Paul Helgerson | Hospital Medicine

Paul Helgerson | Hospital Medicine


I’m Paul Helgerson. I’m an associate professor of medicine, and
I specialize in hospital medicine. I’m also the section head of hospital medicine. So I help run a practice of about 35 doctors
that specialize in the same. If you’re a resident or a student coming onto
a general medicine service, what you learn is both about the treatment of patients, typically,
that have multiple disease processes, or complications of severe illness, but you also learn about
those care transitions. You learn about quality. You learn about safety. You learn about means of optimally communicating
with a patient, with their family, with a care team that needs to be drawn together,
often in an individualized way, to a given patient’s needs. Those are critical things to be teaching this
generation of learners. Inpatient care, and for that matter outpatient
care, is evermore complex, evermore interdisciplinary, evermore team-based. And there’s no environment quite as rich for
those sorts of competencies than what we do in general medicine. UVA is actually ahead of the curve on a lot
of the more innovative educational initiatives that hospitalists can help with. For decades, medical education has tended
to center on the physiologic and scientific treatment of disease. And I think what we’ve discovered is that’s
critically important, but there’s a lot of other critical competencies for a 21st century
physician; communication, an understanding in systematic terms of quality and safety,
an understanding of how to work within an interdisciplinary team, and how to lead an
interdisciplinary team. Those are things that hospitalists do on a
daily basis, and so those are things that we can help develop curricula. Those are the things that we can provide exposure
to residents and students in those sorts of disciplines. And that’s something that we’re really enthusiastic
in doing. The medical school here at UVA has recognized
that need, and has begun to build curriculas that really expose learners earlier in their
education to those other competencies, and to do a better job in evaluating them and
understanding the folks who’ve hit those milestones before they graduate onto the next step. And I’m really enthusiastic for hospitalists
to be involved in that every step of the way.


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