UCSF is the first academic teaching hospital in the nation to employ surgical hospitalists: doctors who are dedicated to evaluating patients in the ED, as well as those on inpatient wards who need a surgical consultation, and then caring for patients after surgery. Under the surgical hospitalist model, three full-time, board-certified general surgeons provide coverage on a rotating weekly basis, dedicating all of their time to emergency and inpatient consults. Surgical hospitalists lead daily rounds, care for surgical inpatients and consults, and evaluate patients in the ED.
The program also enables surgical faculty to be more available to oversee and teach the residents, nurse practitioners, and medical students who staff the hospitalist service.This has helped to fulfill the traditional academic hospital mission to educate medical students and residents while delivering optimal and timely patient care. An important benefit has been increased resident supervision on both the wards and in the operating room, as noted in the survey of ED physicians. See: The surgical hospitalist: a new model for emergency surgical care.
The program has strengthened the commitment of the Department of Surgery to surgical education, and has addressed the challenges in fragmentation and continuity of resident education after the introduction of the 80-hour workweek. Although concerns have been raised about house staff learning under such a model, results suggest (see above) that house staff values the real-time contact with faculty surgeons and the role modeling of timely and professional care.