I was one of the founding members of our Rush hospitalists group. What we basically do is take care of patients in the hospital — working with the patient’s primary care physician, as well as the house staff, the trainees, the medical students and also the sub-specialists that may come through — and try to organize the care in such a way that the patient can understand, that they trust what we are doing and then build a trust relationship with them in a short amount of time so that we can take care of them while they are acutely ill in the hospital.
The way I see it, my role goes beyond being a physician and telling them how to treat their hypertension or treat their diabetes. I view my role as a patient advocate, where I can not only treat them in a medical way, but also interpret things for them the best I can.
My care of them, just because I work in a hospital, it doesn’t end when they leave, it really ends when they go to the next provider and the next provide takes over their care. So, for me, it’s really important that they have a way to reach me, that they don’t have any confusion about how to follow up if they have a medical problem before they go see their primary care physician or the next sub-specialist or someone. I’m responsible for them until they actually get to that next provider.