“How does this have anything to do with hospital medicine?” you may ask yourself, as the readers of this column frequently query.
As a resident, the last few months were never ending. The predominant sensation was being ready to move on. If it’s the last day on service after a long run, and a patient gets admitted, I still sometimes have to fight that feeling. There are unanswered questions, tests to be ordered, labs pending, but still you know that when those results come back, it won’t be you who interprets them. It creates a disconnect that is hard to avoid.
For a one-year hospitalist, spending a year on service as filler between residency and fellowship, this is a huge issue. As the transitional hospitalist nears the end, how can he or she stay involved in decision-making and maintain interest in the workings and improvement of the group? Transitional hospitalists are an important resource in many academic centers, and making their entire year a success is of paramount importance to the patients they serve.
The best recommendation I can make is to make sure one-year hospitalists are not on service their last two weeks. Let them save their vacation time and non-service time until the end, when they really need it for the transition to the next phase in their lives. This also helps avoid the creation of a malcontent and the potential for substandard care by a disengaged provider.
As physician editor—aka Grand Kahuna—of The Hospitalist, I have felt that sensation of being ready to hand over the reins. I am ready for my senescence. Nonetheless, it has been a great two years. We have covered stories from all over the world—Iraq, Afghanistan, Holland, and Brazil. We have explored medical history from ancient Greece to colonial America. We have even looked at maggot debridement. Oh, and also some hospitalist stuff.
I can’t wait to see what The Hospitalist will look like in the years to come. As the great poet-physician Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. observed, “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” TH
Dr. Newman served as physician editor of The Hospitalist since 2005. He’s also consultant, Hospital Internal Medicine, and assistant professor of internal medicine and medical history, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn.