Home From The Editor What do private practice and night shifts have in common?

What do private practice and night shifts have in common?

September 2008

Published in the September 2008 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER WORKING as a nocturnist? How about at a practice that receives no financial support from the hospital it serves?

If your reaction to either question is a knee-jerk “no,” you’re not alone. In the world of hospital medicine, these jobs aren’t always the most popular choice for physicians.

But how much do you really know about what working in these settings means for physicians? The answer is probably not very much. That’s why we decided to take a look at both night shifts and subsidy-free groups in this month’s issue. We talked to hospitalists who have adopted either an unorthodox schedule or practice to see what makes their groups tick “and what they think of their group’s somewhat unusual configuration.

It turns out that there are more than a few similarities between the two. For one, many hospitalists who work nights or without subsidies say they enjoy considerably more autonomy than their colleagues. And both types of physicians say that they practice a relatively stripped-down form of hospital medicine, one that’s free of many of the extra duties that have been heaped onto hospitalists’ plates in the last few years.

There are clearly some downsides to both types of practice. Nocturnists, for example, have to be on guard against isolation from their peers, and patient loads in subsidy-free groups can be overwhelming. (We address these concerns in our coverage.)

Nevertheless, most of the physicians we spoke to said they can’t see themselves ever returning to a “normal” style of hospital medicine. Despite the downsides of working nights or working without a financial safety net, these physicians are truly happy where they’re at.

That’s something that you don’t hear every day.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor and Publisher