How Hospitalists can become HealthCare Leaders or Medical Directors?

I am sure a lot of hospitalists want to become a HealthCare leader at some point of their careers.

Here, I tried to explore some ideas for you based on my experience and observations.

First try to become a successful hospitalist by working efficiently with social workers, case managers, colleagues, residents and other subspecialists. Get a good handle on hospitalist work.

HealthCare leader in Hospital Medicine is someone who does his regular hospitalist work easily and quickly and does a lot more extra work than that regular patient care. For example: You can teach students, participate in committee meetings, volunteer in hospital events when you are free, teach colleagues on new developments in hospital medicine, help with scheduling etc.

If you are interested to become a leader at some point, you can start slowly as you will need sometime to understand the whole system in a new job and new work place. If you are already experienced, you probably know all this buy now.

The most important point is that an aspiring leader should work with and move closely with current leaders to learn and to impress them. The good news is that if you are interested to become a leader, you will become one sooner or later.

The timing of when you can become a leader is also related to your luck. If most of the seniors in your hospitalist program leave for some reason, you can become a leader very soon. Sometimes, you should be willing to move to a new location/hospital to become a leader if there are a lot of seniors in your hospitalist program.

Chief Resident: If you are still in residency, you can become a 3rd year or 4th year chief resident depending on the program in which you are doing residency. Just be close to the program director and go to the medicine department whenever you can. Offer to help the current chief residents if you are still in 1st or 2nd year resident. Offer to help the program director with any thing he/she needs.

Like any other organization, first tell the Medical Director of your program about your future plans. Offer your time to help with any thing they need help with.

Getting Extra Degrees: These are not a must but definitely will boost your application for a leadership role.

Meanwhile, look into getting an extra degree. Extra degrees are not a must but can help boost your candidacy for a leadership role.

MMM: Each MMM cohort is made up entirely of physicians with at least five years of post-residency experience, creating an environment for expert collaboration unlike any other. Together, you will learn the management and informatics skills needed to succeed as health care executives and steer the industry forward.

Executive MBA: You can do this at couple of schools like 1. Executive MBA at Haslam College Of Business at the University of TN in Knoxville or 2. MBA in Health Care at Isenberg School of Management at University of MA at Amherst. You have online options in both. You may have to visit the campus a few times during the entire course. You can do these while doing full time hospitalist job. A few of my friends did this and their career got a boost.

Fellowships of Organizations: These may not add a lot of weightage to your application but good to add to your name while applying for a leadership position.

FACP: Fellow of American College of Physicians. There is a one-time ACP Fellowship initiation fee of $175 payable upon submission of your application for advancement to Fellowship. You can see the application form here. Member must be 3 years post residency training. Member must have 3 prior years of paid membership in the ACP.

FHM: Submit a one-time processing fee of $150 for Fellows and $175 for Senior Fellows. Eligibility for Fellow of Hospital Medicine includes Five years as a practicing hospital medicine professional post-residency. Minimum of three years as a member of SHM. Current SHM membership is in good standing, and payment of dues is up-to-date. No disciplinary action which resulted in the suspension or revocation of credentials or license within five years.

CPE: Certified Physician Executive. Eligibility criteria includes a licensed M.D. or D.O. Have at least one cumulative year of health care leadership experience and significant managerial oversight as described in the Capstone leadership criteria. Candidates must attest to significant lessons learned, physician leadership position(s) and dates/time spent in each role(s). Be (or have been) board certified in a clinical specialty recognized by the ABMS or AOA, or an equivalent recognized board certification commission in the country in which they reside and are licensed to practice. Three years’ experience in clinical practice beyond residency and fellowship training. Complete the Certified Physician Executive curriculum OR have a qualifying graduate management degree program. (MBA, MMM, MHA, MPH, MS-HQSM, MS in management, etc.). Once you meet all eligibility requirements, you would apply online for the CPE Capstone offered four times a year. The Capstone is a live 3 ½ day certifying program and is the final step in achieving the CPE designation.

Become a Top Hospitalist” at ACP: You can try for “Top Hospitalist” which will boost your resume for a leadership role. You need to be nominated by your colleagues and chosen by ACP Hospitalist‘s editorial board for your accomplishments in areas of hospitalist practice such as patient care, quality improvement, and medical education. Click on the link and read how others got this award.

Award of Excellence SHM, Society of Hospital Medicine: You can join their committees. Participate in Local SHM chapters in your area. You can get award in leadership, team work, teaching, management etc.

Chair of Committees in your hospital: There are more than 15-20 committees in every hospital. You can join a few and try to become a chair person for one or two of them.

Medicine Department Chief: This is one easy to get leadership role where in you need to sing privileges for doctors and PAs. You get to join hospital Medical Executive Committee which takes final decisions on most policies and protocols in the hospitals.

Leader of the Hospitalist team: This position depends on how your hospitalist program is structured. Some programs have a Medical Director and 1 or 2 Associated Medical Directors. Some have 2 Team Leaders along with One each of Medical Director and Associate Medical Director. All these positions are with in your own Hospitalist Program so you should work with your current leaders if you want to be one among them in future. Never complain for anything. Always come up with solutions to the issues. Be very nice to everyone in the entire hospital. Be patient and wait for your opportunity or else move to a different city and apply there after obtaining some experience.

Physician Advisor: This role encompasses every kind of leadership that you can take on. Read this article if you want to know how to become a physician advisor.

Medical Director of Utilization Management Department is an extension or advancement in the role of a physician advisor. After obtaining significant experience as a physician advisor, you can become the Medical Director of the UM dept.

Conclusion: Every hospitalist is a HealthCare leader by virtue of what we do on a daily basis. An Hospitalist is in the most suitable position to become a HealthCare Leader. I encourage all of you to strongly consider leadership roles I mentioned above. You are already positioned well as a hospitalist and now, you just have to be interested and express your willingness to become a HealthCare Leader.

Did I forget any other important leadership role for an hospitalist?


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