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Career Spotlight: Klint Schwenk

Written by: Dr. Klint Schwenk
Published on: Nov 16, 2022

Klint Schwenk
Klint Schwenk, MD, MBA, SFHM

This is the latest in a series of interviews with hospital medicine clinicians connected to the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) to share insights, knowledge, and expertise about career opportunities, growth, and development. Today we hear from Klint Schwenk, MD, MBA, SFHM.

I am a pediatric hospitalist at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky. and I’m the medical director for inpatient services, overseeing the medical/surgical units at our downtown, community site at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital. I am a professor of pediatrics within the division of pediatric hospital medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. I did my undergrad at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., medical school at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and pediatrics residency at the University of Louisville. I completed a master’s in business administration at the University of Louisville. I am a senior fellow of hospital medicine and serve as vice chair of the Pediatrics Special Interest Group executive council for SHM.

1. Why did you choose hospital medicine as a specialty?

I loved the variety and challenges of the career. I also loved the team dynamic and the ability to interact with partners in other specialties.

2. What does your typical workday look like?

Typical? I don’t think there is one. When on service on the teaching team, it begins around 7:30 a.m. with family-centered rounds until noon. Followed by meetings or conferences, follow-up with residents and patients in the afternoons, and ultimately charting that often doesn’t get finished until the evening. I also do shift work with day/evening/night shifts at our community site. I work from home and my academic office on non-clinical days with several meetings and workgroups as well.

3. What’s unique about your career or career path?

I began my career when fellowships were uncommon, and I needed to learn much of what I do now (QI, leadership, etc.) through on-the-job training, and attending development conferences. I went back and got an MBA five years after I began to help further my professional development and leadership opportunities.

4. Describe an important milestone in your career and what made it significant.

I received the Scott Robinson Memorial Award from the graduating residency class presented to a faculty member who goes above and beyond to further their development and career. I was humbled to receive such a meaningful award from our residency class.

5. What’s been the biggest obstacle in your career?

I guess it has been myself. Suffering from imposter syndrome — that I am “just a hospitalist” and not having enough confidence to assert myself as an expert in the field.

6. What’s surprised you the most about hospital medicine?

How quickly it would continue to change post-residency.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Hopefully with a better work-life balance and be on a golf course more often. I will be continuing to mentor learners and help develop the careers of those younger than me.

8. What membership benefits offered by the Society of Hospital Medicine have helped you in your career?

The Pediatrics Special Interest Group has opened several doors for me to collaborate and receive mentorship. The materials produced by the Society have been incredibly helpful to further my career and teaching abilities.

9. Do you belong to any other SHM SIGs (special interest groups), chapters, or committees? If so, which ones and why?

I am on the Membership Committee, have served on the Annual Conference Committee in the past, and am the current vice-chair of the Pediatrics Special Interest Group executive council. I have thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with talented hospitalists at other centers.

10. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Be selfish.

11. What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Be a kid. You have your whole life to be an adult.

12. If you could trade places for one day with someone else (either a person or profession) in health care, who would it be and why?

This one stumped me. I think I would trade places with a pediatric hospitalist in another country to get insight into care outside of the American health care system.

Learn more about SHM and the benefits of membership.