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Shift scheduling software and emergency physicians well-being

Posted on 2/25/2014 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) strongly believes that having a environment for emergency physicians that is supportive, equitable, and fair is in the best interests of each and every patient. Moreover, the well-being of the physician is also of fundamental importance not only for the successfulness of the emergency physician’s career in emergency medicine, but also the longevity of such career. One area that can adversely impact the well-being of emergency physicians is shift scheduling.

Working night turn, weekend shifts, and rotating shifts is nothing new in emergency medicine. It is the nature of the field and is considered part of the job of most emergency physicians. At some point, though, whether the medical personnel is new emergency medicine resident or a seasoned emergency room physician, the stress of working shifts that are not scheduled equitably can take its toll on the employee’s health, alertness, performance, and overall well-being.

The good news is that today there is a something that you, an emergency medicine scheduling manager or administrator, can do to make shift scheduling less of a burden for you and less stressful for your emergency medicine personnel.

For novices, experienced tech users, and everyone in between, multi-functionality shift scheduling software makes developing shift schedules for emergency medicine both easy and efficient. Besides having specialized scheduling software to create fair and equitable work schedules for many physicians across multiple medical facilities, the schedules can be viewed online, making it easier to know who is working where at any given time and from any given location.

Another great benefit of shift schedule software for emergency medicine is that it enables you to quickly adjust shifts, whether to split a shift, add coverage, or fill a sudden open shift. It also helps you schedule multiple facilities concurrently and incorporate shift swaps easily.

Physicians also love shift scheduling software as the scheduling software takes into account preferences and time off requests, in addition to creating schedules that are efficient, equitable, and fair. Because long hours and rotating schedules in a 24/7 staffing environment are par for the course, it can lead to sleep deprivation and physician burnout. Physicians’ appreciate that a software tool can improve their work and personal life balance. They also have fewer frustrations, knowing that overcrowding or staff shortages are minimized, while least desirable shifts are being scheduled ratably.

To help improve emergency physician’s wellbeing, the American College of Emergency Physicians recommends that scheduling should be carried out according to circadian rhythms. That means, for night shifts for example, either long stretches of night shifts or a isolated night shift is advised. In addition, the ACEP recommends that shift scheduling should take into account each physician’s age, as well as non-clinical duties and the volume of the emergency department.

The bad news is incorporating all of these moving parts inherent in emergency medical scheduling using pen and paper or even a spreadsheet program like Excel is cumbersome, time-consuming, and prone to error making. The good news, on the other hand, is that physician scheduling software is easy-to-use, and makes incorporating all of these factors straightforward and manageable. More importantly, it helps to focus on the well-being of each and every emergency physician.

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