Career Spotlight: Teela Crecelius
Teela Crecelius, MD
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 Teela Crecelius, MD, MBA.
Teela Crecelius, MD, MBA is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, where she also completed her internal medicine residency and was awarded the Walter J. Daly award for the most outstanding resident. Dr. Crecelius currently works as an academic hospitalist at Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. She serves as an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine and as the founder and then faculty advisor for the hospital medicine interest group for the residency program. She co-directs the point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) curriculum and she aided in the development and implementation of a new night float curriculum for residents. Dr. Crecelius completed a Business of Medicine Physician’s Executive MBA through the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She has been awarded the emergency medicine residency program's Faculty of the Month award, the Exemplar of Professionalism Award from Indiana University School of Medicine, and the Top Acts of Pride Award from the Eskenazi Hospitalist Group. She serves on SHM’s national Physicians in Training (PIT) committee and chairs its education subcommittee through which she launched a national academic webinar series. Dr. Crecelius resides in Indianapolis with her husband, son, and two pups. She enjoys spending time with family, hiking, baking, traveling, and going to concerts.
1. What made you decide to choose hospital medicine as a career path, and specifically your specialty?
I chose to pursue a career in hospital medicine because I enjoy the variety I get to see every day with a career in general internal medicine, but love the faster pace and acuity of inpatient medicine. I get to see a wide breadth of pathology and it keeps my career interesting and rewarding from shift to shift.
2. What does a typical workday look like for you?
My shifts are typically rounding shifts from 7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., but every fifth day I work 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. and do cross cover in the afternoon. Each day I receive a few holdover patients from the night shift and take ICU transfers or new admissions. I also do one to two months of carrying our traffic phone where I mostly work in the ED triaging patients and doing new admissions and consults.
3. What do you consider one of your career successes? How did you achieve it?
One of my career successes was designing and implementing a national webinar series through the PIT committee. The monthly series targets learners and early career hospitalists and addresses topics that are necessary for one's first job but aren't usually covered in medical school and residency. Topics so far have included understanding revenue cycles and billing/coding, tips for creating an effective mini-lecture, making the most of mentor/mentee relationships, and leveraging scholarly work. I achieved this through the support of the PIT committee members who helped to brainstorm topic ideas and recruit great speakers from across the nation.
4. What do you consider a challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have had is trying to lead from the middle without a formal "title." As a junior faculty member, it is sometimes challenging to implement organizational change, influence culture, and find support for projects. I've learned to develop my negotiation skills, leverage data to create urgency surrounding current issues, and model desirable leadership behaviors to gain support.
5. How did the global pandemic affect your day-to-day working life?
It seems like our hospital has been much busier since the pandemic began. We had an initial lull when everyone was trying to stay home and distance themselves from others, but since late in the summer of 2020, our daily census has remained higher than in prior years. Overall, I don't think my working life has changed much though. My colleagues are all very supportive and we have pulled each other through this pandemic by growing a culture that promotes teamwork, jumping in to fill scheduling holes, and supporting each other's mental and physical health however we can.
6. Where would you like to see your career path going next?
I just graduated from the Business of Medicine Physician Executive MBA program through IU's Kelley School of Business! I am more than eager to use my skills in strategic planning, operations, process improvement, organizational change, and business analytics within my hospitalist group. Hospital medicine lends itself to numerous quality improvement projects and I have several in mind I would like to tackle!
7. What membership benefits offered by the Society of Hospital Medicine have helped you in your career?
For me, the biggest benefit offered by SHM is networking. I have a community of hospitalists across the nation who I can turn to with ideas or questions and I know they will all be willing to help. I have received great mentorship from other SHM hospitalists regarding professional development, furthering projects, leadership opportunities, and getting more involved in the hospitalist community.
8. Do you belong to any SHM SIGs (special interest groups), chapters, or committees? If so, which ones and why?
I belong to the PIT committee and our charge is to engage students and residents interested in hospital medicine and assist with their transitions to becoming great hospitalists. Of all groups and projects I am involved with, this is my favorite!! This is a committee of hospitalists from across the nation who are phenomenal at their jobs and sincerely interested in helping students and trainees succeed as hospitalists. It is a very encouraging and collegial environment and aligns perfectly with my own interests in early career development.
9. What impact has SHM had in shaping your career?
SHM has had a profound impact on my career. Being around other hospitalists involved in SHM is energizing and gets me excited to help further the specialty. SHM is truly a community of like-minded hospitalists who support each other's careers and endeavors to improve inpatient care. This organization has given me a platform to address issues in medicine that I wasn't able to address on a local level and therefore benefit the specialty overall.
10. What is a piece of advice you would share with job seekers or offer a new hospitalist just beginning their career?
The earlier you can find a good mentor, the more satisfied and fulfilled you will feel with your work. Even if you have to look outside of your own institution, an invested mentor is priceless!
11. Is there a particular area of specialty medicine you enjoy working with, such as clinical care, teaching, or research? Why?
I am most excited about helping early-career hospitalists thrive in their new roles as staff physicians. There is so much that we need to know about hospital systems, billing/coding, payment models, throughput, co-management with other services, and so much more that we do not typically learn in our training. I really enjoy helping new hospitalists learn this non-clinical information so they can be more efficient and effective in their daily work. I love helping them make a plan for professional development, find a good mentor, and watch them take off in pursuit of their aspirations.