A New Specialty For Doctors: Overnight Shifts
Hospitals, in an effort to boost patient safety, are beginning to employ "nocturnalists," or doctors who are hired explicitly to work in the hospital overnight. Residents — doctors in training — and nurses often have managed patients during these off hours, with help from attending, or staff, physicians on-call at home.
The Boston Globe:
The Doctors Who Only Come Out At Night
Amid the growing national focus on patient safety, hospitals are increasingly hiring experienced physicians to work overnight shifts on general medical floors. Residents — doctors in training — and nurses often have managed patients during these off hours, with help from attending, or staff, physicians on-call at home. But nocturnalists, or nocturnists as they are also known, give patients the benefit of a supervising doctor who checks on them in person. Groggy attending physicians who have already put in a full day are not repeatedly woken up to provide guidance. (Kowalczyk, 7/4)
In other news concerning doctors, a lack of geriatricians is hitting the nation hard —
Few Young Doctors Are Training To Care For U.S. Elderly
At Edgewood Summit retirement community in Charleston, W.Va., 93-year-old Mary Mullens is waxing eloquent about her geriatrician, Dr. Todd Goldberg. "He's sure got a lot to do," she says, "and does it so well." West Virginia has the third oldest population in the nation, right behind Maine and Florida. But Goldberg is one of only 36 geriatricians in the state. "With the growing elderly population across America and West Virginia, obviously we need healthcare providers," says Goldberg. (Lofton, 7/3)