Even if you’re not familiar with the term hospitalist, you’ve likely met one. Hospitalists work as frontline physicians, subspecialists, practice leaders, C-suite executives and academic clinicians. March 3 is National Hospitalist Day, so we’re taking a closer look at the benefits of this increasingly popular role.
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Kiersten Williams, M.D., medical director of the OB hospitalist program at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado, has been practicing obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) since 2002. An OB hospitalist since 2015, Dr. Williams was drawn to the field because of the variety it offers. For example, she works at four sites — two that care for more high-risk obstetrics patients than gynecology patients and two that primarily see gynecologic cases that come through the emergency department.
Michelle Pastorello, M.D., FAAP, a pediatric hospitalist at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas, agrees.
“Vegas is a destination for travelers from all over the world, so we see everything from standard pediatric problems to very complex, unusual illnesses,” she explained. “For me, that’s part of the appeal. I see something different every day.”
Dr. Pastorello was drawn to medicine at a young age. She excelled in science and math, so she discussed her career options with her father, a science teacher, and her aunt, a pediatric nurse practitioner. She ultimately chose medicine to combine science with service.
“Most of my residency was hospital-based, which I enjoyed,” Dr. Pastorello said. “After residency, I took a job in a clinic, which I enjoyed less. I started working shifts in the hospital, and I loved it. I loved seeing the rapid way in which most kids get better, seeing their resilience through treatment.”
Hospitalists give — and get — support
While hospitalists don’t see patients for well care, they still have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships.
“As hospitalists, we’re able to connect with new patients quickly and adapt to dynamic situations,” Dr. Williams explained. “OB hospitalists, in particular, help support women who may have a certain plan for delivering their babies and then learn that plan may not be possible. We work to find common ground, advocate for patients’ preferences and manage their expectations.”
Dr. Pastorello added, “When children have chronic conditions that require hospitalization, pediatric hospitalists provide continuity of care and a system of support for families.”
And, in turn, hospitalists receive support from Pediatrix® Medical Group, part of the Mednax® family.
“This job is much different than working in an office, which, for me, is a good thing,” she said. “While you don’t always have control over how things flow at the hospital, you do have a set schedule — and a lot more work-life balance.”
It’s this balance, she said, that allows her and her husband — also a physician — to attend their children’s extracurricular activities.
“I’ve always felt extremely supported by the organizational structure of Pediatrix,” said Dr. Pastorello. “They make sure we’re staffed properly, get time off, have what we need for our practice to excel and build solid relationships with hospital administration to ensure our needs locally are met.”
In honor of National Hospitalist Week, take time to thank a hospitalist this week.
Interested in a job as a hospitalist? Pediatrix has a variety of openings. Learn more.