Hospitalist Job Description
Hospitalists are medical physicians who focus primarily on the overall care of hospitalized patients. This is a highly advanced position that requires a high level of education and experience. Successful hospitalists are especially skilled at caring for people and they can easily see the big picture when it comes to patient care. They’re also extremely organized. As the position name suggests, hospitalists work solely in hospitals. Since hospitals are open 24/7, hospitalists may be required to work any time during the day or night. They may also be expected to work during weekends and holidays. Hospitalists report directly to hospital management.
Hospitalist Duties and Responsibilities
While a hospitalist’s day-to-day responsibilities are determined by the hospital where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Recommend and Create Patient Treatment Plans
A hospitalist’s main responsibility is to recommend and create comprehensive treatment plans for hospitalized patients. This includes working with the patient’s primary physician to create recovery plans for patients after they leave the hospital.
Refer Patients to Specialists
If a patient’s condition requires the care of a specialist, the hospitalist is responsible for making referrals and organizing plans. They work directly with the patient and their insurance provider to find an appropriate specialist.
Manage Patient Records
Hospitalists are responsible for managing the records of hospitalized patients. This includes updating information and charts in the hospital’s record software, keeping track of new treatments, and monitoring patient progress.
Answer Patient Questions and Concerns
A large part of being a hospitalist involves communicating directly with patients to answer their questions and address their concerns. Hospitalists need to actively listen so they can read between the lines and answer unspoken questions or concerns.
Manage Hospital Staff
Many hospitalists act as leaders for other hospital staff, leading nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgeons. As a part of this responsibility, hospitalists often manage conflict and hold performance reviews.
Hospitalist Skills and Qualifications
Hospitalists are highly skilled medical professionals who often have years of experience. Employers usually require candidates to have at least five years of experience as a physician and either an MD or PhD in a medical field. Employers also look to hire candidates with the following skills and qualifications:
- Medical and scientific knowledge – successful hospitalists are well versed in the medical world, and they can use the scientific method to approach and solve problems. They are constantly keeping up with new terminology and research in these fields
- Experience with hospital logistics – hospitalists know all about the inner workings of hospitals, and they can navigate them well to provide patients with the most efficient and quality care possible
- Personnel management – hospitalists are skilled at managing hospital personnel. They can motivate hospital employees and direct them to work efficiently. They can also identify the best personnel to care for hospitalized patients
- Communication skills – hospitalists are extremely skilled at communication. They can communicate with and understand patients who may or may not be able to communicate well due to their medical condition. This also includes active listening to better understand a patient’s needs
- Organization skills – hospitalists are highly organized, and they can plan several steps ahead to provide the best care possible for their patients. They also understand patient care and personnel logistics to keep all parts of the hospital working appropriately
Tools of the Trade
Hospitalists often work with the following tools as a part of their daily routines:
- Electronic medical record software (AdvancedMD, drchrono EHR, NueMD)
- Medical monitoring equipment (heart monitors, blood pressure machines, etc.)
- Microsoft Office Suite (especially Word and Outlook)
Hospitalist Education and Training
Hospitalists have a high level of education. At minimum, hospitalists have either a PhD in a medical field or an MD. They also have a lot of experience in the medical industry, and the most successful candidates have experience working specifically in hospitals. Hospitalists are required to be currently licensed to practice medicine in their state of residence. Each state has different licensing requirements.
Hospitalists may receive on-the-job training, especially if they are new to the hospital where they were hired. This training may teach the new hospitalist about the details of current patients and the hospital’s method of patient record tracking.
Hospitalist Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hospitalists are listed under the physicians and surgeons category. For this category, the BLS lists an average median salary of around $250,000 per year. However, this salary can vary depending on specialization and experience. Hospitalists working in medical specialties can earn as much as $420,000 per year. Hospitalists often also receive extensive and comprehensive benefits packages. These benefits include comprehensive health insurance as well as annual performance bonuses.
The world’s population is continuing to grow at an exponential rate, which means there’s always a need for more physicians and hospital employees. The BLS projects a 13 percent growth rate for hospitalists over the next 10 years.
If you’re interested in learning more about the role of a hospitalist, read through some of these helpful resources:
Today’s Hospitalist – this free online magazine provides current news and articles about the current state of affairs for hospitalists. It covers topics like new and emerging hospital technologies and new trends. Here you can also find professional resources, such as leadership trainings, to help you progress in your career
Society of Hospital Medicine – SHM’s mission is to “promote exceptional care for hospitalized patients.” This professional organization provides membership for hospitalists who want to achieve the same mission. It organizes community events and professional networking opportunities and offers tons of industry-specific information in the form of blog posts and articles
Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic: Inside One of the World’s Most Admired Service Organizations – this highly rated book gives an in-depth look at the #1 healthcare system in America – the Mayo Clinic. The book covers a wide range of topics, including creating a good patient-hospital relationship and highlighting the importance of strong teamwork
I’m Here: Compassionate Communication in Patient Care – this book is dedicated to helping hospitalists and other medical professionals provide compassionate patient care to everyone. It’s filled with practical advice and humor that many of the reviewers have enjoyed
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