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Nepalese doctors navigate culture — and weather — in South Dakota

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Rapid City Journal
2011 July 5
The days of a family physician admitting and then treating his patient in the hospital may be coming to an end. Replacing that practice is the growing trend toward hospitalists, doctors whose sole job is to care for patients who have been admitted to the hospital. From 1995 to 2006, hospitalists in the United States jumped from 5.9 percent to 19 percent of physicians, according to a University of Texas Medical Branch study. While opponents of the practice lament the loss of the family physician/patient relationship in hospital situations, proponents tout the trend as a good thing for medicine. It allows doctors to perform tests and read results at a much more efficient pace, speeding up the treatment and release of patients, said Stacey Schaefer with the Rapid City Regional Hospitalist program. It also relieves doctors in private practice from being “on-call” and ensures that hospital patients have a doctor caring for them 24 hours a day.
Regional’s hospitalist program has 18 hospitalists, six nocturnists (hospitalists who work at night) and four certified nurse practitioners.
On a warm afternoon in June, Drs. Saroj Subedi and Pushpa Poudel take a break from seeing patients to munch on caramel corn and talk about home.
The physicians are two of four hospitalists from the South Asian country of Nepal now working in Rapid City Regional Hospital’s hospitalist program. They are joined by Drs. Keshav Panday and Basanta Pathak. In July, two more Nepalese physicians will join the hospitalist staff.
The six Nepalese hospitalists — specialists who care for patients in the hospital — aren’t part of any specific program, said Kristi Gylten, director of the hospitalist program. Instead, the men developed friendships both in medical school in Nepal and during their New York City residency programs. Those friendships prompted them to stick together when it came time to choose jobs in the United States.

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