Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More on SHM and hospitalist career satisfaction

A senior executive with the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) left a comment on one of my posts in which I said SHM needed to make career satisfaction a higher priority. He pointed out that the SHM career satisfaction Task Force has issued a white paper on the subject which can be accessed here. I’m not sure he understood my concerns.

Although the white paper contains helpful suggestions for individual programs it ignores an important megatrend which may now be the major threat to hospitalist career satisfaction. It’s what Bob Wachter cleverly terms life as a Swiss Army knife. It refers to an ever expanding and more nebulous job description which asks hospitalists to perform duties outside the scope of their training and comfort levels. It’s a recipe for burnout.

It may attract short timers, but who wants to sign up for life as a Swiss Army knife as a career? Hospital medicine, in whatever organizational form it takes in the coming years, must address this problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that being a hospitalist is being a Swiss Army knife, but I happen to think these knives are great. I think what you are confusing is being a hospitalist versus being an internist. If we are to argue that hospitalists are a new specialty, which I think they are, then we have to differentiate ourselves from being a hospital-based internist. An internist sees internal medicine problems. A hospitalist manages hospitalized patients, and is a specialist in providing the highest quality care regardless of the diagnosis. An ER doctor specializes in taking care of patients in an emergency setting regardless of whether it is medical (MI) or surgical (trauma). Likewise, a hospitalist specializes in caring for hospitalized patients. We should not confuse the concept of the hospitalist, which involves improving the care of all hospitalized patients, from the present reality, which is that we are not adequately staffed to do this. These are 2 separate issues.