SHM truly made me feel welcomed was the opportunity to attend the Pediatric Hospital Medicine (PHM) meeting. Each July, SHM helps to put on the largest gathering of pediatric hospital medicine providers. This year, it will be held in Atlanta from July 19-22.

This meeting is organized and supported by SHM, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), and offers spectacular content in many tracks, including quality improvement, education, research, and the incredibly popular “Top Articles” presentation at lunch on Saturday. This session provides teaching materials that can span the year for Journal Clubs and resident and student education. The abstracts and poster sessions are top-notch and provide an opportunity for young and experienced providers to share their work.

The fourth annual Knowledge Café will be a highlight for me as well, as it allows collaboration and networking experiences in hot topics for early career hospitalists. How to strive for work/life balance, how to get the most out of your first meeting, and techniques for talking with your boss about difficult issues are some of the topics we plan to cover this year.

On top of this, networking and participation on various committees and work groups afforded me the opportunity to join the SHM Board of Directors in May of 2017. Having completed my first year on the Board, I have an even deeper appreciation for the progressive thinking of our leadership team and the amazing work that the staff of SHM does behind the scenes to help us maximize our memberships. I love the continuous process improvement that is happening with every Board meeting.

As a member of the Board, it’s important to keep tabs on the pulse of SHM members and their evolving needs. One way I have really enjoyed getting to learn about our membership is by attending local chapter meetings. I recently traveled to West Virginia and Connecticut, both of which have active, engaged chapters working to improve care in their local communities – it was so inspiring to have the opportunity to represent the organization, and I look forward to more meetings just like this. For our local chapter in Nashville, I have the honor of picking the venue for our meetings, which keeps me on my toes as I look for the latest hot spots in an incredibly happening city!

Last summer, the benefits of membership in SHM and my career choice of hospital medicine took on a whole new meaning. In July, just before PHM 2017, a meeting that I was lucky enough to chair, my husband started to feel the pain of a recurrent kidney stone as he was traveling with our four sons and their three friends. Can you imagine being on an airplane with seven elementary school–age boys when the worst pain EVER strikes?

I was home in Nashville thinking, “Who can I call to help him in Minneapolis?” My first thought was of fellow members of SHM with whom I’ve developed friendships over the years – other hospitalists like you and me. Many people came to mind, all of whom practice hospital medicine! A huge thank-you to our friend Dr. Shaun Frost, who rescued my husband, drove him to a local ED, AND took the seven boys out for lunch. I truly have never been so grateful!

My task for you is simple: Engage with the Society of Hospital Medicine! Come to a meeting, join a special interest group, connect with your local chapter, and make friends who can support you through your career – and, as evidenced by my husband’s experience – even in your personal life. It’s truly a special organization, and I can’t wait to share some experiences just like these with you.

Dr. Rehm is associate professor, pediatrics, and director, division of pediatric outreach medicine at Vanderbilt University and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, both in Nashville, Tenn. She is also a member of the SHM board of directors.

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