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Find a Job, Keep Your Job, Do a Better Job


Some estimates indicate there are upward of 15,000 hospitalists practicing hospital medicine. And it seems that at any one time 8,000 of them are looking for their first or next job. Most hospital medicine groups are starting up or growing. And with the mobility of our specialty, retention has become as important as recruitment.

SHM has a number of initiatives that can help hospitalists and hospitalist employers sort all this out.

If you are looking for a new opportunity in hospital medicine, your first stop has probably been the extensive recruitment ad pages (“SHM Career Center”) in The Hospitalist. And now SHM has created a unique online “SHM Career Center” that we will match up against or for functionality and ease of use. We hope to grow this to be the most extensive collection of hospitalist opportunities anywhere.

Any visitor to the SHM Web site ( can view all of the career opportunities and sort through them by setting (academic or community hospital), employer type (hospital or hospitalist group or multispecialty group), and geographic location. You can also look for pediatric or adult-patient hospitalist positions or for full-time or part-time jobs—or even nocturnists.

What’s more, SHM members really can customize their job search at the online “SHM Career Center.” If you belong to SHM you can have jobs e-mailed right to your inbox. You can set your own search parameters, such as “Show me all the jobs where the employer is a hospitalist-only group in Maryland and Pennsylvania.” You can also post a blind resume for potential employers to review and contact you confidentially. Every day just turn on your computer, fire up your e-mail, and there will be jobs waiting for you to investigate.

SHM will also have tips on how to write a resume, how to interview, what you should look for in work hours and compensation, and just about everything you need to find your first job or your next job.

For those hospital medicine groups looking for their next hospitalist, the online “SHM Career Center” will most likely give you the most selected group of hospitalists looking for your job ad. SHM has tried to be the best source to meet the hospitalists’ needs and this is just the next idea we came up with.

Come and give the online “SHM Career Center” a look-see and let us know what you think. Better yet: Become an SHM member and have the jobs come to you.

SHM members can customize their job search at the online “SHM Career Center.” You can have jobs e-mailed right to your inbox and set your own search parameters, such as “Show me all the jobs where the employer is a hospitalist-only group in Maryland and Pennsylvania.” You can even post a blind resume for potential employers to review and contact you confidentially.

Career Satisfaction

Once you get that right job, SHM wants to help you make a career in hospital medicine. Every new specialty runs the risk of creating exceptional demands in their early years until everyone figures out just the right formula. Right now SHM has convened a Career Satisfaction Task Force that is conducting research, hosting focus groups, and developing guidelines and parameters to help hospitalists understand what elements lead to the best chance of a satisfying career.

Emergency department physicians went through this in the early days when they went from working 24 shifts a month to 14 to 16 shifts. Pilots developed mandatory work hour restriction to avoid sleepy or stressful situations. We know it feels uncomfortable sometimes to be the pioneer element while things are still in flux. But help is on the way.

The good news is that employers are just as concerned about your job satisfaction and preventing burnout as you are (although it may not always seem that way). Many hospital medicine groups and hospitals are realizing that once you find the right hospitalists it takes commitment to retain them and nourish their career. It is expensive and disruptive to have a high turnover in a hospital medicine group. That is why SHM anticipates that many hospitals and hospital medicine groups will want to adopt the conditions that can lead to stability.

In addition to the work of the Career Satisfaction Task Force, the recently released data from the 2005-2006 Hospitalist Compensation and Productivity Survey will be another key element in creating the proper balance of work and pay for hospitalists. This year we had the largest response of hospitalist leaders (and an 85% increase from pediatric hospitalists alone), and SHM believes the current data are the most reliable in defining hospital medicine.

SHM members have access to the complete survey information—either online, on a CD, or in print. Make sure your hospital and your group uses this compensation and productivity gold standard as you make your staffing and compensation decisions.

Young Physicians Have Needs, Too

Obviously most of this is also applicable to physicians in training and in early career, but SHM wants to play an important role in the decision to become a hospitalist and wants to provide the young hospitalist with the skills to succeed. SHM is involved in efforts to redesign internal medicine residencies to make them more applicable to the way medicine is practiced in the 21st century. In the new schema there will be a core of internal medicine that everyone must be competent in. Then there will be an opportunity for individuals to elect to take the latter part of their residency with an emphasis on hospital medicine, a subspecialty, or ambulatory skills. SHM plans to use the recently published SHM Core Competencies in Hospital Medicine as a basis for our efforts in this redesign.

SHM is also developing materials to help medical students and residents understand just what a career in hospital medicine entails. We feel the more the young physicians understand the total picture of hospital medicine the more this will be a sought-after career choice. Hospitalists will have a role in direct patient care, leading change at their hospitals, improving quality, and still be able to have a full life outside of medicine.

The hospital medicine marketplace is still being defined. There is still significant room for growth and mobility. It will be a while before stability settles in. In fact there really is no status quo to use as a benchmark. In all this turbulence, SHM continues to create the tools and resources to help you find a sustainable career in hospital medicine—or to at least help you find your next job. TH

Dr. Wellikson has been CEO of SHM since 2000.

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