Before The White Coat: Exploring the Early Lives of Hospitalists

By  |  June 16, 2015 | 

When you see him onstage, it’s like he’s always been here.

Bob Wachter, one of the pioneers of the hospital medicine movement, has taken the podium at SHM’s annual meetings for more than a decade. Whether he’s uncovering important issues in electronic medical records or covering Elton John songs onstage, he seems like a fixture in our world — and in healthcare.

The Unique Paths of Hospitalist Careers

But, rather than being a fixed, static thing, the life of any hospitalist — including the leaders of the movement — is a progression.

Available on iTunes: Before The White Coat

Available on iTunes: Before The White Coat

That progression starts in a different place for every hospitalist, influenced by the people and events of their lives. Some hospitalists knew that they wanted to be in medicine from a young age. Others found their calling much later in life.

Every one of those progressions is interspersed with moments of humor. For instance, this piece of hospitalist trivia: Bob Wachter was the Penn Quaker mascot for the University of Pennsylvania the last time its men’s basketball team made it to the Final Four.

They also include the kinds of profound experiences that get to the very root of what it means to be a hospitalist. For Bob, it was being a resident in the ICU at the University of California San Francisco in the eighties, just as AIDS was beginning to be diagnosed and understood.

That’s why I’m proud to introduce Before The White Coat, a new podcast from SHM, available today on iTunes and other podcast apps. Before The White Coat is a 20-minute podcast, presented every two weeks.

In Before The White Coat, I explore those early influences that make up the lives of some of the leaders in hospital medicine. Today, you can listen to the full interview between Bob and me.

In two weeks, you’ll hear from Ron Greeno, now Chief Strategy Officer at IPC Healthcare. After that, I’ll talk with many of the other leaders every two weeks, including Pat Conway at CMS, Mary Jo Gorman founder of Advanced ICU Care and Nasim Afsar at UCLA.

I’m looking forward to exploring the progression of their lives and careers with you. These personal conversations complement the wealth of clinical and practice management and information that SHM already offers.

Podcasts: A Format that Works for Hospitalists


BWC is also available on other podcast apps. Just search for “Before The White Coat” to subscribe.

Hospitalists are busy people. Either at the hospital or at home, they are almost constantly on their feet. We wanted to present Before The White Coat as a podcast — something you can listen to while on the way to the hospital — or on the way home. Or maybe during an off-hour in either place.

And we know that hospitalists are interested in podcasts; podcasts produced and distributed by our newsmagazine The Hospitalist have been downloaded more than 40,000 times.

In fact, this podcast is modeled on some of the most successful podcasts out there: National Public Radio’s industry-leading podcasts, the new podcasts from Gimlet Media and Adam Corolla’s Take a Knee.

Those podcasts have proven that the format works — and that people are catching on quickly. According to new research from the Pew Research Center, one in three Americans have listened to a podcast and the number of people who have listened to a podcast in the last month has doubled since 2008.

How to Listen & Share

I hope you’ll join their ranks today. Here’s how:

This is a new project for SHM and I hope you’ll tell us what you think. You can tweet to us at @SHMLive and use the #B4theWC hashtag.

Finally, if you like it, I hope you’ll share it with friends, colleagues and others in medicine.

As always, thank you for being an active part of the hospital medicine movement. I hope you’ll enjoy this newest piece of it.

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