Take 2: Attending Hospital Medicine 19 As A Medical Student

            It is hard to believe that another Society of Hospital Medicine annual conference has come and gone so quickly. I attended my first annual conference as a first-year medical student in 2016 in San Diego, CA. Looking back, it was the first conference I attended as a medical student, and I definitely had no idea what I was doing. I attended talks and walked around the exhibit hall without a plan. Although I still had a very enjoyable experience, I wondered if I could have approached the conference schedule in a more organized manner to make the most of this annual event.
            “Making the Most of Hospital Medicine 2019” by Dr. Pallabi Sanyal-Dey in the Future Hospitalist Roundup provided me with the tips I needed to optimize my conference experience. Here are my top 5 take-aways after the experience:
  1. Preparing an elevator speech is a must. I could not stress how important this was to my conference experience. Not only did preparing a short blurb about me help me with confidence to introduce myself to other attendees, it also helped to tailor our discussions and spark mutual interests in the vast spectrum of hospital medicine.
  2. Utilize the SHM conference mobile app to stay organized. At the very least, there is a dedicated Early Career Hospitalist track for the younger conference attendees. This year, I particularly enjoyed learning about must-know articles to impress my future attendings during my intern year and getting an insider scoop on common scenarios I may encounter on a call night. Because I took some time to review the conference schedule ahead of time, I was able to create a game plan and pinpoint the talks that I was interested in. I attended other useful talks that were not part of the Early Career Hospitalist track and learned about value-based care and current hot topics in research.
  3. Make some time for the social events. It is refreshing to meet other medical students and residents not too far from your level of training. Furthermore, this can be an opportunity to meet attendings or potential mentors who are interested in medical education. For example, the student luncheon event was an excellent opportunity to meet members of the Physicians-in-Training Committee, a group of hospitalists particularly invested to inspire future hospitalists. As a shameless plug, the Resident and Student Special Interest Group meeting is a fantastic way to meet others and learn about opportunities to become more involved in SHM. 
  4. It is important to give yourself a break. There was a lot of exciting information absorbed from each of the talks, but I realized by the middle of the day, I was running out of steam. I gave myself a personal mental break by visiting the exhibit hall (yay free stuff) or by taking a step away from the conference to enjoy the waterfront views.
  5. Take a leap and introduce yourself (even if it’s a little scary). As a medical student, it may be daunting to go up to an attending at your dream residency program or an established expert in your field of interest. I can admit that I definitely avoided introducing myself because I did not know what to say more than a few times. Again, this is where the elevator speech this year came in handy. Furthermore, it also helped to remember that this may be a rare (at least once a year) chance to meet some recognized leaders in the field of hospital medicine.

I was able to travel home from HM19 with a lot of new knowledge and connections. I noticed a lot of improvement this year in terms of making the most of the conference, but there were a few things I know that I can improve for the next one. For instance, I hope to refine my elevator speech a bit more. It is crazy to think that I attended my first SHM conference as a first year medical student, and next year, will be attending as a first year resident. I am very excited to conquer ano
Posted by Pamela Vila on Apr 25, 2019 5:04 PM America/New_York