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Different types of hospitalist fellowships include those for family practitioners, researchers, internal medicine doctors, and pediatricians. The standard hospitalist internship lasts 12 months, during which the fellow works one-on-one with a veteran hospitalist to serve inpatients; this veteran will regularly complete evaluations of the fellow, usually on a monthly basis. To qualify for most hospitalist internships, the applicant must be licensed by the local government to practice medicine in his or her discipline and must have already completed a medical residency at a hospital.
During a hospitalist fellowship, the fellow serves as a doctor, consultant and teacher, providing pre-operation and surgical guidance to peer physicians as well as instruction to medical students in residency. The fellow also attends conferences and either undertakes a medical research project or publishes an academic paper. Other duties include regular admission and discharge of patients, particularly those in the emergency room or intensive care wards. Depending on the hospital, a hospitalist fellow might be expected to make administrative decisions to improve the efficiency of hospital procedures and patient care or serve on a palliative care team.
Additional duties will be specific to the fellowship’s specialty focus. For instance, pediatricians receiving hospitalist fellowships will be focused primarily on hospitalized children and may be assigned exclusively to children’s hospitals. A pediatric hospitalist on fellowship might also work in nurseries, particularly with unassigned newborns, as well as labor and delivery units, especially when there is a high-risk delivery.
Family practitioners assigned to hospitalist fellowships would address patients of all ages who suffer from general ailments. Internal medicine doctors would provide critical care for those with diseases of the internal organs. Research fellows would provide less patient care, focusing instead on experimentation, assays, trials and treatment results.
The main benefit for recipients of hospitalist fellowships is the acquisition of knowledge in how to simultaneously manage several acutely ill patients. Fellows also learn how to consult with peer doctors in other specialties about the integrated care for such patients as well as how to properly maintain hospital records. Another professional benefit of hospitalist fellowships is that the fellow gets to master hospital-related procedures such as mechanical ventilation, intubation, and the connection of lines of nutrition and medication to main or peripheral arteries and veins.
Hospitalist fellowships generally include a competitive salary plus an academic stipend to pay for any medical books or professional memberships. They also typically include health insurance and relocation costs. To apply, aspiring fellows usually submit a curriculum vitae, diplomas, and letters of reference. Often a personal essay or statement explaining the applicant’s career and research goals is requested.