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Five actions to take for better ER scheduling

Posted on 10/9/2019 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

There's nothing typical about emergency medicine scheduling. Multiple factors drive the ER staffing model. This could mean your ER has anywhere from single doctor coverage to overlapping doctor coverage or more.

Not only is your hospital different from the next, but each of your physicians has their own schedule preferences. Physician scheduling preferences along with the ER staffing model can turn into a potential scheduling nightmare if you're not properly prepared in advance. Below are five actions you can take to better your ER scheduling process.

Actions to Take for a Better ER Scheduling Process

1. Confirm Requirements

The last thing you want to happen while you create the ER schedule is to find out the expectations or requirements have changed. This could lead to disjointed decision-making and lost time, which both work against your goal of a timely and fair schedule. It's important to confirm the accuracy of this information with everyone involved. By taking these additional steps prior to starting the schedule, it creates a clear end goal and confidence, while also minimizes the number of changes you'll need to make later on.

Some potential requirements you should consider are:

- Time off requirements
- Call/rotation requirements
- Important dates (i.e. events, conferences, holidays) to workaround
- Maximum number of shifts/hours to be worked within a specific period

2. Schedule Vacation Requests in Advance

Your physicians work hard and deserve to enjoy a little time off. When handling the shift scheduling, schedule far enough in advance so all your physicians can request their family vacations or other time off requests with no problem. You need to cultivate the environment where your staff knows they can take these vacations and this will lead to a happier more productive staff.

3. Schedule Fairly

You shouldn't schedule any physician for more than five days in a row. And, your physicians should receive a minimum of 12 hours off between each of their shifts. You should also distribute weekend shifts evenly. Allow only a maximum of eight days time-off requests each month per physician of which only four can be weekend days.

5. Schedule Undesirable Shifts First

You can reduce the number of changes you must make later and also increase physician satisfaction by being transparent with them about the types of shifts they're required to work as well as the more desirable shifts. When you schedule the undesirable or mandatory shifts first, it makes it simpler to assign them fairly and keep track of them in a manner that allows your physicians to appreciate your efforts made with regard to work-life balance and fairness.

5. Use ER Scheduling Software

With all the complexities of ER scheduling, it's best to use a shift scheduling software to:

- Minimize hassles
- Save time
- Obtain time off requests
- Communicate effectively with your staff

It also allows physicians to give away shifts, switch shifts between one another or pick up shifts, all automatically with just a click of a button.

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