Hospitalist mentorship gets formal

This issue also features stories on Legionnaire's and acute pancreatitis.

Finding a mentor has traditionally been an informal process—Mr. Miyagi was the Karate Kid's maintenance man, Thoreau approached Emerson after a lecture at Harvard. But given the rarity of such fortuitous encounters, it makes sense to develop a system for introducing potential mentors and mentees. This month's main story describes how hospital medicine programs are doing just that. They're taking a variety of approaches to putting more senior faculty together with younger hospitalists to offer advice and collaborate on projects. A sidebar adds details on an initiative to provide the benefits of such connections specifically to women in hospital medicine.

Shifting to clinical care, connecting an already sick patient with Legionnaire's disease is something no hospitalist would want to do, but a recent CDC report found that this happens with worrisome regularity in health care facilities. Our article reviews the best ways to identify Legionella infection. Acute pancreatitis might be less of a headline-grabbing topic, but it also poses challenges for hospitalists, as our article and a Coding Corner report. Identifying the small minority of patients who face serious health risks from severe pancreatitis is difficult, with even experts disagreeing about the value of existing tools and treatments.

Read about even more diagnostic challenges in this month's Brief Case, which features cases from St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor in Michigan. As always, we invite you to submit your own cases.

Stacey Butterfield