Even those who are familiar with the role of a hospitalist might not understand what it is a hospitalist nocturnist does. Simply put, a nocturnist is any healthcare professional that provides overnight care. Many people in healthcare work the nightshift because, let’s face it, the need for healthcare knows no clock. People can just as easily fall ill in the middle of the night as they can during the day. Likewise, people staying in a hospital need care at night, just as they do during the day.
In the case of a hospitalist nocturnist, the healthcare professional is an internal medicine specialist trained to work in a hospital overnight. Their shifts are typically 12 hours, so they might work from 5 pm until 5 am or 6 pm to 6 am – each hospital is free to design a schedule for its staff.
In many cases, nocturnists receive higher compensation for their work. This is because working the night shift can disrupt your life outside of the hospital and even affect your health. They might also be the lone provider of emergency care, since hospitals tend to staff more lightly during the night. For many patients, care during the night involves nothing more than quick look-ins from doctors and nurses, so there is less of a reason to have a full staff on duty. Since hospitalist nocturnists will be the first and primary line of defense for patients, they are compensated nicely for their role.
There are many benefits to having a hospitalist nocturnist on staff and these benefits are loved by hospital staff, patients, and even the nocturnist. Patients receive the care they need and there is no “holding period” for patients brought into the hospital at night. If a patient arrives in the emergency room, a hospitalist nocturnist is able to admit the patient and get healthcare started, so there is no need to wait for anything until the full staff comes on duty in the early morning.
Hospital staff loves having a hospitalist on duty around the clock because it allows everyone to play their role and not have to shuffle anything around if an emergency occurs. Nobody on the day staff is asked to work nights and senior staff officials are not tasked with constantly finding someone to man the night shift. There is a single person, fully qualified and prepared to work overnight on a consistent basis.
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