It’s the Most Wonderful (and Stressful) Time of the Year

By  |  December 19, 2019 | 

As if you didn’t have enough things stressing you out right now with both the holidays and flu season upon us, I thought I’d offer up a friendly reminder that we are now less than a month away from launching SHM’s 2020 State of Hospital Medicine Survey. We barely get to catch our breath from holiday festivities before turning our attention to data collection and filling out the survey.

Why am I bringing the survey up at this wonderful/stressful time of year? Because the biennial survey is a crucial opportunity for you to ensure that your voice is heard and that your group’s unique collection of attributes and characteristics is factored into the national understanding of the field of hospital medicine. Forewarned is forearmed, and I’m hoping that by bringing it to your attention now, you will be both well-armed and highly motivated to participate in the SoHM Survey.

SHM’s Practice Analysis Committee and staff have worked extra hard this year to streamline the survey and make it easier and more valuable than ever to participate. So really, what’s stopping you? We’ve eliminated some outdated and low-value questions, tightened up some vague or confusing language and added a few new questions on high-interest topics, such as non-billable work done by NPs and PAs, your group’s future growth plans, leadership ethnicity and gender and clarification of night coverage arrangements.

In addition, SHM has invested in a new, more sophisticated survey platform this year, replacing SurveyMonkey® (remember the olden days when this survey was still on paper forms?), and providing an exciting new capability for multi-site organizations to “re-take” the electronic survey multiple times – with fields pre-populated from a previous survey – instead of using the Excel multi-site tool. And we’ve vastly improved the Excel multi-site tool’s functionality for those who prefer that method of data submission.

The survey launches on January 6, 2020 and will run through February 16. You can pre-register for the survey here and also download a checklist of data elements you will need and other important information about the survey.

In the meantime, I wish you joy and peace in this hectic Christmas season. I’m sure you hear plenty of platitudes about how to manage stress at this time of year. There’s probably not much useful that I can add. So I will just say that no matter how overworked and underappreciated you feel, how torn you are right now among the obligations of work, family, friends, other responsibilities and the unending round of events and festivities, the work you do as doctors, NPs, PAs and yes, administrators, caring for acutely ill and very scared people in the hospital is a sacred ministry that makes an enormous difference in people’s lives. This is a worthy calling.

Please remember that everyone working around you is also especially stressed right now, and your patients and their families are even more stressed and vulnerable. It’s distressing to be in the hospital at all, much less during the holidays. Stay committed to working with love, humility, patience, and a high degree of professionalism, even in the face of difficult odds. And please, please take care of yourself in the midst of this festive, but also challenging and stressful, time. Get more sleep. Make time for a cherished activity. Seek out the people who lift you up, rather than bumming you out. Don’t put off exercising. Enjoy a glass of really good champagne. And meditate on the true meaning of Christmas.

I’m blessed beyond measure to be able to work in the world of hospital medicine, and to serve you all – including via this blog. If you have thoughts about topics you’d like to see me address in the coming year, I’d love to hear from you. Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to all.

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About the Author: Leslie Flores

Leslie Flores
Leslie Flores is a founding partner at Nelson Flores Hospital Medicine Consultants, a consulting practice that has specialized in helping clients enhance the effectiveness and value of hospital medicine programs as well as those in other hospital-focused practice specialties since 2004. Ms. Flores began her career as a hospital executive, after receiving a BS degree in biological sciences at the University of California at Irvine and a Master’s in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota. In addition to her leadership experience in hospital operations, business development, managed care and physician relations, she has provided consulting, training and leadership coaching services for hospitals, physician groups, and other healthcare organizations. Ms. Flores is an active speaker and writer on hospitalist practice management topics and serves on SHM’s Practice Analysis and Annual Meeting Committees. She serves as an informal advisor to SHM on practice management-related issues and helps to coordinate SHM’s bi-annual State of Hospital Medicine Survey.

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