The OB/GYN specialty is characterized by a fast-paced environment and fulfilling work, but it also has a reputation for a grueling lifestyle.
OBHG physician Dr. Angela Kim wishes to debunk that myth. “You can be an OB/GYN and also be balanced,” she says. “One really good way to do that is by becoming a hospitalist.”
Listen to Dr. Kim discuss her experience on the Obstetrics Podcast:
Myths & misconceptions
While Kim ultimately came to the decision to pursue a role as an OB/GYN hospitalist, she had to work through some common misconceptions about her career choice. One was that she wouldn’t be able to perform many surgical procedures. In reality she says she is probably doing more surgeries than non-hospitalist OB/GYNs.
A second misconception is that she simply wouldn’t be ready to handle any emergency that walked through the door. “That’s totally false, because what we do as a resident – running labor and delivery, running a consult – is exactly what you’re doing as a hospitalist,” she says. “So it is actually quite a natural transition.”
Finally, many residents fear they won’t be prepared to take their oral boards. But Kim notes that she had plenty of cases, including surgical cases, to prepare her case list during her first year of post-residency work.
Improving patient outcomes together
In Kim’s experience, the relationship between more seasoned OB/GYNs and those just out of residency represents a mutually beneficial dynamic.
“I’ve had a phenomenal experience so far working with my colleagues. They’ve all been practicing OB/GYNs for many years, and entered hospitalist medicine for various reasons. Being fresh out of residency, it was awesome to work with more experienced OB/GYNs who were so willing to lend a hand, or at least give me advice that just comes with time. And I was able to offer up-to-date practices I had learned during residency.”
One such contribution was the introduction of the TeamSTEPPS model (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety). The initiative’s goal is to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety.
“I got to implement TeamSTEPPS for labor and delivery and then help lead simulations,” Kim says. “As a result of that, the hospital was so excited about it that I co-led a hospital-wide talk about the model and how other departments could implement it.”
“I let them know this was something I was passionate about,” she says. “I saw there was potentially a gap as I started my first few shifts. So, it was a great place to start.”
Work/life balance is crucial
For Kim, entering hospitalist medicine as young physician has offered a number of advantages. She was able to springboard into leading a safety initiatives and participating in other passion projects. She also found benefit in the experience she gained in operative and non-operative care.
Underlying it all, she has recognized the value of flexibility and balance in her career.
“Self-care is so important, because we need to be able to give to our patients and our community. For me personally, as a hospitalist, it gives me the flexibility to participate in my community outside of medicine. I’m able to exercise. I’m able to travel and just be there for my family,” she says.
“I think a lot of physicians face this conundrum of being in two places at once. The truth is, you can’t. As a hospitalist, I know that if I have a sick patient on our service, when I check out I’ve handed off their care to a reliable colleague. I know that their care won’t slip through the cracks. And I know I won’t be letting down a prior commitment, and I’m able to show up for my family and my friends outside of work.”