FIND: A framework for success as a first-year hospitalist



  • Engage your support system: Communicate with nursing, administration, colleagues.
Dr. Rachna Rawal, clinical assistant professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Rachna Rawal

Networking, or building a web of mutually beneficial professional relationships, is imperative for long-term career success. Hospitalists should focus on developing their network across multiple departments, such as nursing, subspecialties, medical education, and hospital administration. Curating a broad network will increase your visibility within your organization, showcase your unique services, and demonstrate your value.

To make networking encounters impactful, express interest, actively listen, ask relevant questions, and seek areas of mutual benefit. It’s equally important to cultivate these new relationships after the initial encounter and to demonstrate how your skill set will aid colleagues in achieving their professional goals. Over time, as you establish your niche, deliberate networking with those who share similar interests can lead to a wealth of new experiences and opportunities. Intentionally mastering networking early in your career provides insight into different aspects of the hospital system, new perspectives on ideas, and access to valuable guidance from other professionals. Engaging in networking to establish your support system is an essential step towards success as a first-year hospitalist.


  • Visualize your path: Find a mentor and develop a mission statement and career plan.
Dr. Teela Crecelius, Indiana University, Indianapolis.

Dr. Teela Crecelius

Once you’re familiar with your work environment, confident in your identity, and acquainted with your support network, you’re ready for the final step – direction. Hospital medicine offers many professional avenues and clarifying your career path is challenging when attempted alone. A mentor is the necessary catalyst to find direction and purpose.

Selecting and engaging with a mentor will bolster your professional advancement, academic productivity, and most importantly, career satisfaction.1 At its best, mentorship is a symbiotic relationship. Your mentor should inspire you, challenge you, and support your growth and emotional well-being. In turn, as the mentee, you should be proactive, establish expectations, and take responsibility for maintaining communication to ensure a successful relationship. As your career takes shape over time, you may require a mentorship team to fulfill your unique needs.

When you’ve established a relationship with your mentor, take time to develop 1-year and 5-year plans. Your 1-year plan should focus on a few “quick wins,” often projects or opportunities at your home institution. Small victories in your first year will boost your confidence, motivation, and sense of control. Your 5-year plan should delineate the steps necessary to make your first major career transition, such as from instructor to assistant professor. Working with your mentor to draft a career mission statement is a useful first step in this process. Beginning with the end in mind, will help you visualize your direction.2

We hope that the FIND framework will help you find your path to success as a first-year hospitalist.

Dr. Nelson is a hospitalist and instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, both in Boston. Dr. Ashford is assistant professor and program director, department of internal medicine/pediatrics, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha. Dr. Rawal is clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Crecelius is assistant professor of clinical medicine at Indiana University, Indianapolis. This article is sponsored by the SHM Physicians in Training committee, which submits quarterly content to the Hospitalist on topics relevant to trainees and early -career hospitalists.


1. Zerzan JT et al. Making the most of mentors: a guide for mentees. Acad Med. 2009;84:140-4. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181906e8f.

2. Covey F. The seven habits of highly effective people. 25th anniversary edition. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013.


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