Dual Work as Hospitalist, Internal Medicine Provider Benefits Gritman Patients
On some days, Dr. Christopher Bullard sees every patient admitted to Gritman Medical Center.
One of our “hospitalists,” Dr. Bullard rounds with admitted patients on any number of conditions—including pneumonia, infections, gastrointestinal distress, heart problems and COVID-19.
“We take care of the people who are sick and in the hospital, and then we work to get them stable and safe and back out of the hospital,” he said.
The hospitalist appointment complements Dr. Bullard’s primary position at Gritman Medical Center. Dr. Bullard treats adult primary care and patients with chronic and complex medical conditions as a physician with Gritman Internal Medicine.
But one week a month, he supplements that role with care as a hospitalist to patients who need care around-the-clock.
Hospitalists are on duty 24/7 when they’re on shift and Dr. Bullard has seen as many as 16 patients in a day for any number of conditions. Some patients need hourly check-ins and a more advanced level of care while he sees others with less severe cases at least once a day to check for progress on individual treatment plans.
“This morning, I transferred a sick patient up to Kootenai Health,” he said on one recent hospital shift. “I’ve rounded and seen all my patients and I’m working on discharging the ones who are safe and stable to go home.”
Each day begins when Dr. Bullard meets with an interdisciplinary team of health care workers—respiratory therapists, surgeons, dieticians, nurses and anyone else who might be handling patient care in the hospital. That’s followed by rounding with each patient, follow-ups, documentation, as well as admission of anyone new.
Dr. Bullard does go home to sleep, but is available and on call whenever an existing patient needs care or a new patient is admitted during the overnight hours.
The care is not too far off from work Dr. Bullard does with Gritman Internal Medicine, treating complex and chronic medical issues for patients here in downtown Moscow. Dr. Bullard treats inpatient adult medicine, complex outpatient adult medicine and chronic conditions at the clinic—directly across the street from the hospital.
“I’m happy to take care of anybody and if I can’t do it, I’ll find the place that can,” he said.
The dual roles create a consistent environment for existing Gritman patients and allow him to diagnose and treat any number of conditions, each with the goal of sending his patients home to recuperate in more familiar surroundings.
Relatively new to the Gritman system, Dr. Bullard has been impressed with his team in all aspects of his position.
“Everybody seems to be very good at their jobs, good at communication, good at working together,” Dr. Bullard said. “I feel well-supported. I see a good variety of cases and everyone is eager to help.”
Pictured at top: Internal medicine physician Dr. Christopher Bullard treats admitted hospital patients one week a month as a member of Gritman’s hospitalist team.
Learn more about navigating your hospital stay at the Gritman Online Clinic.