Home From The Editor The new normal: hospitalists’ expanding job description

The new normal: hospitalists’ expanding job description

December 2012

Published in the December 2012 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

HOSPITAL MEDICINE has always been a fast changing specialty, and hospitalists have benefited from much of that constant change. But as their job descriptions expand, some hospitalists are finding that change can be a double-edged sword.

The role that many hospitalists play as ward attendings is a prime example. Changes in inpatient medicine have younger teaching hospitalists redefining their job as attendings. But as one of our stories points out, older teaching physicians don’t always see eye to eye with their younger colleagues.

That clash is in part the result of a generational divide. But it is being stoked by factors like duty-hour restrictions and a seemingly endless stream of quality measures that have the attention of younger attendings. As younger teaching hospitalists try to meet these new demands, older attendings worry that education will suffer.

Teaching hospitalists aren’t the only ones having a hard time adapting to expanding job descriptions. Hospitalists everywhere are feeling pressured to see more patients and work more hours, in some cases to reduce their costs, all while squeezing in new duties that compete for their time at the bedside.

And as another article in this issue points out, the changing definition of what it means to be productive has hospitalists everywhere struggling to work not just harder, but smarter. Groups know that the financial pressure on hospitals “and by extension, hospitalists “isn’t going away anytime soon, and some are finding new ways to do more without burning out.
In the process, many groups are making themselves more productive “and more valuable to their hospitals. And that’s the positive side of change.

Edward Doyle
Editor & Publisher