Getting my name out there

November 6, 2009

There are only about 5,000 board-certified endocrinologists in the U.S., and so even if they all saw patients (as opposed to being in academia, research, or administration) that would only mean an average of 100 per state. Which is probably why, in my experience, in any given hospital, there is only one group of endos who goes there.

There aren’t many endocrinologists in our area. Well, there aren’t many endocrinologists, period.
There are only about 5,000 board-certified endocrinologists in the U.S., and so even if they all saw patients (as opposed to being in academia, research, or administration) that would only mean an average of 100 per state. Which is probably why, in my experience, in any given hospital, there is only one group of endos who goes there.

My former practice of three pretty much had a monopoly on inpatient consults at the hospital we worked at. OK, technically there was another endo who had privileges, but she was limited to only seeing her own patients should they be admitted, i.e. she could not see new patients. Don’t ask me how that happened. That was in place before I got there.

The hospital I now have privileges at had one pair of endocrinologists for the longest time. I was told that there was a need for another because the two who were there were so busy. However, I had been “warned” that there was no way I would be able to get in, that they would see to it that I would not get privileges. But as fate would have it, here I am, the first crasher of this private party. And I was told that I was eagerly awaited.

I got a call to see a patient the week before I was officially approved. I apologized and explained that I did not have privileges yet. And I thought to myself, “Yes, consult requests will be flying in.” How could it be easier?

But then the first two weeks went by, no consult. And that was after I gave grand rounds, sent out letters, and hung out in the physicians’ lounge. Then I got one, from a doc who just happened to be a former resident. Another week, one more - from the same doc. I realized that no matter how eager they sounded about my arrival, there’s something to be said for being the guys that everyone know, something to be said for the comfort of using what (or who) you already know.

I did get four consults this week. Maybe, this will be the beginning. In the meantime, I’ll visit the lounge, I’ll attend grand rounds, I’ll smile, and I’ll schmooze (ugh, I hate doing that), and I’ll try to get my name out there.

Melissa G. Young, MD, FACE, FACP, is an endocrinologist in private practice, an assistant clinical professor at Robert Wood Johnson, and a working suburban mother of two in Freehold, N.J.