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Updated: Aug 19, 2020

It’s now just over a month since starting fellowship and I feel like I’m finally settling in. Let's start with the basics.

What is PHM?

What exactly is pediatric hospital medicine, or PHM, as we like to call it? It’s a board-certified pediatric subspecialty focusing on the care of hospitalized children. In 2019, the first board exam was administered and dozens of new fellowships across the country were established. Prior to 2019, graduating pediatric residents had the option to go straight into the workforce or, if interested in a more academic track, could do a PHM fellowship. Currently, any pediatrician can still work as a hospitalist, but I anticipate most academic centers will be looking for board-certification and/or fellowship-trained hospitalists over the next several years.

Why PHM?

There is so much that goes into the role of a hospitalist! Historically, outpatient general pediatricians would admit their own patients to the hospital and care for them in the morning before heading to clinic in the afternoon. As pediatric hospitals grew, larger centers began to hire pediatricians specifically to care for hospitalized patients.

Hospitalists can be 100% clinical, meaning all they do is see patients, or they can split up their time to include administrative, educational, or research responsibilities. They are often on different hospital committees, work with medical students and residents, participate in quality improvement initiatives, and so much more. This was a huge attraction to me as I began to think about what I wanted my career to look like. Many hospitalists are not just clinicians, they are core members of the hospital infrastructure. There seems to be endless ways to get involved and work with interdisciplinary teams to improve things around the hospital.

Why PHM Fellowship?

Initially there was a lot of behind the scenes confusion among residents about why fellowship is now a requirement for board-certification. Most residency programs provide adequate inpatient training and another two years of fellowship seemed redundant and unnecessary. I spent a lot of time debating if I should forgo fellowship and just dive straight into the workforce, knowing that I would never be board-eligible. Some of the most helpful conversations during this time were with my role models: established academic hospitalists. None of them did fellowship, but all of them said the same thing, "Fellowship is a way to accelerate you career. What I did in five years, you can do in two.” Well, I have to say, after just four weeks of fellowship I can absolutely see so many of the benefits I am going to experience over the next two years. I want to take some time in my next post to really do a deep dive into what I’m already seeing as the benefits of fellowship, so stay tuned!

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