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March 2012, Volume 42 Number 3 , p 15 - 15



In the hospital where I just started working, my nurse colleagues have told me to call the hospitalist-not the patient's primary care provider (PCP)-if I have a question about a prescription or if a patient's condition requires medical attention. They say they'll talk with the nursing supervisor too, but they never call a patient's PCP directly, leaving that for the hospitalist or supervisor to handle if necessary.My colleagues say this system works fine, but it's new to me. Wouldn't I be taking a legal risk if I contacted the hospitalist about another healthcare provider's conflicting or confusing order instead of contacting that provider directly?-D.K., TEX.Our consultant, a nurse administrator in a large hospital system, says that the situation you describe isn't unusual. If the hospitalist is the covering physician for the PCP after hours (or at any other designated time during the patient's admission) and that's the hospitalist's recognized role according to facility policy and procedure,

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