New hospitalist starts at health center

Jodie Grout is the Jefferson County Health Center?s hospitalist, a new position that was created a month ago.

A hospitalist is a general practitioner who works exclusively in the hospital as opposed to the clinic. Grout makes her rounds throughout the hospital in the morning, checking on all the patients. She sometimes checks on them in the afternoon if they need extra attention.

Checking on patients every morning was once the responsibility of clinic physicians. The health center hired a hospitalist so the physicians could spend more time seeing patients in the clinic.

The patients Grout sees tend to be sicker than those the physicians see in the clinic.

?The patients in the hospital need to be closely monitored, as opposed to someone who goes to the clinic for a sore throat or common cold,? she said. ?A hospitalized patient needs to stay overnight because their blood pressure might be low or they?re running a fever.?

When a patient is ready to leave, Grout discharges them either to their home or to a skilled facility depending on their circumstance.

What?s the most rewarding part of the job? Grout said it?s that she never lives the same day twice. She also mentioned that she likes conquering the challenges the job offers.

?Some days can be tough, like when you notice a patient you?ve seen for weeks decline,? she said. ?You become attached to them, and it?s hard to see them in that state.?


Patients first

The health center prides itself on patient-centered care. Sometimes, Grout encounters a patient or family member who resists the physician?s suggestion. In the end, the patient has the final say over their care.

?We provide recommendations, but we can?t force patients to follow those recommendations,? Grout said. ?Patients are in charge.?

Grout has been a hospitalist and nurse practitioner for four years. Before that, she worked in an intensive care unit and in a surgical unit. About the only thing she hasn?t done in a hospital is deliver a baby.


Early years

Grout grew up in Kalona, then obtained her bachelor?s degree from Coe College. She obtained her master?s and is working on her doctorate from the University of Colorado in Denver, where she lived for 18 years.

Why did she become a hospitalist? Grout worked some clinical hours with the hospitalist/nurse practitioner at the University of Colorado, and really enjoyed it.

The university was the first in the country to offer a hospitalist/nurse practitioner fellowship, and Grout participated in its inaugural program.

?I really enjoyed the practicum and that one-year fellowship,? she said. ?I worked in an out-patient setting for two years, but I really wanted to work for a hospitalist team. I found one four years ago, and have been doing it ever since.?

Grout said she might not be alone in her office much longer. That?s because the health center is contemplating hiring a second hospitalist from such high demand for the service.