List of challenges hospitalists face:
1. Waking up at 530am. If you are not a morning person, waking up daily at this time could be a tough one. To make it better, sleeping early the night prior helps a lot.
2. Snow. If you are living in an area with snow fall, this could be a real challenge in peak winters. Buying a car with steering wheel heating can make things a lot better. Four wheel drive is a must. Change tires if they are worn out. Don’t be in a rush while driving.
3. Short staffed days: This may not happen frequently. If patient load is high, short staffing can make things really difficult.
4. Narcotic seeking patients. It may be challenging to deal with those few patients with drug seeking behavior.
5. Lack of good specialist support. Things can really get delayed with your patients if specialists do not see patients on time or if it is difficult to reach them easily. Try to take their cell phone numbers.
6. Unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, it may get very stressful to deal with families of patients with unrealistic expectations.
7. Unfriendly work place. It can be very difficult to work at a place when you don’t feel comfortable. Be very nice to others all the time be it your colleagues or floor staff. Even if small misunderstandings arise, think that time will heal things.
8. Patients with multiple comorbidities. As the technology is improving, lot of patients are living longer with multiple medical problems. If you are working in a telemetry floor, sometimes it can get very challenging.
9. Busy winter months. Sometimes during winter, ED and hospital floors can get overcrowding leading to lot of inconvenience for the patients. It can get difficult for the hospitalists to do lot of admissions. Just start rounding early and cut short your lunch break. Try to pace yourself. Assume that you may get pulled to do admissions and try to make time for the same.
10. Hospitalists in rural area hospitals. The biggest challenge can be dealing with sick patients with limited resources and specialist support. Transferring to a bigger center is only the option for sicker patients.
11. High Job Turnover. In some hospitals, high turnover can make things very difficult. Lot of time and effort is needed to train the new doctors during which time, it can be very stressful for the existing hospitalists.
12. Night shifts. If you are not a night person, working for 7 nights in a row is a real big challenge. Exchange some of the nights with your colleagues from the other team which stays at home while you work.
13. Burn out. This can happen to a lot of hospitalists if you don’t plan your working style as per your body needs. Reduce using cell phones. Sleep well. Try to take off. Always think that you have to do this job for more than a decade and you should plan things accordingly.
14. Building Patients’ Trust. Since the patients do not know the hospitalists prior to admission, it is the responsibility of the hospitalists to make patients trust them. Taking good care of them and giving high quality care builds up the trust for sure.