A Hospitalist Clinical Coach Program for New Faculty

Meeting: Hospital Medicine 2012, April 1-4, San Diego, Calif.

Abstract number: 97756


Starting a new job with a hospitalist group can be stressful and exhausting as new hires adapt to changes in processes, workloads, and institutional culture. Surveys have indicated high hospitalist attrition rates between 13–22% per year, with 26% of hospitalists planning to remain in their current job for less than two years. While private hospitalist companies have advertised their on–boarding process in non peer–reviewed publications, descriptions of orientation programs for academic hospitalists are sparse. The traditional “see one, do one, teach one” standard of training in residency programs is often applied, and new hospitalists are expected to learn through experience, despite significant institutional variation in electronic medical records (EMR), nursing, and physician responsibilities. Based on anecdotal experience as well as formal interviews at our institution, we perceived an increased need for additional support and guidance for new hospitalists during the initial transition period.


To ease the transition of new academic hospitalists working full–time at clinical care, we created the hospitalist clinical coach program. It pairs an experienced hospitalist with each new hire as part of orientation. Our primary goals were to (1) ease cultural acclimation, (2) reduce stress, (3) increase job satisfaction, and (4) enhance retention.


Our Division created an orientation task force, which proposed the development of the clinical coach program. We solicited volunteers with at least one year of experience with our program to become coaches and paired them with new hires, loosely matching them according to background and interests. We created guidelines, including responsibilities and a timeline, for the clinical coaches to follow during the first six months of the new hires’ employment. Outlined responsibilities of the clinical coach included: (1) attending an organized social outing for new hires, (2) organizing an on–the–wards orientation session prior to start date, including supervising 1–2one to two admissions, (3) providing opportunities for shadowing on clinical service, (4) meeting to check in regularly and ensuring availability during the first week of clinical work, and (5) consistent follow–up meetings throughout the year. New hires thus had an easily accessible resource for help with individual challenges, and clinical coaches also proactively provided support.


Now in its second year, our hospitalist clinical coach program facilitated hospitalists starting their new jobs with positive feedback. In follow–up surveys, a majority (83%; n = 6) of participants described the program positively. One participant highlighted the benefit of “having one point person to communicate with.” Additional benefits cited included approachability of the clinical coaches, having a quick hands–on introduction to clinical work, and learning tips and tricks of the EMR and hospital system.

To cite this abstract:

Weaver C, O'Leary C, Cyrus R, Kier S. A Hospitalist Clinical Coach Program for New Faculty. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2012, April 1-4, San Diego, Calif. Abstract 97756. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2012; 7 (suppl 2). https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/a-hospitalist-clinical-coach-program-for-new-faculty/. Accessed April 4, 2020.

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