Hospitalists are doctors who generally work full time in a hospital. A hospitalist is trained specifically to provide general medical care to patients in a hospital.
A hospitalist coordinates what is supposed to happen for a patient, at the right time, in the right way. Medical care in a hospital can be complex. It is difficult for doctors who are not in a hospital to coordinate in hospital care. For example, there can be up to 100 people who touch or are otherwise involved in a patient's care.
Most hospitalists are trained in internal medicine. Internal medicine is the name for doctors who specialize in adult health care.
Because hospitalists spend most of their working time in a hospital, they are more available during the daytime to meet with patients and their families than a specialist or other doctor. Because of that hospitalists may be a good source of information about your condition and treatment.
Hospitalists are also close by in case an emergency occurs while in the hospital.
NOTE: Be sure to tell the hospitalist about:
- Your wishes in case you become unable to communicate yourself. For example, tell the doctor about the contents of your Living Will and other Advance Directives.
- What is important to you. For instance, whether it is more important to be free of pain or to have a clear head in case you have to do business even though you are in the hospital.
- When hospital procedure interferes with your needs. For example, if you have trouble sleeping, but the nurse wakes you every morning at 5 to take your temperature when you haven't had a fever for a few days.