Published in the April 2012 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
IS WORKING AS A HOSPITALIST A SUSTAINABLE CAREER? One way to answer that question is to ask hospitalists how long they plan to remain in the specialty, and to identify their hoped-for career plans when they do leave.
We did just that in the 2011 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, and the results are not particularly encouraging. Only about half of hospitalists say they plan to stay in the specialty for more than 10 years. Many of the others say they plan to eventually work as a primary care physician, take an administrative position in health care, or start working for industry. Here’s a look at what our survey found.
A 12-year itch
On average, hospitalists say they plan to practice in the specialty for a mean of 12 years. About one-third plan to stay in the specialty for six to 10 years, while just under half plan to stay 11 years or longer.
Longevity in hospital medicine is slightly worse for pediatric hospitalists, who say they plan to stay in their specialty for a mean of 11.45 years, compared to a mean of 12.36 years for adult hospitalists.
Interestingly, the more shifts hospitalists work, the more likely they are to report that they plan to remain in the specialty. Hospitalists working one to nine shifts per month say they intend to stay in the specialty for just over nine years, while hospitalists working more than 20 shifts per month plan to work in the specialty for more than 14 years.
Cut the data differently, and only one-third of hospitalists say they plan to remain in the specialty until they retire. About one-third plan to take an administrative job in health care, and just under one-quarter intend to take a job as a primary care physician.
About 13% want to pursue fellowship training, a number that is slightly higher for adult hospitalists (13%) than pediatric hospitalists (10%). And while more adult hospitalists plan to take an administrative job in health care (31%) than their pediatric counterparts (23%), slightly more pediatric hospitalists plan to eventually work in primary care (26%) than adult hospitalists (22%).
The data also show differences in hospitalists’ plans by geographic region. More hospitalists in the Northeast and Pacific regions intend to take an administrative position in health care (36%), while more hospitalists in the Midwest and the Southwest plan to take a job in primary care (29% to 30%). And more physicians from the Pacific region (20%) plan to take a health care industry job in the pharmaceutical or technology sectors.