Letter from the Editor

Some of this issue's topics include ethics in the hospital, diagnosis and treatment of hypercalcemia, and compassion fatigue.

When considering ethics in hospital medicine, it's natural to think first about matters related to palliative care, such as informed consent and surrogate decision making. Yet many other, less obvious issues are equally important. Several of these, such as stewardship of resources and effective communication with colleagues, crop up every single day in hospitalist practice. The recently released sixth edition of the ACP Ethics Manual addresses these and other subjects, and served as a guide to our cover story about how to be an ethical hospitalist.

Sometimes the stress of being an ethical, empathetic hospitalist can be too much…and compassion fatigue sets in. Our feature story discusses strategies to deal with this condition—a common liability in caretaking professions.

Hospitalists endeavor to give all patients the attention they deserve, but their busy schedules sometimes preclude doctors from spending quality time at the bedside. Our Perspectives contributors have devised a system and checklist for making bedside visits meaningful and effective, and improving patient satisfaction to boot.

In our clinical coverage this month, we examine the most likely manifestations of inpatient hypercalcemia —and how to treat it. Meanwhile, our coding column discusses how to document and code for functional quadriplegia.

What are some tools you use to improve patient care, or to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed by the emotional demands of the job? Please share your thoughts any time by writing to us.

Jessica Berthold Editor
ACP Hospitalist