Many of you have asked what a typical day is like as an Internal Medicine Hospitalist. The schedule of a hospitalist largely depends on the hospital setting (academic vs. community), practice model (group-employed vs. hospital-employed), and location being practiced in (urban vs. rural). There are many different schedule variations, but a majority of traditional hospitalists work for 7 days on (usually for 12 hours at a time), then have 7 days off. This cycles for the entire year.
For reference, I work at a large academic teaching hospital in Southern California with a group of approximately 30 hospitalists. Every day brings something new and my routine is never set in stone, but here’s a general idea of what my usual day consists of:
🔹7am: Arrive at the hospital. Review all lab results, imaging, vitals, and overnight events of all the patients on my service.
🔹8am: Start working on any new admissions from the ER (this consists of chart review, evaluating the patient, and writing admit orders)
🔹9am: Head to my unit and see all my patients at bedside. This is when I get to talk to my patients, examine them, and update them on the plan for the day. I see anywhere from 13-16 patients total.
🔹10:30am: Multidisciplinary rounds. This is a central meeting where I discuss the plan of care with all my patients’ nurses, the charge nurse, case manager, pharmacist, physical therapist, and social worker. As the attending physician on the unit, I am responsible for leading these meetings and addressing any concerns.
🔹11:30am-5pm: Floor work. This is when I place new orders, discharge patients, communicate with consultants, update families via phone, see new ER admits and ICU downgrades, and follow-up on any new imaging or labs that were ordered. I also try to sneak in a quick lunch during this time period too😉
🔹5pm-7pm+: Note-writing time. This is when I write all my progress notes and H&P’s for the day. Why do I write my notes at the end of the day? I personally believe that practicing medicine should come *first*, then documentation can follow later👍
Let me know if you have any questions about Hospitalist life below!