Variety is the spice of hospital medicine


What about your least favorite part of hospitalist work?

Sometimes, particularly if you’re doing clinical, educational, and administrative work, it can be a little overwhelming to try and do a little bit of everything. I think generally that’s a good thing, but sometimes it can feel like a little too much.

What is some of the best advice you have received regarding how to handle the stresses of hospital medicine?

Feel free to say no to things. When hospitalists are starting their careers, and particularly when they are new to a job and trying to express their desire to get involved, sometimes they can have too much thrown at them at once. People can get overloaded very quickly, so I think feeling like you’re able to say no to some requests, or to take some time to think before you accept an additional role. The other piece of advice I remember from my fellowship, is that, when you do something, make it count twice. For example, if you’re involved in a project, you get the practical clinical or educational benefits of whatever the project was. But also think about how you might write about your experience for research purposes, such as for a poster, article, or other presentation.

What is the worst advice you have been given?

I think it’s not necessarily bad advice, but I guess it’s advice that I haven’t really followed. Since I work in academic medicine, I’ve found that the people in academics fall into one of two categories: There are the people who find their niche and remain on that path, and they’re very clear about it and don’t really stray from it; and there are people who don’t find that niche right away. I think the advice I received when starting out was to try to find that niche, and if you’re building an academic career it is very helpful to have these things in which you have become the expert. But I’ve just tried to go where the job takes me. I don’t necessarily have a single academic niche or something that I spend all my time doing, but I do have my hand in a lot of different things. To me, that’s a lot more interesting because it adds to the variety of what you’re doing. Every day is a little different.

What else do you do professionally outside of hospital medicine?

I actually practice a little outpatient medicine. When I first started here, I wanted to keep some outpatient experience, and so I actually created my own clinic. It’s a procedure clinic where I do paracentesis on people who have cirrhosis. Then on the educational side, I sit on the admission committees for the medical school here, so I get to look through the applicants and choose who we interview, and then once we interview candidates, I help choose how we rank students for admission.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

I’ve never been one who looks at a particular job and says ‘Okay, I want to be the dean or have this position.’ I guess I just hope I’m better at the things I’m currently doing. I hope in 10 years that I’m a better teacher, that I’ll have learned more strategies to help more people, and that I have a better handle on the administrative side of the work. I hope I’ve progressed to a point in my career where I’m doing an even better job than I am now.

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