Sarah Henry, MD, a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital, is just beginning her shift while her coworkers are departing for the day. In Henry’s role as a nocturnist, he works 10-midnight shifts a month and avoids traditional workplace stressors like lengthy commutes by sleeping most of the time during the day.
However, the true appeals of the position lie elsewhere. Henry observes that the hospital seems to be a different place at night than it is during the day. Meetings and conferences are not taking place, and no one is going in and out. Patients and their families will benefit from a more simple work environment that allows me to spend a lot of time with them. What you said means a lot to me.” A number of new medical career options have opened up in recent years, some as a result of medical advancements, others as a result of changes in the way health care is provided. Here are 4 new specializations, what they involve, and what training is required to pursue them.
Nocturnists — physicians who practice hospital care largely at night — have a promising future as the percentage of medically difficult patients in hospitals increases. Atashi Mandal, MD, an Orange County nocturnist, thinks it “adds a degree of safety and care to the hospital.” In many ways, nocturnists are similar to hospitalists in that they admit and cover patients, but since they work at night, they are typically working alone and without the assistance of other doctors. Because of this, they typically have more freedom than their daytime colleagues.
Board certification in the internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics is required, as it is for regular hospitalists. According to Philip A. Masters, MD, vice president of and international and membership programs at the American College of Physicians, a doctor may also pursue Maintenance of Certification in the Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine or additional training in a specific subspecialty such as cardiology or pulmonary medicine.
Over 70% of hospitalist programs feature nocturnists, and demand is outpacing supply, according to the 2016 State of Hospital Medicine Report. Therefore, they may make 15 to 20 percent more than daytime hospitalists and earn the same compensation with fewer hours while working the same amount of hours. Although “finding it easier to sleep throughout the day is crucial,” Henry explains. This can’t be done by everyone.
2. Clinical informatics
According to Douglas B. Fridsma, MD, Ph.D., president & CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association, clinical informatics, also known as biomedical or health informatics, entails gathering and analyzing patient health data and putting that knowledge to good use in