Career Development

Augh! I Just Got Laid Off! What Now?

Wait a minute. Isn’t there an ongoing national shortage of hospitalists? Don’t most hospital medicine groups have trouble recruiting enough providers? You wouldn’t think hospitalists would be at much risk for being laid off. But believe it or not, it does happen. Management companies lose contracts. Hospitals get acquired or lose a big book of business. Some administrator decides NP/PAs are more cost-effective than doctors. And – if our work with hospitalist groups around the country is any indicator – large integrated delivery systems are increasingly expecting top-quartile productivity from their physicians across all specialties, which means more work with fewer resources. I worked with a hospitalist program recently that has laid off several NP/PAs in an effort to improve productivity and financial performance; they haven’t yet laid off any doctors, but it could still happen. While it’s still rare, I expect that hospitalists will become more vulnerable to layoffs…

Rounds: Are We Spinning our Wheels?

As a Johns Hopkins undergraduate, I used to run the Welch lecture series in medical history. Through this role, I learned about an interesting tidbit – the origin of the word “rounds.” Johns Hopkins Hospital had a circular ward where the infamous and quotable Dr. Osler made his “rounds” to see patients. While medicine has come a long way since Osler’s days, have rounds? This is the crux of a paper in the Journal of Hospital Medicine by led one of our former Pritzker students Olliver Hulland along with mentors and hospitalists Dr. Jeanne Farnan and Dr. Barrett Fromme. In a 3-site study with UCSF and Georgetown, they conducted focus groups with attendings and medical students to ask the quintessential question, “What is the purpose of rounds?” Interestingly, the answers were markedly similar and revealed the multi-faceted nature of rounds: Communication, which included coordination of patient care team, patient/family communication,…

Making the Implicit Explicit

Last month, I wrote about some interesting workplace trends, in particular about how the implied compact between U.S. workers and their employers is evolving rapidly. Few of us in the workforce today can conceive of an employment relationship in which we are guaranteed lifelong employment and a generous benefits package including full healthcare and retirement in exchange for hard work and loyalty to a single employer. Since then, I’ve had several conversations about the term “compact” as I used it in that post. At its most fundamental, a compact is an agreement between two or more parties. In my recent post, I used the term to refer to the generally accepted but rarely articulated set of expectations that workers and their employers have of each other. There is an implied compact between physicians and the hospitals where they practice as well. Historically that compact assumed that doctors would refer lots…

Cultivating Women Leaders in Healthcare #WIMmonth #ThisIsWhatADoctorLooksLike

On my way home from Scotland, I had a moment to watch a movie while my daughter was caught up in the encore adventures of Moana. I stumbled upon Hidden Figures, the story of the African American women at NASA who helped launch John Glenn into space, relaunching the nation’s space program. These women were true heroes and patriots – they lived in a man’s world and a white world, and they still managed to overcome and lead when needed. Yet, their story was “hidden” from the public until years later when popularized into this screenplay. On the plane, I realized I needed a fresh take to start my women in medicine webinar for this month’s American Medical Association Women in Medicine webinar. Instead of exploring the ‘leaky pipeline’ resulting in 1 in 5 professors who are female, I wondered whether were there hidden figures – women leaders among us…

Should We Really Focus on “Patient-Centered” Care?

“Patient-centered care implies that the patient is always right and that their opinion should win out over the physician’s opinion.” I read that quote from Dr. Katie Neuendorf in a recent article in The Hospitalist, and it resonated with me right away. In the article, Dr. Neuendorf explains that patient-centered care should really be “relationship-centered care,” which means that the relationship should be prioritized, even when there is disagreement in the plan of care. In this scenario, she pointed out that she can support the patient and still not prescribe a treatment that she feels is inappropriate. This is brilliant and beautiful. We know, as numerous articles have shown us, that giving patients what they want is not necessarily good for them. Patients with the highest satisfaction scores also have the highest mortality ratings. This is thought to be because patients may be asking for interventions, tests or prescription drugs…
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