Physician Writer General Guidelines

The Hospitalist, the official news magazine for the Society of Hospital Medicine, is published monthly and has a circulation of about 33,000. Readers are hospitalists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, residents, and medical administrators interested in the practice and business of hospital medicine. Articles focus on practical, evidence-based clinical reviews of subjects important to hospitalists; research related to the clinical management of inpatients; regulatory issues; operational strategies; profiles and interviews with hospital medicine leaders; quality improvement initiatives; and general news relating to hospital medicine.

The usual length of standard articles (departments, columns, one- to two-page articles) is about 800 to 1,500 words. The usual length of feature articles (two or more pages) is about 1,500 to 2,500 words. Make sure the topics haven’t been covered recently. Full issues of The Hospitalist are available here for review.

Here are some essential style notes to keep in mind.

  • We use a modified AP style supplemented with the American Medical Association (AMA) style guide for references, medical terms, etc.
  • Use the past tense (e.g., said not says).
  • We use serial (Oxford) commas.
  • For citations/references, we use a modified AMA style. If there are three or more authors, use only the first author then “et al.” (Note: There is always a period after “et al.”) If there are only two authors, separate their names with an “and.” Add a period. Do not use autoformatted footnotes; footnotes should be superscript numbers at the end of the sentence and references should be listed numerically at the end of the article. Use the “Cite” button from a PubMed reference.
  • We use the PubMed Single Citation Matcher to shorten journal names. Note: PubMed also provides volume number, issue number, page numbers, and doi.
  • Citing websites. Last name, First name of the author. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date published, URL.
  • Identify authors and any sources with name, medical credential, job title, and workplace information (including city and state).
  • Use generic names for drugs, etc. If necessary, the brand name may be included in parentheses after the generic name on first use.
  • Use the % symbol with numerical percentages (ex: 5%) in the body copy. 
  • Spell out the numbers one through nine, and use numerals for 10 and above.
  • Please keep the use of acronyms and abbreviations to a minimum, but in any case, please always spell them out on the first reference and include the acronym in parentheses.
  • We use a doi (digital object identifier) whenever page numbers are unavailable. There is no need to use both; we prefer the use of page numbers. Lowercase the term “doi.” Only the date is necessary when using the doi; there is no need for volume/issue numbers.
  • If you include any figures, tables, etc., please include a reference in the body text (i.e., for more information, see Table 1) as well as captions for any figures and credit or source lines, if applicable. Please obtain permission to use any images, tables, figures, etc.
  • When submitting headshots, the images should be a minimum of 300 dpi.