Equal Rights for General Internists?
The American College of Physicians (ACP) appreciates the importance of Cumbler’s qualitative study identifying facilitators to academic success in early-career academic hospitalists. With the anticipated critical shortage of academic physicians,1 identifying and supporting physicians pursuing an academic career in hospital medicine is timely and important.
Our reading of Cumbler’s article leads us to a different view than that noted in the editorial “Equal Rights for General Internists.” The editorial focuses on dedicated time for scholarship and highlights the time pressures in outpatient academic medicine relative to hospitalists. Based on experiences shared by our members, ACP is aware that ambulatory internists and hospitalists are both burdened by documentation requirements, lab result reviews, and other necessary follow-up—often completed after hours.
ACP agrees that ambulatory internists and hospitalists “are vital to our collective missions” through contributions in education, research, scholarship, and service. We believe the study and editorial raise questions for future study that could guide the development of an academic workforce structure that would support scholarly endeavors more effectively.
ACP advocates for adequate time and resources for all internists in academic and other settings to allow internists to be successful and contribute to the essential mission of their institutions. Our diverse practice settings and specializations within internal medicine strengthen us in our common goal to provide compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Supporting the professional needs of hospitalists, general internists, and subspecialists will strengthen internal medicine as a valued career path, promote physician wellness and retention, and foster a community of internists focused on working together to meet the needs of their patients. ACP urges the internal medicine community to work together to advocate for appropriate resources to enhance the value of effectiveness of health care for the good of our profession and our patients.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
- 1.Vetter MH, Carter M. Differences between first and fourth year medical students' interest in pursuing careers in academic medicine. International Journal of Medical Education. 2016;7:154-157. https://doi.org/10.5116/ijme.571b.af3d