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Why OB/GYN Residents are Choosing Hospitalist Medicine

OB/GYN residents may choose to become a hospitalist as the next step in their medical careers. Dr. Angela Kim, OB hospitalist, discusses this career path.
Why OB/GYN Residents are Choosing Hospitalist Medicine
Featured Speaker:
Angela Kim, MD | OB/GYN Hospitalist
Dr. Angela Kim joined OB Hospitalist Group in 2018. She received her BA in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and went on to the UCLA School of Public Health to obtain her MPH. She then attended Loma Linda University School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency at Harbor UCLA, and was awarded the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons' Resident Achievement Award during her chief year.

Dr. Kim currently works as a full-time OB/GYN hospitalist in Houston. She is passionate about teaching TeamStepps and running OB simulations. When she's off, she enjoys yoga and barre, traveling and volunteering.

Prakash Chandran (Host):  Medical students doing their clinical rotations and physicians completing their residency are faced with the decision of where to take their medical careers. Hospitalist medicine is a great option, but for many students they aren’t even aware of it. We’re going to learn about it today with Dr. Angela Kim, an obstetrics and gynecology hospitalist with OB Hospitalist Group. This is the obstetrics podcast from OB Hospitalist Group. I'm Prakash Chandran. So Dr. Kim, how do you think today’s medical students view the OB/Gyn specialty and what is their general impression of the workload and lifestyle?

Angela Kim M.D. (Guest):   I think medical students today are smarter than ever. Willing to work really hard, but they're also conscientious about their wellness. I think that medical students often have this view of our specialty as being fast paced, exciting, being part of the birth but often may come with compromising potential lifestyle. I want to debunk this thought because I think you can be an OB/Gyn and also be balanced. I think one really good way to do that is by becoming an OB/Gyn hospitalist.

Host:  Okay, but what exactly do you do as an OB hospitalist?

Dr. Kim:  So as an OB/Gyn hospitalist I am responsible for taking care of patients on labor and delivery, doing gynecology consults, and doing any emergency surgeries. I take 24 hour shifts in the hospital and I provide patient safety care. I am always available for any obstetrical or gynecologic emergencies.

Host:  For the OB/Gyn residents that are listening, what are some of the misconceptions that they might have around hospitalist work?

Dr. Kim:  Sure. So my own point of view as I was looking for a job during my fourth year of residency. I considered a lot of different practice models, but what hospitalist medicine appealed to me was for the kind of fast paced shifts of it and that when you're off, you're truly off. Of course some of the misconceptions that might come in that I've really debunked with my own work is some of my fears is potentially not being able to operate enough, which is actually not true. I do operate a ton and maybe operating more than them. I was also concerned that maybe I wasn’t going to be ready to be a hospitalist, but that’s totally a false because what we do as a resident running labor and delivery, running a consult is exactly what you're doing as a hospitalist. So it is actually quite a natural transition. The third misconception that residents may have, or fear, is that they might not be ready to take their oral boards. I had plenty of cases including my surgical cases to prepare my case list for my oral boards, which I will be taking next month in February. I did this my first year out of residency.

Host:  Okay. Well, I want to move on to the relationship between the more experience board certified physicians and the newly minted OBs in your program. How do they learn from one another?

Dr. Kim:  So from my personal experience, it has been a great dynamic. I've had a phenomenal experience so far working with my colleagues. They’ve all been practicing OB/Gyn for many years and then entered hospitalist medicine for various reasons. Being fresh out of residency, I personally note the natural transition to hospitalist work. It was awesome to work with more experienced OB/Gyns who were so willing to lend a hand, at least give me advice that just comes with the time yet for me to be able to offer up to date practices that I had learned during residency. It works really, really later.

Host:  Yeah, it definitely sounds like it. I am curious about how much autonomy you have as a young hospitalist. Are you able to get involved and create new initiatives on your own?

Dr. Kim:  Yeah. So I am interested and passionate about implementing team steps, which is a communication model. It is a way to reduce errors on labor and delivery. I got to implement team steps to labor and delivery and then help lead simulations. As a result of that, the hospital was so excited about it that I co-lead a hospital wide talk about team steps and how other departments could implement that.

Host:  Yeah. That sounds really great. How far were you into the program before you got to implement that?

Dr. Kim: I started right away. It was like maybe my first couple of months in. I let them know that this was something that I was passionate about. I saw that there was potentially a gap in this as I started my first few shifts. So it was a great place to start.  

Host:  Yeah. It definitely sounds like it. So career wise, what are some of the advantages of forgoing private practice all together and entering hospitalist medicine straight out of the gate?

Dr. Kim:  I think there is great career flexibility with becoming an OB/Gyn hospitalist. It’s a great springboard to getting involved with safety initiatives like I have or being part of other passion projects. It allows you tons of cases both operating and non as well as experience to take care of acuity situations. With all of these talks and concerns with the high maternal morbidity and mortality here in the U.S., I think it’s exciting to be part of a movement where I think we’ll really start seeing a shift as hospitals in the U.S. start using more OB/Gyn hospitalists.

Host:  So for the young OB/Gyns that might be listening to this, is there anyone that you think that this specialty might not be a good fit for?

Dr. Kim:  I think that being an OB/Gyn hospitalist is a potential career for anybody seeking a future in OB/Gyn. I think that you just need to be passionate, love taking care of your patients, and love the fast-paced-ness of the specialist but also knowing that when you're off you're going to be off.

Host:  Yeah. This is something that you talked about at the top as well. Just to round how physicians really value that work life balance. We all know that the ideas around self-care are changing a lot. So maybe talk a little bit more about that in your life. Like how are you intentional about your own wellness?

Dr. Kim:  So I came from a rigorous residency, but even there we started recognizing that towards the end of my time there that sacrificing wellness doesn’t improve anything. I think that self-care is so important because we need to be full as physicians 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. I think a lot of physicians face this big conundrum as how can be in two places at once. The truth is you can't. As a hospitalist, I know that when 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. I know that 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.

Host:  Alright Dr. Kim, truly appreciate it. That’s Dr. Angela Kim, an obstetrics and gynecology hospitalist with OB Hospitalist Group. Thanks for checking out this episode of the obstetrics podcast from OB Hospitalist Group. Visit to learn more about hospitalist careers. If you found this podcast helpful, please share it on your social channels and be sure to check out the entire podcast library for topics of interest to you. Thanks and we’ll talk next time.