Hospitalists are internal medicine physicians who work in hospitals only. Hospitalists typically work on a shift schedule. Hospitalists who work as nocturnists are responsible for taking the night shift, usually 7pm to 7am or 5pm to 5am. In many cases, nocturnists are compensated a bit more than traditional day-shift hospitalists.
Nocturnists help provide quality patient care during critical overnight hours when, historically, not many physicians were available onsite. Nocturnists allow hospital patients to be cared for around the clock. If you are open to working nights only, as a physician, then a career as a nocturnist may be an option for you.