While most parents may better understand the role of a general pediatrician, a pediatric hospitalist’s role may be less common knowledge but no less vital to a child’s care.
Bronwyn Carlson, MD, a pediatric hospitalist and the acute care pediatrics medical director at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, helps explain.
Whereas general pediatricians usually spend the majority of their time providing care for children in an outpatient setting, pediatric hospitalists care for children who are hospitalized with various illnesses, Carlson says.
“We provide a breadth of treatments for hospitalized children, from procedures and medication management to care coordination for acute illness and chronic disease with acute flares,” she says. “We also care for kids who are technology dependent and need machines called ventilators to help them breathe or surgically place tubes in their stomach to feed them.”
Pediatric hospitalists communicate directly with a child’s primary pediatrician when a child is hospitalized to ensure the continuation of care. Carlson says pediatric hospitalists are generally accessible 24 hours a day.
She says patients benefit from pediatric hospitalists due to their specialization in care for hospitalized kids. “This allows us to focus our attention on staying up to date on the latest guidelines and treatments for this patient population, leading to improved patient care. We also know the larger hospital system in detail, which allows us to streamline the care that is provided.”
A pediatric hospitalist team is a special group of individuals who bring more than just their medical expertise to Children’s Hospital.
“We are a friendly, intelligent, caring, passionate group of doctors,” Carlson says. “We work well together and enjoy working with the other team members, such as subspecialists, including the ER and ICU, nursing, case management, and social work. We love what we do, and it shows in the care we provide for the children in our community.”
Carlson says she finds being a pediatric hospitalist incredibly rewarding. “The most rewarding part is seeing the transformation in my patients from when I first meet them until they go home.”
Carlson says she would like parents to know there is a whole, dedicated team that works together to care for their kids at Children’s Hospital. “We have nursing staff, case managers who help with planning for discharge, social work[ers] who help with providing extra resources, subspecialist physicians, and speech, occupational, and physical therapists.” She adds, “You will likely meet one of our many learners. We have medical students who spend time learning pediatrics with us and residents who are training to become pediatricians. Ultimately, the hospitalist leads this team in providing the best care for your child.”