Hospitalist Vs. Internist

Oct 21, 2019

Hospitalists and internists are medical professionals with similar training and daily responsibilities. This article will detail the job duties of these careers as well as some of their similarities and differences.

Comparing Hospitalists to Internists

A hospitalist is a medical professional specifically trained to work in a hospital setting. An internist is a medical doctor that specializes in providing treatment for disorders and injuries of the internal organs. One doctor could be simultaneously an internist and a hospitalist if they practice internal medicine exclusively in a hospital setting.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Wage (2018)* Projected growth (2018-2028)*
Hospitalist Medical school degree $200,890 (for physicians and surgeons, all other) 7-10% (for physicians and surgeons, all other)
Internist Medical school degree $194,500 4-6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Hospitalists vs. Internists

Hospitalists and internists have similar duties in their day-to-day routine. Both types of doctors diagnose patients, prescribe medicine and treatment, and care for patients. The main difference between these two titles is that the term ''hospitalist'' describes the location where the doctor practices, whereas ''internist'' describes a specific type of medical practice. Hospitalists work in a hospital providing general care to hospitalized patients. While a hospitalist might specialize in fields like family practice, lung medicine, kidney medicine, or internal medicine, many hospitalists are also internal medicine specialists. An internist is a doctor who specializes in internal medicine.


Hospitalists are medical doctors who specialize in caring for hospitalized patients. Rather than conducting visits or working in an out-patient clinic, hospitalists work solely in a hospital. They provide basic medical care to patients during their stay in a hospital, so that a patient's regular physician does not have to travel to the hospital. Hospitalists may work with new patients every day, so they must have excellent communication and organizational skills. Hospitalists may have to work odd schedules typical of a hospital setting, like seven days on and seven days off.

Job responsibilities of a hospitalist include:

  • Treating a range of internal disorders, including hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes
  • Organizing and analyzing patient records to ensure patients are connected to the best treatment plan
  • Communicating test results, treatment options, and risks to patients and their family members
  • Training medical students and residents


An internist is a medical doctor with specialized expertise in treating internal health issues for adults. They are qualified to treat diseases, disorders, and injuries of the internal organs, like influenza, diabetes, and high blood pressure. They might work as a personal physician in an out-patient setting developing long-term relationships with a set of patients, or they can work in hospitals as hospitalists and regularly treat new patients. Internists can continue their education and develop specialties in allergy and immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, infectious disease, or nephrology.

Job responsibilities of an internist include:

  • Analyzing patient records to make informed diagnoses
  • Monitoring the conditions of patients and modifying treatment plans accordingly
  • Recommending patients to specialists when necessary
  • Directing the activities of nurses and other patient care staff

Related Careers

If you want to work as a hospitalist, consider a career as an OB/GYN doctor, since both positions often involve providing medical care in a hospital setting. If you are interested in internal medicine, you may also want to consider becoming an oncologist, since both professions employ similar knowledge and skills diagnosing serious internal diseases and disorders.

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