Letter from the editor

The American Board of Medical Specialties last fall began offering board certification in palliative care, opening up an exciting new career path for hospitalists. What's more, qualified physicians can take the exam in 2010 and 2012 without first doing a palliative care fellowship. Palliative care can be a good fit for hospitalists who have already developed sophisticated communication skills and experience working with complicated, chronic co-morbidities. In our cover story, Stacey Butterfield talks to experts about the growth of palliative care programs and fellowships across the country, and the steps you need to take to get certified.

If you've ever found yourself spending more time running from floor to floor than actually talking with your patients on rounds, you'll be interested in our second feature. More hospitals are implementing an assignment tool known as “geographic rounding,” where hospitalists are assigned to cover patients on a by-unit basis. Benefits include more opportunities for multidisciplinary rounding, while downsides include isolation and overwork. Writer Beth Thomas Hertz takes a closer look at this trend and talks to doctors at facilities where it worked, and those where it didn't.

Hyponatremic encephalopathy is a medical emergency, but physicians don't always recognize it quickly enough to provide successful treatment. In our latest Expert Analysis, Michael L. Moritz, MD, and Juan Carlos Ayus, FACP, offer tips for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of this life-threatening disorder.

Finally, I'd like to thank my colleagues for their wonderful job producing the magazine during my recent maternity leave. You're hearing from me for the first time in a while; now I'd like to hear from you. As always, we're very interested in learning more about what our readers want to see in these pages. Email us your thoughts and suggestions.

Jennifer Kearney-Strouse
Editor, ACP Hospitalist