Hospitalists have been treating patients for two decades, but many feel that that they don't get the respect they deserve.
Several hospitalists complained about the lack of respect for the profession during a roundtable discussion conducted by Medscape. One said that other physicians, and even patients, “treat us like interns,” and that specialists expect hospitalists to make their jobs easier, but aren’t willing to offer the same help.
Amir Emami, M.D., a locum tenens hospitalist who is seeking to found a formal hospitalist's union, told Medscape that hospitalists are "viewed as cogs in a machine rather than as doctors." That means they are expected to conduct tests no one else wants to do and take on jobs beyond their scope of practice, he said.
Doctors interviewed by Medscape point to several factors that may prevent hospitalists from gaining the same respect of their physician peers. Hospitalist jobs often have quick turnover, according to the article, which may make it harder to gain respect from older, established specialists. And, because hospitalist programs are still in relative infancy, some hospitals still don't know how to best implement them.
The article offers several suggestions to help hospitalists gain the respect of their peers. Here are three of them:
- Don’t play the victim. Instead, focus on improving your communication skills.
- Find your calling. If there is an element of healthcare beyond your patient care duties that draws your interest, give it a try. It will help you develop leadership skills and gain useful contacts.
- Say something. Don’t be afraid to express concerns to leadership, and be sure to frame it in terms of the impact on care quality and patient safety.