HR, Recruiting & Staffing

Hospitalists Are Not Alone

I’ve been writing a lot about hospitalist satisfaction and career sustainability, but a just-released report from The Physicians Foundation shows just how widespread low physician morale and disenchantment with their profession really is. Every other year, The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit group focused on supporting the work of physicians and improving healthcare quality, conducts a massive national physician survey with the help of Merritt Hawkins, a national physician search and consulting company. The survey invitation was sent out by email to every physician in the country for whom the AMA has an email address on file; 17,236 of the roughly 630,000 physicians who received the survey invitation completed the 39-question survey. I hope a good number of them were hospitalists. The report is chock full of interesting findings, and I encourage you to take a look. Among the highlights, the survey found that more than half (54%) of respondent physicians…

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

One of the best parts of my “job” as a more-or-less emeritus member of SHM’s Practice Analysis Committee is the chance to be involved up close and personal in the development, analysis, and reporting of the biannual State of Hospital Medicine (SoHM) survey. In fact, I’ve either led or been integrally involved in every SoHM survey since 2006, and that has enabled me to gain an extremely valuable perspective on how the specialty of hospital medicine has evolved over the last 10 years. During the last few weeks, I’ve been up to my eyeballs reviewing sections of the new 2016 survey report that were drafted – as was the case in 2014 – by Patrick Vulgamore, MPH, SHM staffer extraordinaire. While some of the data is still being analyzed, my excitement is growing about the new survey results. The State of Hospital Medicine Report will be available to the public…

Hospitalists & Unionization: Part II

by David Schwartz, MD
By: Dr. David Schwartz Senator Elizabeth Warren once said, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are probably on the menu.” While somewhat amusing on the surface, Warren’s comment cuts to the core of why my colleagues and I decided to form the first hospitalist specialty union. The Outsourcing: In 2014, a consulting firm was hired to review our hospitalist program. We were a 38-member group serving a 382 bed referral hospital - one of only two in our community of 200,000. We care for 50-60% of inpatients at any given time and average 35-40 admissions - and sometimes over 50 - in a 24-hour period. Our census had been growing significantly for some time without a comparable increase in staffing.  The occupancy rate of the hospital consistently reaches 90-100%.  The only other hospital is a 115 bed community medical center. We were told that the purpose…
Dr. Schwartz is the president of the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association, AFT local 6552, and is a hospitalist at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Oregon. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed residency in Internal Medicine at New York Medical College.

A Link between Hospitalist Morale and Retention?

Many observers of our specialty tend to think of hospitalists as itinerant shift workers, many of whom have little emotional commitment to the organization that employs them and will quickly decide to leave for another job where the grass is greener.  Even my colleague John Nelson often describes hospitalists as preferring to “date” rather than “marry” their practice.  And more than one hospital executive has told me, “They’re just going to leave in a couple years anyway, so why should we invest a lot in their development and morale?”   But there’s at least one organization where hospitalist group leaders see things differently, and are working hard to understand the determinants of hospitalist wellbeing and the relationship between wellbeing and retention.  I recently spoke with Dr. Shalini Chandra at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (JHBMC), lead author of an article recently posted online by the Journal of Hospital Medicine about…

Lessons from the Wizard of Oz: Giving Thanks to Interprofessional Team Members

Tonight I happened to catch a few minutes of the Wizard of Oz- a great classic and our daughter was in delight watching the munchkins dance and sing for Dorothy. It also reminded me of the importance of a great team—Dorothy needed the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion to get to her final destination. Likewise, it takes a great team (and less singing and dancing ability fortunately) to take care of a patient in the hospital. We all know this, but if so, why is it sometimes so hard to work together in a team? Well, one reason is that doctors have not received formal training in how to interact with the multitude of team members that they will come into contact with while taking care of patients. That is now changing. The Association of American Medical Colleges now states that graduating medical students must be prepared…
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