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Three considerations before making a career move

Kimberly Bell, MD, MMM, Regional Medical Director, TeamHealth West Group, provides clinical and operational leadership for TeamHealth Hospital Medicine teams in California, Washington and Hawaii.

Dr. Bell’s career path

Looking back, her first job was an outpatient care position. About two years in, she transitioned to become a hospitalist.

“Hospital medicine was fairly new, and at that time, I was thinking it would be a temporary job that I would take until I could find a job as a primary care provider,” Dr. Bell recalled.

She soon found her new job as a hospitalist was exciting, and she got to be innovative and creative. She also felt fulfilled by the important role she played in the hospital – serving hospital patients.

“Unbeknownst to me, I really enjoyed being a hospitalist,” Dr. Bell said. “I felt like I couldn’t imagine doing anything different. I really felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a hospitalist.”

She now has clinical experience in both local hospitals and national health systems. She is thankful her career path led her to her current role.

“I enjoy my leadership position at TeamHealth,” Dr. Bell said. “I enjoy creating new things and starting new programs. At the same time, I still enjoy and love the practice of hospital medicine and even after many years, I still get immense satisfaction out of working with patients, taking care of patients and helping them through their illness when they’re in the hospital.”

If you are planning a career move, here are three important considerations from Dr. Bell:

Dr. Bell’s three “must-haves” before making a career move

1. Leadership development opportunities

Dr. Bell suggests seeking out employers who offer valuable leadership development opportunities. She is a leader who personally values continual development. For example, she is an active member of the Society of Hospital Medicine, helping launch two chapters – one in Nashville and one in Seattle. In addition, she completed her master’s degree in medical management in 2018 after practicing for 25 years.

Life-long learning and leadership development have been crucial in her career path. Now, Dr. Bell is glad to pass those opportunities along to her team and encourages them to seek out development and educational opportunities. She helps develop leaders on her teams through coaching and mentoring. And, she appreciates that TeamHealth also values leadership development and provides opportunities for her and her teammates.

“Within TeamHealth, we have multiple levels of leadership development for a clinician that really meet leaders wherever they are,” Dr. Bell explained. “So if you’re a new leader, we have programs, LEAD for example, where leaders can partner with others to learn about TeamHealth, to learn about leadership development. And then we also have special projects that come up where we are looking for new and/or emerging leaders to participate.”

2. A support system

In your new work home, you will need a work support system. Having support from your company and leadership is vital to success and satisfaction in your work.

The advantage of TeamHealth is not only will you be a leader, but you have support from the organization to help you develop further in your leadership journey with opportunities to grow,” Dr. Bell highlighted.

Dr. Bell’s favorite part about TeamHealth is the breadth of resources. When one of her teams was having difficulty improving their geometric mean length of stay, TeamHealth’s Regional Performance Improvement team analyzed the statistics and performed a gap analysis. And, they met with the onsite leadership to develop a plan. The support and the changes they made helped the team meet its goals.

3. An amazing location

Dr. Bell grew up in Los Angeles but considers herself from the Pacific Northwest.

After visiting family in the Pacific Northwest in high school, she realized it was special. She saw herself living in the area and decided to attend the University of Washington for her undergraduate education in molecular biology.

She went on to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison for medical school, but the Pacific Northwest was calling her back.

What calls to you? Dr. Bell suggests thinking about your location as a way to encourage work-life balance. Loving where you live and work are important aspects of any job transition.

The Pacific Northwest is one of the country’s most breathtaking regions. So, she did her residency in Seattle at Virginia Mason Hospital in internal medicine. Today, she is based in Seattle, where she not only loves where she works but also where she lives. She lives downtown and enjoys readings, lectures, concerts and theatre. This year, she started hiking.

It is really awesome. There are so many beautiful places to go with mountains, water and foliage,” she said.

Dr. Kimberly Bell hiking in the Pacific Northwest


Make your career move with TeamHealth in the beautiful Pacific Northwest

If you’re looking to make a career move, remember to consider all aspects of your life. Where do you want to live? What do you enjoy doing?

For example, one interesting city Dr. Bell works in is Kennewick, Washington. She partners with Trios Southridge Hospital there.

“It’s very lovely. It’s family-oriented and has a lot of opportunities for outdoor activities,” Dr. Bell said. “People enjoy boating and fishing on the Columbia River and hiking and biking the 23-mile Sacagawea Trail along the banks of the river. People also enjoy skiing in the winter.”

It is in eastern Washington and experiences less rainfall than other areas of the state. Kennewick has about 300 days of sunshine a year, and the arid climate is perfect for growing fruit.

“There are lots of wine vineyards and wineries. In fact, there are about 200 wineries between Yakima and Walla Walla,” Dr. Bell said. “It is definitely an opportunity for those who enjoy wine, to be able to experience Washington wines.”

Learn more about living and working in the Pacific Northwest with TeamHealth in cities like Kennewick here.