Leadership

Hospitalist Finds Her Niche in Quality and Patient Safety

Q & A with Isha Puri, MD, MPH, FHM, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, Fort Worth, Texas

Dr. Puri, a volunteer member of The Hospitalist’s editorial board, joined hospital medicine when it was just becoming a specialty and thrives on narrowing the gap between work-as-imagined and work-as-done.

No physician is better suited to reform the culture of safety for our patients than a hospitalist.

Dr. Puri

Q: Why did you choose a career in hospital medicine?

A: My career in hospital medicine started serendipitously. I joined hospital medicine while it was still being transformed into a front-line medical specialty. My niche as a hospitalist lies in quality and patient safety. And no physician is better suited to reform the culture of safety for our patients than a hospitalist.

Q: What’s been your biggest success?

A: I think my biggest success is yet to come. We just embarked on a journey to establish a new internal medicine residency program in Fort Worth, Texas. It would be gratifying to see our resident physicians transform into compassionate clinicians.

Q: What challenges have you overcome?

A: I care deeply about the quality of care we deliver to our patients. As a health care “change agent”, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is maintaining a high degree of trust and credibility that’s required to ensure buy-in from stakeholders and steer the organization towards intended quality and patient safety goals.

Q: What makes you happiest about the work you do?

A: When I’m able to narrow the gap between “work-as-imagined” and “work-as-done”.

Q: Why did you join SHM?

A: SHM is by far the best organizational platform for practicing hospitalists. The networking and career advancement opportunities provided by SHM are quite valuable.

Q: Why did you become an editorial board member?

A: Being the leading news magazine for our specialty, it’s an excellent platform with a phenomenal outreach.

Q: What’s the first page you turn to when you get your copy of The Hospitalist?

A: Practice Management and Key Clinical Questions are two of my favorite sections.

Q: What topics would you like to see more of in The Hospitalist?

A: Many of the leading academic publications have included visual abstracts and infographic sections. I’d love to see a dedicated section of infographics and visual abstracts.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for new hospitalists?

A: Don’t let the opinions of others keep you from pursuing your dreams. Learn all aspects of operations, finance, and organizational culture to create a set of future goals.

Q: What’s something someone would be surprised to know about you?

A: I surprised myself by climbing the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs with no preparation. It’s a 0.9-mile steep hike (plus a three-mile downhill hike), that gains an elevation of 2020 feet with an average incline grade of 41% and the steepest grade being 68%. Phew!

Q: What do you wish the world knew about hospitalists?

A: Hospital medicine is no longer a stopgap between residency and fellowship. Hospitalists are integral members of health care teams and often the change agents that an organization needs to drive quality and patient safety.

Q: In a word, hospital medicine is…gratifying.

Q: How do you stay motivated during stressful days?

A: I don’t often rely on motivation, as it’s fleeting and unreliable. I think discipline and habit are what keep me going. Hiking, mindfulness sessions, HIIT sessions, and my peloton keep me centered.

Dr. Puri earned her medical degree from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, India, and completed her residency at Rutgers Health/Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, N.J. She’s currently the director of quality and scholarly activity for the internal medicine residency program at Texas Health Fort Worth Harris Methodist Hospital.

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