It’s a Hospitalist’s World

Both hospitals I’ve worked at have had the luxury of having a hospitalist team to care for in-patients.  At my current institution if the patient isn’t being followed by the resident teams, they’re probably on the hospitalist service.  And I  couldn’t be happier.

Need an semi-urgent order at 2am?  Call the on-call doc.  They take call from our sister hospital and can look up the patient, labs, H&P and get you what you need.  It’s a good thing.  In fact, when patients are on other services, surgery most notoriously, finding the right person to call to get orders, much less have them call back in a coherent state is a Sisyphean task.

As much as the new article, “New Breed of Specialist Steps in for Family Doctor” is a good advertisement, it makes them seem like they walk on water, heal the sick and infirm while ushering LOLs across the street.  But it sorely misses the point.  Like a football team, the quarterback is just one lonely guy.  The hospitalist is that, the quarterback.   Calling the play and setting it in motion.  But they’re just one piece.

Often the amount of discharge work they do is write an order for “Social work to see for d/c planning.”  The social workers set up the outpatient appointments, get nursing home placements done, arrange for the patients to get hooked up with necessary social services and agencies.  The bedside nurses do the majority of the discharge teaching.  Pharmacy will suggest alternatives for expensive home prescriptions.  The quarterback doesn’t function in a vacuum. Too bad the article missed that point.

For me though,  I’m sure glad we have a quarterback.


  1. Our hospitalist group is a fairly new part of our team but they are very much appreciated. The response time to pages averages 5 minutes (during the day, at least). I see them several times during a shift, so often I can just ask them for what I need (non-emergent) without paging. They come back to the station to discharge a patient – nothing done over the phone. Our patients are often disappointed whey they learn that they cannot continue to see them outside the hospital. The hospitalist group has many members, but they have always been pleasant and courteous to everyone. Most importantly, they listen to the nurses and trust us. For that alone, I love our guys.

    However, I do agree that this article gave a misleading view as to the extent of their hands-on work. No one person does it all. Any one who would suggest so is a fool who obviously didn’t do her homework.


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