Stewart R. Beasley Jr., PhD, has crafted a fruitful career working in hospitals. The hospital-privileges veteran shares tips on cracking this growing market and helping to provide patients with more comprehensive psychological services.
Educate yourself. You can't do hospital work without proper credentials and training. Many hospitals require psychologists to complete internships or postdocs in hospitals. Training in such areas as psychopharmacology can also be helpful, he says. Hospital training will help you read medical records and navigate the political nuances of working in a hospital.
Establish relationships with physicians. Developing friendly relations-for example, by having regular lunches together, attending hospital charity events or providing psychology journal articles related to physicians' practices-is vital to getting physicians to accept the idea that psychologists' privileges make sense. That includes seeking out pertinent information. "Don't be afraid to go in and say, 'I'd like to learn more about this hospital, I'd like to learn more about what you do here,'" he says. "Sit in on some of the medical committees because they welcome the input."
Find a niche. Assess your community's medical needs. Psychology is an integral aspect of a large number of health-related areas, including weight control, pain management, smoking cessation, diabetes control and compliance with treatment regimens, to name a few.