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Does emergency physician scheduling software help with ER doctor burnout

Posted on 5/6/2015 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

The only things typical about an ER doctor’s day are pressure, quick decision making, and change. The average day doesn’t exist because each one is so different. Those that are attracted to this field of medicine thrive on the hard-driving pace, life-and-death urgency, and constant demands, in addition to helping people get well.

High Burnout Rates

But even ER physicians can burn out. In fact, the rate is three times than that for doctors in other fields. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, more than 65% of ER doctors said they were suffering symptoms of burnout.

This isn’t stopping students at medical schools from vying to fill ER residencies, so the field is well staffed. But problems arise regularly at individual hospitals that must work around the emotional, mental, and physical fatigue of their ER physicians.

What Causes Burnout?

In the ER field, burnout rates are so high partly because doctors have little control over their day. Though the relentless pace and the variety are part of what attracted them to the work, they also are major contributors to the problem. The doctors have erratic schedules, don’t pick their patients, can’t control their workloads, and are unable to limit the emotional toll the job takes.

ER doctors work shifts, which usually rotate through the year. This makes it more challenging to establish a work-to-life balance. Family time is affected and sleep schedules are disrupted.

Shift work has been listed as a cause for a number of ailments, including: Diabetes, Heart disease, Depression, Breast cancer, and Substance abuse.

The results of this constant pressure and loss of control over their lives has resulted in physicians leaving medicine completely, retiring early or switching to another field of practice.

Scheduling Software Helps

It’s not all doom and gloom however. Advanced emergency medicine scheduling software can handle a myriad number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when putting together a schedule. It makes it simpler to factor in the needs of:

- Patient care
- Hospital regulations for staffing skills and number
- Personal needs of doctors

The right healthcare schedule maker is easy to operate and can handle changes quickly. New schedules are uploaded and ready for viewing immediately. No one is caught by surprise. 

The use of physician scheduling tools, like shift scheduling software, restores a certain level of control to an ER doctor. He can easily communicate with the schedule manager, letting her know when he wants to take vacation time, if he is sick, and when he needs time for important family events.

Shift scheduling can sometimes be erratic, with a few doctors taking on the majority of unwanted shifts. The software lets the schedule manager get an accurate overview of who is working which shifts. She can then redistribute them, making the workload more balanced and reducing resentment.

Dealing with the root causes of emergency room physician burnout results in better patient care and doctors with a sense of purpose and control of their lives. Emergency physician scheduling software does its part by factoring in the personal needs of each doctor, making it easier to maintain a better work-to-life balance.

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