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Factors that impact staffing for an ER physician schedule

Posted on 2/22/2017 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles
Emergency rooms are integral parts of the healthcare system. The ER is a department that has needs that are stretched on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis. Ensuring ER staffing and services are operational around the clock, 365 days a year is a crucial aspect of maximizing patient care. Consequently, the efficient utilization and allocation of physicians, nurses and other medical staff is perhaps one of the most important issues ER administrators must deal with daily.

People from all walks of life and with any manner of illnesses and injuries arrive daily at the ER. There are vastly complex and differing diagnoses, treatments and sometimes immense volumes of patients. This further compounds staff scheduling. It’s imperative to always have a full complement of physicians and nurses with a vast array of specialties and experience working at any one time.

Additionally, there are other factors that impact staffing for an ER physician schedule. These include:


It’s a fact that an emergency department that’s located in a big city is easier to find staff for than a rural ER in the middle of nowhere. The city will likely have several emergency medicine training programs, many nice places to live, and a proliferation of graduates who want to live and work in the area. Contrast this with a relatively small town in the country with an emergency department that’s crying out for good, qualified staff.

Nature of Department Center

The nature of the department matters too. For example, a stroke or heart center may have specific operational performance standards to adhere to. For example, a 30-minute waiting room guarantee. This will significantly impact the staffing you need.

If you run a major trauma center, so too, the shift scheduling is more complex than if you run a minor trauma center where there is less of a risk to human life.

Reasonable Workload for Facility

Emergency medicine scheduling is extremely complicated as the ER is a 24 hours-a-day department. You need to take various aspects into account therefore, including:

Physician and nurse preferencesLegal and work constraintsVacation timeQuality of service, and so onAccess to On-Call SpecialistsArguably one of the most crucial aspects of any ER is to have access to a variety of on-call specialists for physician scheduling at any one time. No one can ever predict what 24 hours in the ER will be like. Therefore, there must be a well-rounded team of on-call specialists consistently available.

Bear in mind that there is no single correct approach that can be utilized within every ER. However, certain elements are essential for the smooth running of your department and physician scheduling is one of them.

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