Published in the October 2014 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
HOSPITALISTS may be in short supply throughout the country. But because there’s an even bigger shortage of intensivists, hospitalists often end up as the de facto intensivists in many ICUs. To find out how many hospitalists work in ICUs “and how much authority they have there “we asked hospitalists about their ICU duties in the 2013 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey. Here’s a look at what we found.
Just under two-thirds (58%) of full-time hospitalists who treat adults work in ICUs and serve as attendings, while 18% work in ICUs but not as attendings. Just under one-quarter (24%) don’t work in the ICU. (Pediatric hospitalists are less likely to work in the ICU.)
Geography is a big factor. In the Southwest, 83% of hospitalists say they work in their ICU. (That figure includes 71% who serve as attendings and 12% who do not.) In the South, that aggregate percentage is 82%, with 66% serving as attendings and 16% not.
But in the Northeast, only 65% of hospitalists work in ICUs, with 45% serving as attendings. That low percentage is probably due to the number of academic centers with closed ICUs.
Are consults mandatory?
For most hospitalists (61%), critical care consults aren’t mandatory, but 39% report that they need them. According to our data, mandatory consults are more likely in the Northeast, where 53% of hospitalists say they must get such a consult, and in the Southwest (47%). In the South, only 31% of hospitalists report needing to consult an intensivist.
Mandatory consults raise another question: Do hospitalists feel qualified to work in the ICU? Two-thirds (67%) of respondents feel very qualified or qualified to work in the ICU. Just under one-quarter (24%) say they feel somewhat qualified, and 9% feel they’re not qualified.
In terms of employer type, hospitalists at universities and medical schools are most likely to report feeling unqualified to work in the ICU (23%). That sentiment likely stems from a lack of experience, as 67% of those hospitalists say they don’t work in the ICU.
Interestingly, 100% of hospitalists in national hospitalist management companies say they feel qualified to work in the ICU.
WANT MORE DATA about hospitalist pay, work hours and more? Go online to www.todayshospitalist.com and look for the “2013 Salary Survey Results” button on the left side of the page.