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Seven physician shift scheduling blunders and how to avoid them

Posted on 3/9/2022 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles
Shift scheduling in an emergency medical department is far more complicated than it appears. Emergency medicine scheduling requires a lot of mental energy and effort, from managing overtime hours to making the proper decisions about who and when. However, the results are worth it.

Here are seven physician shift scheduling blunders and how to avoid them:

1) Inadequate backup staff

When it comes to physician scheduling, you must have staff on standby that can take over the duty should some personnel be unavailable. Backup staff availability helps you ensure that work continues, no matter who is absent.

2) Peak-hour understaffing

Every business is aware of that period when engagement is highest, such as (in the ER) the high rate of accidents during the summer when schools are on holidays. The sole method to tackle this issue is to have extra personnel available. Not planning for this will be a disaster, not just for the customers but also for the staff. Customers might be discouraged from coming back, which can lead to medical personnel burnout.

3) Using Pen and Paper or Excel to Schedule Physicians

Still using whiteboards, notice boards, and Excel spreadsheets as physician schedulers? Then it's time to upgrade. This can result in free hours, lower labor costs, and more profit.

Scheduling software makes creating and sharing physician scheduling practically a breeze. Most emergency physician scheduling software programs have simple features which are easy to understand, yet are robust to do what you need.

4) Last-Minute Scheduling

In the ER, last-minute scheduling will definitely increase tension for both you and your staff, and a tense atmosphere is not conducive for ER work.

It is best to organize schedules early to allow your personnel time to prepare. Scheduling at the last minute will only result in unnecessary errors and frustrations for all parties involved.

5) Inadequate shift notification

Publishing shift schedules only three or five days before is not sufficient notice; at least two weeks should suffice. It gives employees the freedom to make plans and preparations for family care and routines. Although mistakes could happen sometimes, they shouldn't be consistent.

6) Long shift scheduling

Sometimes, specific staff are assigned long shifts. This is detrimental to the sleep patterns of medical staff. Long shifts exacerbate sleep difficulties, a common feature in the medical field. Disruptive sleep can aggravate sadness and cause damage to an employee's mental health.

7) Favoritism

Favoritism is a common scheduling error in ER. And this is only because certain staff are better in specific roles.

While scheduling top employees in specific shifts is sensible, it is critical to avoid assigning these same individuals only the most beneficial working shifts.


Scheduling software can solve every one of these problems with ease. Software makes our work easier and faster, and it would be unwise not to incorporate systems that earn your healthcare organization money, make work more efficient, improve patient care and satisfaction. So, why not employ scheduling software?

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