With more jobs opening in hospitals and medical centers, the role of the hospitalist is becoming increasingly important in the United States. Hospitalists are mainly general care physicians who only work in hospital settings, allowing them to focus on the unique needs of patients in medical facilities. You can search for hospitalist jobs by exploring the employment sections of hospital websites, or by going through placement agencies or sites that focus on job listings. If you've gone to school to be a hospitalist -- or if you're thinking about training for this field -- then there are certain questions you should ask yourself as you pursue this career. Ask these questions to learn more about hospitalist positions before saying yes or no.
Is there a mentorship program for new hospitalists?
Much like any other new positions, it's always helpful to have a senior employee who you can go to for advice and support, especially when you're just starting out at a new job in a new environment. The type of support that you get from other hospitalists is important.
What is the workload like?
While being interviewed, inquire about the average number of encounters with patients that you can expect on a daily basis. Detailed questions about admissions, patient load, etc, should be asked. How many patients you'll see on average on a daily basis can mean the difference between an enjoyable and challenging job, and an exhausting one. Seeing over 20 patients per day is a lot. This is the type of organization that probably sees a lot of turnover in their employees as a result of burn out. The money they may be offering might not be worth the added stress. Knowing this before you agree to come aboard is important.
Where is this hospitalist job located?
Some facilities may be independent, while others may be run by a national group that has contracts with the hospital. The answer that you get will give you some input about the job and what it would be like working there. Make sure to also ask how long the facility has been in operation, as this can also provide insight into the success of the business behind the hospital setting.
What type of schedule would this hospitalist job entail?
This is a fair question to ask, especially when it comes to certain ridiculous shifts that some medical facilities expect of their staff. Residents don't necessarily have to have a sustainable schedule, but anything that has you working 14-hours shifts for seven or more days in a row can really get you burned out quickly, which could affect your physical and mental health. Consider whether a certain expected schedule is realistic or not for the long haul. Asking how much vacation is included is fair game as well.
How are hospitalists advanced or promoted within the group?
Consider whether the facility is able to offer you some opportunities for advancement with room for upward growth. Find out if hospitalists in the facility have been promoted academically and professionally, and if there are career growth opportunities in specific areas that you may be interested in.
How are new patients distributed in the group?
Unless there are specific employees that have specialized training in certain realms of patient treatment, ideally patients should be evenly distributed in terms of level of care required, and the degree of difficulty in treating each patient. While one patient may be able to be treated in half an hour, others may take hours. Others still may have issues that are much more complicated to deal with that require more in-depth work and time.
What type of technology is used in the facility?
Ideally, you'd like to work in a setting that is always keeping their finger on the pulse of the latest in innovations as far as technology is concerned. This goes for both the treatment modalities, as well as how administration and payroll are carried out. A facility that has extremely outdated tools and technology - or lack thereof - shows that they're either financially unstable to bring in such equipment, or they are not as dedicated to technological upgrades as they should be.
How long has each hospitalist on average been with the group?
Finding out roughly how long hospitalists have stayed with the facility will give you an indication of the turnover rate. A higher number of people who have started and quit is a red flag to watch out for. Obviously, there's an issue with the facility if hospitalists aren't able to see their job through for very long, be it from having to tend to too many patients on a daily basis, having a tough work schedule, and so forth.