US News Medical Admissions Blog Profiles Hospitalists: All Press is Good Press, Right?

By  |  September 4, 2014 | 

We are clearly in the mainstream!  The Medical School Admissions Doctor blog sponsored by US News and World Report profiled hospital medicine this week in a post entitled, “Get to Know a Day in the Life of a Hospitalist.”  I admit, I had never seen this blog before, but after reviewing the article written by Sylvia Morris, a former hospitalist at Emory, I took the opportunity to peruse other articles in the blog history.

The article about a day in the life of a hospitalist is part of a series where they are trying to capture the day-to-day aspects of being a certain type of specialist. Other entries I saw were covering primary care physicians, OB/Gyn, and nocturnists. I also noticed that their target audience is pre-med students and they focus on giving advice on how to get into medical school and showing what life could be like as a physician. The Medical School Admissions Doctor is something that I wish I had had back in the day. This post on hospitalists is for an audience that may not yet even know what the inside of a hospital looks like.

For a specialty that has been off the radar screen of students and residents alike for many years, I always welcome the opportunity to publicize what we hospitalists do and why we are so important to the modern healthcare system. This article captures many of the aspects of hospital medicine that we all know so well, including:

  • -Morning sign out of new patients
  • -Daily rounding
  • -Multidisciplinary team rounds
  • -Responding to queries

While I have some quibbles with some of the out-of-date figures (the latest estimate is 44,000 hospitalists in the US, not 31,000; average encounters from benchmark data is more like 11-15, not 17-25) and focus on chaos, long hours, and interruptions, the thing I would love to see conveyed in the next article to these young doctors-to-be, is the heart of hospital medicine.

I want these learners to understand that, yes, it is sometimes busy, but it is always fulfilling.  Responding to nurses’ pages isn’t only an interruption but an opportunity to teach, or to connect, and better yet, work together as a team for the care of the patient. It is a privilege to be entrusted by patients and families.  Primary care physicians understand this over the course of years.; emergency doctors understand this trust intensely over the course of hours.  It is our privilege to care for people over the course of 3-4 busy, scary days in the patient’s life.

I am appreciative that this pre-med focused blog was forward thinking and chose us as a specialty to profile.  We are clearly an up and coming field and one that in many ways jives with the ideals of the young Millenials in training now. Reading it reminds me that there are many stories to tell and that there are many types of hospitalists whose story needs to be told.

Our Editorial Team at The Hospital Leader wants hospitalists of all stripes– nocturnists, PA/NP hospitalists, academic hospitalists, rural hospitalists, etc. to tell their own “Day in the Life” story. If you have a story to tell about your practice please contact Meghan Mallouk on our Editorial Team at [email protected].

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About the Author:

Burke Kealey
Burke Kealey, MD, SFHM is the Senior Medical Director for Hospital Specialties at HealthPartners Medical Group in Bloomington, Minnesota. Dr. Kealey began his career as a hospitalist in 1995 and has worked in medical leadership since 2000. In 2003 he was awarded SHM’s Award for Clinical Excellence. He has Chaired SHM’s Practice Analysis Committee and helped produce several of SHM’s Compensation and Productivity surveys. Dr. Kealey is a past president of SHM’s board of directors and has served as secretary and treasurer in past terms. Dr. Kealey has a strong interest in ensuring that hospital medicine practices are effectively managed with a strong focus on the triple aim of affordability, great experience, and best health for our patients. Raised in Texas, Dr. Kealey received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University, his medical degree from the University of Texas at Houston, and then moved north for Internal Medicine training at the University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics. While in chief residency he met his lovely wife Samantha, a Minnesota native and current Emergency Medicine physician. Together, they have 4 children.


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