What is a Hospitalist?
Observed on the first Thursday in March annually, National Hospitalist Day was approved by the National Day Calendar in 2018. The first National Hospitalist Day was celebrated in March 7th, 2019. It celebrates and recognizes the fastest-growing specialty in modern medicine and the great contributions of 60,000 hospitalists nationwide. Hospitalists are inpatient physicians who occupy an important role in the care of admitted patients. There are hospitalists in various specialties, such as pediatrics, obstetrics, and subspecialties, like hematology/oncology, neonatology, and gastroenterology.
The Origin of the Hospitalist
How did this specialty come about? Not many of us recall the days when dual-role physicians existed, and physicians saw their patients in the hospital and clinic, providing continuity of care. However, as the complexity of care and burdensome regulations grew, it became clear that this model of care could not keep up with demand. The term ‘Hospitalist’ was first introduced in 1996 by Drs. Robert Watcher and Lee Goldman, in their NEJM article, The Emerging Role of Hospitalists in the American Health Care System, where they presented what they thought was a better way of handling patient care. Since then, the specialty has proliferated from fewer than 1000 practicing hospitalists in the mid-90s to a force of over 60,000 physicians today. Internal Medicine accounts for 75 percent of hospitalists practicing today.
Hospitalists have Earned their National Day of Recognition!
In 2020, the Covid pandemic hit, immediately putting pressure on hospitalists to expand their role to meet critical patient needs. They navigated staffing shortages, PPE shortages, sick patient surges, and quickly restructured clinical operations. Hospitalists have been on the frontlines of the Covid pandemic response since its inception, and through it all continued to provide quality care while enduring many sacrifices in their personal lives. Theirs was a brave and monumental undertaking – being among the first physicians to care for Covid patients – when so little was known about the disease. Despite the uncertainty, anxiety, and real risk to personal safety, hospitalists across the country donned their masks, gowns, eye goggles, face shields and stepped into the breach. With courage and compassion, hospitalists were among the first to step up and care for isolated, sick, and frightened patients.
Happy National Hospitalist Day!
Legacy Physicians would like to express its profound appreciation and admiration for all hospitalists, not only for the tireless efforts they demonstrated during the trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic but also for their ongoing commitment to providing quality care today and into tomorrow. Thank you, Hospitalists!
Hospitalists Needed in Rural Hospitals!
Legacy Physicians provides physician staffing to help hospitals deliver high-quality, compassionate care. Contact us to find out more about our current opportunities.