Society of Hospital Medicine committee participation is an exciting opportunity available to all medical students and resident physicians. Whether you are hoping to explore new facets of hospital medicine, or take the next step in shaping your career, committee involvement creates opportunities for individuals to share their insight and work collaboratively on key SHM priorities to shape the future of hospital medicine.
If you are interested, the application is short and straightforward. Requisite SHM membership is free for students and discounted for resident members. And the benefits of committee participation are far reaching.
SHM committee opportunities will cater to most interests and career paths. Our personal interest in academic hospital medicine and medical education led us to the Physicians-In-Training (PIT) committee, but seventeen committees are available (see the complete list below). Review the committee descriptions online and select the one that best aligns with your individual interests. A mentor’s insight may be valuable in determining which committee is the best opportunity.
SHM Committee Opportunities:
- Academic Hospitalist Committee
- Annual Meeting Committee
- Awards Committee
- Chapter Support Committee
- Communications Strategy Committee
- Digital Learning Committee
- Education Committee
- Hospital Quality and Patient Safety Committee
- Membership Committee
- Patient Experience Committee
- Performance Measurement & Reporting Committee
- Physicians in Training Committee
- Practice Analysis Committee
- Practice Management Committee
- Public Policy Committee
- Research Committee
- Special Interest Group Support Committee
The most rewarding aspect of committee membership has been the opportunity to make contributions to the growth of SHM, and the advancement of hospital medicine. As members of the PIT committee, which has been charged with developing a trainee pipeline for future hospitalists, we have been fortunate to play roles in the creation of a Student and Resident Executive Council. This group of young hospital medicine leaders will seek to identify strategies to engage medical students and resident physicians in SHM. We had the opportunity to lead the first Student and Resident Interest Forum at the 2018 annual meeting, have contributed to the development of a national research study identifying qualities interviewers are looking for in hospital medicine job candidates, and are helping to craft the young hospitalist track offerings. Medical students and resident physicians are encouraged to take advantage of similar opportunities present in each of the committees.
Membership is a boon. While opportunities for personal and professional growth are less tangible than committee work products, they remain vitally important for trainees. Through their engagement, medical students and resident physicians will have the opportunity to develop new mentoring relationships beyond the confines of their training site. We believe that committee engagement offers a “leg up” on the competition for residency and fellowship applications. Moreover, networking with hospital medicine leaders from across the country has allowed us to meet and engage with current and future colleagues, as well as potential future employers. In the long term, these experiences are sure to shape our future careers. More than a line on one’s curriculum vitae, meaningful contributions will open doors to new and exciting opportunities at our home institutions and nationally through SHM.
Balancing your training requirements with committee involvement is feasible with a little foresight and flexibility. Committee participation typically requires no more than 3-5 hours per month. Monthly committee calls account for 1 hour. Time is also spent preparing for committee calls as well as working on the action items you volunteered to complete. Individual scheduling is flexible, and contributions can occur offline if one is temporarily unavailable because of training obligations. Commitments are for at least 1 year and attendance at the SHM annual conference is highly encouraged but not required. Akin to other facets of life, the degree of participation will be linked with the value derived from the experience.
SHM committees are filled by seasoned hospitalists with dizzying accomplishments. This inherent strength can lead to feelings of uncertainty among newcomers (i.e., impostor syndrome). What can I offer? Does my perspective matter? Reflecting on these fears, we are certain that we could not have been welcomed with more enthusiasm. Our committee colleagues have been 110% supportive, receptive of our viewpoints, committed to our professional growth, and genuine when reaching out to collaborate. Treated as peers, we believe that members are valued based on their commitment and not their level of training or experience.
Committees are looking for capable individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to hospital medicine, as well as specific interests and value-added skills that will enhance the objectives of the committee they are applying for. For medical students and resident physicians, selection to a committee is competitive. While not required, a letter of support from a close mentor may be beneficial. Experience has demonstrated time and again that SHM is looking to engage and cultivate future hospital medicine leaders. To that end, all should take advantage.
Ultimately, we believe that our participation has helped motivate and influence our professional paths. We encourage all medical students and resident physicians to take the next step in their hospital medicine career by applying for committee membership. Our voice as trainees is one that needs further representation within SHM. We hope this call to action will encourage you to apply to a committee. The application can be found at the following link: https://www.hospitalmedicine.org/membership/committees/#Apply_for_a_Committee.