Hospitalist: Salary & Job Description

Feb 13, 2018

When people are hospitalized they may be treated by hospitalists. This article looks at the role of medical doctors who specialize as hospitalists, their typical duties, the training required and the skills needed to succeed in this career.

Career Definition of a Hospitalist

Hospitalists are medical doctors who work exclusively in hospitals. They see and treat patient who are admitted to hospitals. The evolution of this medical specialty has eliminated the need for primary care doctors to see their patients when they are hospitalized. Instead, hospitalists assume the primary care role for the patient during their hospitalization.

Hospitalists perform a range of tasks. They can diagnose patients and make decisions about how to treat patients for their condition. They provide information to nurses and other medical staff. Hospitalists may order tests. They check on patients, and they also communicate with the families of their patients. They inform patients and their families of any changes in the patient's condition and any changes in their treatment plan. Hospitalists may also confer with a patient's primary doctor to get a more detailed medical history and to ensure that the patient's primary care physician has all relevant information about the patient's hospitalization and treatment. It's also common for hospitalists to assume roles on hospital boards and help influence hospital polices and procedures.

Educational Requirements Medical degree, residency, license, certification
Job Skills Communication skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, decision-making skills, attention to detail, compassion, teamwork skills, physical stamina, organizational skills
Median Salary (2018)* $219,349
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 15% (all internists, general)

Sources: *; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

There are many years of training required to become a hospitalist. After earning a bachelor's degree, aspiring hospitalists must attend medical school and earn their medical degree. They are then required to spend three years in a residency program for internal medicine. After completing their residency hospitalists must pass an exam to earn their medical license and then become board certified in hospital medicine.

Required Skills

Hospitalists need to have strong communication skills in order to provide clear directions for other medical staff concerning a patient's care. They also need to have good teamwork skills to maintain a good working relationship with primary care physicians. They need to pay attention to details so that they consider all relevant factors concerning a patient's condition when providing medical treatment and diagnosing them. Compassion is important because they regularly work with people who are very ill.

Career Outlook and Salary

Hospitalists took home a median income of $219,349 per year as of 2018, as reported by The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that from 2016 to 2026, the category 'internists, general', which includes hospitalists, should see a job growth rate of 15%.This is more than twice as fast as the average job growth for all occupations during the same time frame

Related Careers

Since hospitalists are trained internists those thinking about this field of medicine may also be interested in other internal medicine specialties. Use the links provided here to learn more about the work of oncologists, sports medicine doctors, allergists and pediatric endocrinologists.

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