John W. Watford, M.D.

Baptist Medical Group - Hospitalists

Dr. John W. Watford is an experienced physician with Baptist’s hospitalist program. Hospitalists such as Dr. Watford are physicians who are exclusively devoted to caring for patients while they are in the hospital. They work with primary care physicians and specialists to provide skilled and compassionate care throughout their hospital stay.

Medical Education
The University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
Portland, OR

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
Portland, OR

Carraway Methodist Medical Center
Birmingham, AL

Professional Memberships 
American College of Physicians
American Society of Bioethics and Humanities
Society of Hospital Medicine

Additional Information Hospitalists are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to provide patients with ongoing and immediate care in the hospital. They assess and treat medical conditions, coordinate hospital care and may consult specialists to assist with patient care as needed. They do not accept appointments.

Meet your Doctor

What led you to become a doctor or choose your focus of medicine?
I became the first physician in my family after shifting career focus from engineering and design to life sciences. Hospital medicine is very dynamic and offers me the opportunity to help people who are severely ill and need care urgently.

What about your line of work do you find most rewarding and why?
The unexpected. Most patients for whom I care have chronic diseases that can be stabilized with proven, evidence-based practices. But sometimes we find creative ways to deliver proven therapies or discover a small but significant piece of information about the patient or their illness that makes a big difference.

How would a patient describe you? I think most of my patients would describe me as a kind, patient listener and an effective physician.

What’s your proudest moment as a doctor?
I feel proudest when functioning as part of team to achieve a challenging goal. A patient of mine in an outlying hospital was very near death and extremely difficult to stabilize enough to transfer to a specialty center by air. When we watched the helicopter lift off and learned she made it to the other facility and eventually discharged home, the nurses and I were relieved, excited, and proud.

In your opinion, what’s the most important factor in a doctor-patient relationship?
Effective communication and empathy. Physicians have to be able to set aside bias and do their best to understand the patient’s perspective.

What can a patient expect when they have you as a doctor?
Patients can expect to be cared for by a well-trained, board-certified, and experienced physician who has practiced hospital-based medicine for his entire career.

What do you find most encouraging about the work you do?
It’s easy to lose perspective given how complex our healthcare system has become. My patients are members of the community that I live in, and each of them needs the best care I can deliver. In that sense, being a doctor really is a privilege.

What are your top priorities with every patient you see?
SAFETY, effective communication, and delivery of the most beneficial care.

Describe one of the top ways you ensure each patient receives the quality, personal health care he/she deserves.
Communicating with every patient’s nurse, preferably at the bedside, during rounds is essential to “situational awareness” and always facilitates a more complete picture of how the patient is feeling and of their concerns since I saw them last. Part of that team approach includes making sure the patient and their loved ones know that I am available and actively working to treat the patient and achieve the most appropriate disposition every day. All of my patients are hospital patients.

Is there anything more or extra you would like prospective patients to know about you?
I’ve been fortunate to live in different kinds of places in the U.S. and abroad — and every time I visit Pensacola, I feel more and more at home. It’s an experience rooted in many family trips and connections made over the years. My family and I are truly excited to finally be part of the community.

Do you have any specific medical interests? Very little about medicine is uninteresting, and the nature of our work requires us to be facile with most areas of inpatient medicine that are non-surgical. I have also been fortunate to partner closely with an experienced Clinical Ethicist and to chair the Ethics Committee of my prior institution. I hope to continue to build on that experience during my practice with Baptist Medical Group.