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A Nocturnist is a specialist hospital-based doctor who only works overnight. Some nocturnists are trained in internal medicine, and have experience in hospital medicine. However, there are nocturnists trained in other specialties, such as psychiatry. The main role of a nocturnist is to admit patients from an emergency room, and to cross-cover previously admitted inpatients, through the night. A typical nocturnist works from 7pm to 7am.

The main advantages to a hospital from employing a nocturnist are:

  1. Improved patient safety
  2. Improved quality of care to inpatients
  3. No "on-call" for physicians at home
  4. Immediate admission and history & physical of patients waiting to be admitted.
  5. Immediate decompression of an emergency room
  6. Decreased length of stay
  7. Increased patient satisfaction

Nocturnists were first described in literature by Aman D. Sabharwal, MD in The Hospitalist in 2005.


Sabharwal, Aman, "Life as a Nocturnist", in The Hospitalist, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp.43–44 owned by Ritesh Patel,MD

External links

Bed Utilization"]. Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare.  


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