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FIND: A Framework for Success as a First-Year Hospitalist

Written by: Ryan E. Nelson, MD Allison K. Ashford, MD Rachna Rawal, MD And Teela Crecelius, MD
Published on: Nov 26, 2021

Medical students
Photo credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Congratulations! You’re about to start your first year as a hospitalist, and in many cases your first real job. Hospital medicine is an incredibly rewarding subspecialty, but the progression from resident to attending physician can be daunting.

To facilitate this transition, we present FIND (Familiarity, Identity, Network, and Direction) – a novel, sequential framework for success as a first-year hospitalist. For each component, we provide a narrative overview and a summary bullet point for quick reference.


  • Lay the foundation: Learn the ins and outs of your job, EMR, and team.

Familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Know where your patients are located, where you can document, where to find equipment for procedures, and how to reach information technology. Proactively set up the electronic medical record on your home computer and phone. Make sure to review your responsibilities, including your call schedule, your shifts, your assigned patient panel, when you can leave campus, and how people should contact you. Also, others should know your expectations of them, especially if you are working with trainees.

Maintain a file with all of your orientation materials, including phone numbers and emails of key personnel. Know who your people are – who can access your calendar, who you can call with a clinical question or to escalate care, who can assist you with billing, and who helps with the throughput of your patients in the hospital. Take time to review your benefits, including parental leave, insurance coverage, retirement planning, vacation time, and ancillary services like laundry for your white coat. Familiarizing yourself with these basics will provide comfort and lay the foundation for your first year.


  • Perform self-reflection: Overcome imposter syndrome and invest in hobbies.

Dr. Alison K. Ashford, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha
Dr. Alison K. Ashford

One of the fundamental realizations that will occur with your first hospitalist job is that you are the attending. You walk in with a vision of your first job; be prepared to be surprised. You have earned the privilege of deciding on patient plans, and you are no longer obligated to staff with a senior physician. This is both empowering and terrifying. In a way, it may oddly remind you of intern year. A new hospital, new EMR, new colleagues, and imposter syndrome will trick you into doubting your decisions.