"Hospitalist" is a general term used to describe the role of a medical doctor, physician assistant or nurse who spends most of his day in a hospital setting. Inpatient medical services have thrived in the United States since the mid-1990s, creating greater demand for top medical professionals who work mostly in hospital-based patient care.
A primary role of a hospitalist is clinical management. The main reason to choose a hospitalist career is to focus entirely on providing top-quality, safe care for patients requiring long-term treatment. Rather than dealing with a larger number of patients with mostly preventative or minor needs in an office, a hospitalist usually works on a smaller number of cases where patients have more advanced needs.
Education and Advice
Another objective of the hospitalist is to handle inpatient care with the focus on preventing in-and-out, ongoing treatment for patients. The hospitalist takes on an education and advisory role while also providing in-hospital care and treatment. By educating patients on safe, proper care after admission, you minimize the risks of perpetual return admissions. Hospitalists commonly refer patients to other medical practitioners for ongoing preventative and maintenance care after they leave the hospital.
The time and energy requirements of a hospitalist are extreme. According to the American College of Physicians website, you essentially commit yourself to manage patient needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. You typically work seven-day, 12-hour shifts during the day. In some hospitals, you rotate evening shifts with other hospitalists. Alternatively, other hospital staff may cover evening and overnight shifts and call on the hospitalist only in emergencies.
A hospitalist must meet all of the same medical qualifications for his general or specialized position as an office-based physician, surgeon, assistant or nurse. A doctor, for example, must complete a medical degree, and a nurse must complete a diploma or nursing degree and pass the national licensing exam. While completing your degree, you would do your internships and postgraduate residency training in a hospital setting. In addition, a hospitalist needs to have a strong desire to provide treatment for patients dealing with chronic or critical conditions. She must also have good teamwork and communication skills to collaborate with other hospital staff.
2016 Salary Information for Physicians and Surgeons
Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $204,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physicians and surgeons earned a 25th percentile salary of $131,980, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $261,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 713,800 people were employed in the U.S. as physicians and surgeons.