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Career Spotlight: Krishna C. Syamala

Written by: Krishna C. Syamala
Published on: May 16, 2024

Krishna C. Syamala, MD, FAAFP, FHM

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 Krishna C. Syamala, MD, FAAFP, FHM

Why did you choose hospital medicine as a specialty?

I chose hospitalist medicine because of the acuity and variation in presentation. One needs deep thinking in diagnosing a patient with severe illness. 

What does your typical workday look like?

A typical day consists of pre-rounding on my census and then doing MD-RN rounding in patient rooms; discussing with consults about patient care; multidisciplinary rounding where we go through discharge planning with nursing, case managers, and social workers; and then finishing notes.

What’s unique about your career or career path?

I am a family medicine-trained hospitalist and I bring that skill set to discussions with patients and explain to them in a manner they understand. As a member of SHM’s Family Medicine Trained Hospitalist Special Interest Group, we have been advocating to mitigate the hiring bias. I am also an international medical graduate (IMG), so my experience is unique.

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

I was elected vice president of the SHM St. Louis chapter and was recognized across several platforms including the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians (Board of Directors), and the Vice Chair of Hospital Medicine Member interest group of the American Academy of Family Physicians. All these roles opened new opportunities including being a member of SHM’s Annual Conference Committee.

What’s been the biggest obstacle in your career?

The biggest obstacle in the initial part of my career was being family medicine trained. Now after having six years of experience, it is not that big of an issue, but still, I’m restricted in some places from being a hospitalist.

What surprised you the most about hospital medicine?

The way patients either get better or decline happens so fast that at times it feels like a roller coaster. One has to have a lot of resilience as we are involved in this aspect of a patient's life.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

I see myself continuing to advocate for family medicine-trained hospitalists and would like to see physicians be part of C-suites all across the U.S. I believe there is no better person than a physician to understand what patients go through navigating the health system in its current structure.

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

I am currently vice chair of the Family Medicine Trained Hospitalists SIG, an executive committee member of the Healthcare IT SIG, and a member of the Annual Conference Committee. Advocating for hospitalists trained in family medicine is really important to me as I faced the same difficulty in the initial part of my career. I am also vested in the Healthcare IT SIG due to the new developments in healthcare tech. I represent the family medicine group on the Annual Conference Committee to help those hospitalists trained in family medicine to have access to continuing medical education.

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

I’ve made a lot of connections across the nation with seasoned hospitalists and hospitalists in leadership roles. Barriers are almost non-existent using HMX (SHM’s online community), emails, or by being a part of SIGs, chapters, and committees.

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

Joining SHM helped me immensely as it opened up new opportunities. Becoming part of local chapter leadership was one of the best pieces of advice I received.

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

Joining SHM at a student phase would have given me more guidance at that stage in my career as I am an IMG. The poster competition is a great platform.

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?

I would be chief medical informatics officer if given a chance as I am really interested in health care IT and would like to reduce documentation time for physicians.


Dr. Syamala is a hospitalist at SSM Health St. Joseph Lake Saint Louis in Lake Saint Louis, Mo. He earned his medical degree from Guntur Medical College in Guntur, India, and completed his residencies at ARH Regional Medical Center in Hazard, Ky., and Help Hospital in India.