Letter from the Editor

Many think of hospital medicine as a field largely populated by young physicians, but this may be changing.

Many think of hospital medicine as a field largely populated by young physicians. Yet this may be changing as the advantages of working as a hospitalist—steady hours, job security and great pay—lure more experienced physicians to the field. Mid-career physicians often bring valuable community ties, business acumen and a strong work ethic to a hospitalist team, and the change in scene can give them a special enthusiasm for the job. Yet they also may need time to get accustomed to treating acute patients, and to the hospital's technology and collaborative work environment. Staff writer Stacey Butterfield looks at the advantages and challenges of a mid-career switch from community to hospital medicine—for the doctors themselves as well as the hospitals—and how to smoothly integrate these physicians with their younger colleagues.

Another career-themed feature examines the subset of physicians who opt to leave the employ of a hospital and form their own hospitalist groups. These locally owned, independent units, which the Society for Hospital Medicine says comprise about 15% of all hospitalist groups, have the freedom to try new things without getting bogged down by red tape, but can also find it difficult at times to make ends meet. Learn more about the rewards and drawbacks.

Finally, this issue kicks off a new column by our editorial adviser, Jamie S. Newman, FACP, a hospitalist with the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Newman will lend his singular wit and wisdom to our pages by musing on medical history, humanities and hospital medicine. His first feature revisits the seminal House of God satire of the medical internship year, and updates it for a new generation. Also keep an eye out for the second installment of our regular feature, “Measure of the month,” in which hospitalist Lisa Kirkland, FACP, breaks down the codes you need to know to collect a bonus under CMS’ 2008 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative. This month's column covers coronary artery disease.

The staff of ACP Hospitalist will continue to share editing duties for the next few months while editor Jennifer Kearney-Strouse is on maternity leave with her very handsome new son. We'd love to hear your feedback on this issue, and on any topics you'd like us to cover in the magazine. You can reach us at acphospitalist[EACHAT]acponline.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jessica Berthold