Home From The Editor Hospitalists in demand: An opportunity or a “Band-Aid?”

Hospitalists in demand: An opportunity or a “Band-Aid?”

September 2005

Published in the September 2005 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

After reading the stories in this month’s issue, one thought came to mind: It’s nice to be wanted. As our coverage in this issue demonstrates, the demand for hospitalists is reaching a fever pitch, and it shows no signs of easing up in the near future.

Whether it’s filling in for residents who have to leave the hospital before their “shift” is up, or making sure that ACS patients get the right medications, hospitalists are being pressed to take on more and more responsibilities.

I recently talked to a cardiologist who had an interesting take on hospital medicine: “I’m impressed with how much hospitalists have to take in and take care of in a given shift,” he said. “It’s almost like being an emergency physician, but you’re working in the hospital instead of the ED.”

What’s more telling, though, is that while he knows that hospitalists already face a heavy load, he wants them to expand their role “and he’s not alone.

From cardiologists looking at discharge drug planning to emergency medicine physicians who need help streamlining admissions, hospitalists are being sought after not just to provide patient care, but for their expertise in improving care processes.

Hospitalists are earning a reputation as the go-to physicians in the hospital, something that the specialty’s pioneers predicted years ago. Tremendous growth, however, comes with challenges. As one physician puts it, hospitalists need to make sure that they aren’t viewed as a “Band-Aid” for every little problem that comes up in the hospital.

While that’s true, it’s an exciting time for hospital medicine, one that will help determine its place in American medicine. And if nothing else, it’s nice to be in demand.

Edward Doyle
Editor and Publisher