Reading between the lines of this story in ADVANCDE for Nurses, The Methodist Hospital in Houston is using nurse practitioners as an alternative to hospitalists. The problems at Methodist are common - attending physicians are frequently unavailable and higher patient acuity on nursing units. Rather than using hospitalists, Methodist uses nurse practitioners to support caregivers. The program has been a great success. By facilitating faster interventions, patient outcomes have been improved.

...shortening patient stays, lowering
complication rates and providing conveniences for physicians,
especially in the late-night or weekend hours, said Michelle Williams,
NP, interim director of the program.

Attending physicians, whose support is essential to the program's success, like the reduced number of interruptions that are now handled by nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners also serve on the hospital's Clinical
Emergency Response Team, which is on call 24x7 to rush to a patient's bedside, perform an assessment, and begin early
interventions. The teams consist of one nurse practitioner, a
respiratory therapist and an EKG technician.

Pictured right:  Charlene Tharp, a UT nurse practitioner student, talks with Dr.
Michael Cromer. Tharp worked under Cromer’s supervision while earning
clinical hours at Northwest Family Medical Center in Tampa. From The University of Tampa.