Collaboration, Education, & Expertise: The Role of a Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner

A photo of Rebecca Graziano, CNP of South Shore Hospital, wearing a white lab coat and scrubs.
Rebecca Graziano, CNP has been a hospitalist at South Shore Health since 2016.

Hospitalists play a key role in modern medicine, providing inpatient care while coordinating testing and treatments to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

At South Shore Health, we have a terrific hospitalist team made up of physicians (MDs and DOs), physician assistants (PAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) – including Rebecca Graziano, CNP.

Rebecca, who lives in Scituate, is a nurse practitioner who cares for patients on South Shore Hospital’s inpatient floors.

After spending the early part of her career seeing patients in a primary care setting, Rebecca found herself looking to experience a different side of medicine.

She joined South Shore Health’s hospitalist team in 2016.

“The hospitalist group has really grown in that time, which is nice to see,” she said. “We have a really good group that works together.”

Similar to a primary care setting, a hospitalist NP works collaboratively with an attending physician to provide care.

Because our hospitalists care for most of the Hospital’s admitted patients, the team encounters a variety of different conditions on a daily basis – ranging from sudden, high-acuity illness to flare-ups of a chronic condition.

While this can be challenging, it’s something Rebecca embraces.

“One of the good things about our team is our compassion, wanting to hold the patient’s hand and guide them through a difficult time,” she said. “It’s really rewarding to have someone come in so sick and get them to a more stable place.”

Nurse practitioners as trusted educators

Hospitalist NPs are involved in day-to-day management of a patient’s care, including monitoring symptoms and ordering tests.

In addition, NPs often assume the crucial role of educator, helping patients understand what they’re experiencing and getting at the “why” behind their treatment.

“We really spend a lot of time with the patients and their families, often handling the education piece,” Rebecca explained. “If a patient understands what something was doing and why it was working, they’re more likely to follow through, as opposed to something they don’t understand.”

Along with educating patients, Rebecca and our hospitalist NPs work with a patient’s family or support system to help them understand what the patient needs and what the next steps may be after the patient is discharged.

The goal is to help patients and loved ones understand what the patient needs to get well and stay well.

“We’re always looking towards the next step,” Rebecca said. “We get you better from the acute phase, but then what does it look like?”

“How do you stay out of the acute phase? How can we transition you to the next step so that you can get back to your normal life?”

Through education, planning, and collaboration, our hospitalist NPs help reduce the risk of readmission by ensuring that patients and their loved ones are as prepared as possible upon discharge.

Embracing communication and a team approach to patient care

As part of a patient’s larger care team, Rebecca and our other hospitalist NPs embrace the concept of a team approach, collaborating with other groups to get the best results for patients.

“We try to have really good communication with the whole team: not just MDs, but also therapists, case managers, consultants, specialists, and others.” she said. “Unless we’re all communicating towards the same goal, we’re never going to get there.”

Part of that communication includes daily rounds each morning, where hospitalists, nurses, case managers, therapists, and other caregivers get together to discuss the day’s patients and identify any specific needs or challenges.

Those rounds, Rebecca said, help ensure that the team starts each day on the same page and makes it easier to coordinate care between various groups.

“We truly are a team,” she stressed. “I couldn’t do my job without the nurses, the therapists, the case managers. We need all the parts working together to get the best outcomes.”

Quality care, close to home

As a resident of the South Shore, Graziano is proud to work for her local health system and to provide care for members of her community.

“We’re lucky that we have such a good hospital in our backyard,” she said. “People are able to get such good care.”

For Rebecca and the rest of the hospitalist team, the mission is simple: provide people with the care they need, right in their community.

“We’re here for you,” she said. “We’re here to support you through a really hard time and we want you to get well.”