I think it is really cool that this publication has a series of articles on “What Cardiologists [or infection disease specialists, nephrologists, etc.] Want Hospitalists to Know.” I’m always interested to see which clinical topics made the list and which I’m already reasonably familiar with versus know little about. I’ve added this series to my list of things that are always worth the time to read, along with the “What’s New” section in UpToDate, review articles in major journals, and the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.
Not long ago, I worked with a hospitalist group that had agreed to cardiologists’ request that new hospitalists round with a cardiologist for something like three days as part of their orientation. This seems like they’ve taken the idea of “What Cardiologists Want Hospitalists to Know” a lot further than I had ever considered. I’m sure it would have value on many levels, including positioning the new hospitalist to work more effectively with the cardiologists, but I’m not sure it’s worth the cost. And I’m really concerned it sends a signal that the relationship is one way—that is, the hospitalists need to understand what the cardiologists do and want from them and not the reverse. For many reasons, I think this should be a reciprocal relationship, and it seems reasonable that new cardiologists should orient by rounding with hospitalists.
Same goes for the “… Want Hospitalists to Know” series. I’d like to see articles enumerating what hospitalists want doctors in other fields to know either in this magazine or its counterpart in the other specialty. What follows is the first of these. It is my take on non-clinical topics hospitalists want hospital leaders to know, and I’ll leave it to others to write about clinical topics.
We Aren’t on ‘Vacation’ Every Other Week
If you always think of our days off as a vacation, as in, “Those hospitalists get 26 weeks of vacation a year,” you’re making a mistake. A significant portion of our weekdays off are just like your weekends; they’re days to take a breather.
And you’re likely forgetting how many weekends we work.
And maybe lots of nights also.
You probably work more hours annually, but having more days for a breather are one offset for our weekends and nights.
Insisting Hospitalists Work an Entire Shift (12 Hours) Doesn’t Make a Lot of Sense on Slow Days
Staying around after completing clinical work yields no value. Too often, the time is spent watching YouTube or similar activities. And it means the doctor will be much more frustrated, and more likely to lobby for overtime compensation, when needing to stay beyond the scheduled end of the shift on busy days.
Avoid measuring work effort in hours. And in many cases, it is best to avoid precise determinations of when a day shift ends. At most hospitals, you do need at least one daytime doctor to stay on duty until the next shift arrives, but it rarely makes sense to have all of the hospitalists stay.
Your hospitalists need to be professional enough not to dash out the door the minute they’ve put notes on every patient’s chart. Instead, rather than leaving at the first opportunity on slow days, they could do all of the discharge preparation (med rec, discharge summary, etc.) for patients likely ready for discharge the next day; this can help a lot to discharge patients early the next day. Or they could make “secondary” rounds focused on patient satisfaction, etc.
Obs Patients Usually Are No Less Complicated—or Labor-Intensive—to Care For