A hospitalist is a physician who works full time in a hospital and specializes in providing care and treatment for hospitalized patients. During an inpatient stay, a hospitalist will function as a temporary PCP to oversee and manage a patient’s comprehensive care plan. Hospitalists perform around-the-clock examinations, monitoring, and treatment management services for patients from the time of admission to the time of discharge. Unlike PCPs, hospitalists don’t normally have outside medical practices, which means their only responsibility is caring for patients while they are in the hospital.
In terms of education and experience, hospitalists are usually board-certified physicians in internal medicine or family medicine. They’re qualified to identify, diagnose, and treat a full range of internal conditions and diseases. Because hospitalists are on-site at the hospital full time, they’re skilled at efficiently managing care in the hospital setting. They fill a crucial care gap for hospitalized patients who experience long wait times and delayed services between irregular visits from their PCP. They also fill the care gap for patients admitted to the hospital without a primary doctor.
How to Become a Hospitalist in Five Steps
Complete an Undergraduate Degree
To become a hospitalist, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in a major such as biology, chemistry, public health, nursing, health sciences, or something similar as a preparation for medical school. Choosing the right undergraduate program is key in preparing you academically for medical school and giving you the best chance for future success.
Attend Medical School
If you want to be a hospitalist, you’ll need to attend medical school and earn a medical degree. This means you will need to take and pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) during the junior or senior year of your undergraduate program. Usually, medical school is comprised of a curriculum that takes four years to complete, and students can delve into an assortment of subjects while in this setting to find an area of greatest interest.
Complete a Residency & Fellowship Program
Upon graduation from medical school, you will need to start a residency, or post-graduate training. As a physician, you will need to take part in training that will help you in your path to becoming a hospitalist. During a residency program, you will receive hands-on training, mentorship, and experience that will help you in your career as a health care professional. Hospitalists typically spend anywhere from two to five years in residency and most commonly specialize in pediatrics, family medicine, or internal medicine. After completing a residency, you should also consider a fellowship. Fellowships are not required; however, they allow medical doctors to concentrate on a number of subspecialties. Completing a fellowship can also help put you at an advantage while starting your career, since they allow participants to make important discoveries within the field of clinical research.
Obtain a State License
To work as a medical doctor in any state, you must be licensed. Applicants must meet certain requirements either by endorsement or examination. Once issued a medical license, you are ready to begin your formal journey as a hospitalist!
Begin Your Career
Once you have completed all the above, you will be on your way to seek out and begin a desired hospitalist position. You can find hospitalists in a multitude of health organizations. This includes medical groups, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and hospitals. Hospitalists will more than likely work with ill patients and their family members, and because of this should always strive to have compassion, strong communication skills, and leadership competences.
Want to learn more about becoming a hospitalist? We are here for you! Contact us today to learn more about our open positions. Our care team is comprised of medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, and is assigned a manageable load of patients based on case-mix considerations, oversight requirements, and service volume differences between the number of complex versus chronic care patients. We promote an environment of respect, intellectual growth, and collaboration between clinicians and ancillary staff.
Learn More About Advanced Care Hospitalists (ACH)
ACH is a Lakeland-based hospitalist group providing comprehensive patient care in community hospitals across Central Florida. Our providers are highly skilled, board-certified internal medicine specialists who are available around-the-clock to meet the care needs of patients from hospital admission through discharge. Post-discharge from the hospital, we continue overseeing patient care for 30 days.
We’ve found that continued care coordination ensures more accurate medication reconciliation, improved compliance with discharge plans, better scheduling of follow-up visits, and fewer hospital readmissions. Our providers do everything in their power to make sure our patients receive the compassionate and comprehensive care they need to promote healing and prevent a second hospital admission.
For more information about our services and our practice, please contact Advanced Care Hospitalists at 863-816-5884 or fill out a contact form online.