If I had a penny for everytime someone has asked me whether I own a private practice/clinic, I’d be rich …
Hospital medicine pertains to the clinical practice of medicine where a physician focuses on the acute care of hospitalized patients within a hospital.
A doctor who practices hospital medicine is a hospitalist.
I love discovering the facets to my purpose and I believe “purpose” changes through each stage of life.
In this season I am convinced that my purpsoe involves the care of mankind at a vulnerable time of sickness and disease (inside a hospital) to offer treatment laced in hope, encouragement and with high-quality evidence based service.
This is why I believe I’ve got the best gig in my world. But with everything, there is the good and the not-so-good (because bad doesn’t exist in this world).
Here are a few things I LOVE about being a Hospitalist:-
– I am an adrenaline junkie but not enough adrenaline for the ER and too much for the clinic. So where else can I find that perfect balance? Here; a controlled environment like right inside the walls of the wards! Truth is I don’t like clinic unless it operates on my terms, in a direct pay/med spa type model.
– I’m not one for medical surprises, so in the hospital, I can typically anticipate mayhem, and I have all the tools on site to intercept it. This also allows for rapid measures to FIX and/or prevent “trouble”.
– I like to see immediate results. A person comes in “sick”, I diagnose, treat and that person leaves feeling relatively “well”. Sometimes it may take a week and other times a month but not always.
– I do enjoy admitting, stabilizing and playing a vital role in the healing of a human being within a specific timeframe. The reward I feel adds value to my existence, the sense of purpose and joy to serve I get in return is unmeasurable.
– The relationships I form with those I work with on a daily basis; staff and patients alike. They add meaning to my life. I learn lessons about life that I can’t articulate until several days or even months later. It leaves me appreciative of every single moment I have functioning as a relatively normal and healthy human.
– Work-Life balance is great. For those who don’t know; I love medicine but it is NOT MY LIFE. I have other passions and relationships that I want to see grow. Someday I will be married, have children and whatever else my heart desires. Time away from work is equally essential to nurture these plans.
– Hospital medicine allows the ability to create my schedule and offers a great deal of flexibility. Hospitalists typically work in block shifts to enhance continuity of care. Continuity of care is important in acute care settings because it’s always best for the patient if the same provider takes care of them over the length of their hospital stay. I get to learn about their bodies in a way that allows me to practice a holistic approach which offers them the greatest benefit. Now one can argue that outpatient primary care offers more continuity, preventative care than acute hospital care. And they will be absolutely correct, but I am not equally passionate about chronic care management as I am about acute care. So, to each their own.
– It is no surprise that I love to travel and “slay” my life outside of work. With being a hospitalist, I have long days typically 12 hour work days. I do this for 7 consecutive days and then I am subsequently off work for 7 subsequent days. This allows for time to travel and other things I enjoy.
– No “calls”. Some doctors have the traditional schedule which means you work a full day and then go home with the risk of being called back into work at night if your patient presents to the ER/hospital for whatever reason. In the world of hospital medicine when I am at the hospital I am fully there and once I get home I am off the clock as there is another colleague of mine who is present in the hospital to take over the care of my patients for the next 12 hours until I come back into the building to take over.
– I get to teach students internal/family medicine. Clinical teaching is a passion of mine. So I get to enjoy yet another passion even while saving lives. Score!
– Evidently, I don’t mind working with blood, sweat or tears. I live for life-threatening clinical scenarios, I don’t pray for them to happen but like Sherlock, I like to solve a good puzzle. I get to diagnose some challenging medical conditions and coordinate a treatment plan. In most instances, people leave the hospital well or on the path to recovery. I love when this happens.
The not so fun part of my job.
With my current work model 7on/7off, I work at least 2 weekends a month. This may not always be ideal if it coincides with other non-work related events.
I am a people person, I have a charming character and I am able to connect with just about anyone, so I miss clinic sometimes. I miss the long lasting relationships and continuity of care that I built with my patients when I practiced outpatient care during Family Medicine residency.
Death is inevitable but occurs commonly in hospitals. It still breaks my heart into a million pieces when I lose a person I offered health care to.
The unpleasant lack of total control on the administrative side of medicine as hospitals typically operate as major corporations. In private outpatient practice, you have some flexibility in the flow of your practice.
The bureaucracy that can occur with charting, deadlines, managerial oppression, organizational politics etc can be draining on clinical work. This accounts for a very small part of my life but it’s there.
Hopefully, this gives you insight into what I enjoy and if you’re considering this in the future, go for it.