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Tips to prepare for emergency medicine holiday scheduling

Posted on 1/1/2020 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

There isn't anything typical about emergency medicine scheduling for physicians. Multiple factors drive the ER staffing model. Your hospital could use overlapping, or anything from single to triple coverage or more.

Not only is every hospital different, but every doctor has their own preferences for their schedule. Doctor preferences combined with the ER staffing model can be a potential physician scheduling nightmare without preparing in advance. However, below are some tips to help improve your scheduling process for your doctors all year round, but particularly during the holiday season.

1. Provider Scheduling Best Practices

Some best practices you can follow for the shift scheduling process are:

- Limit consecutive night shifts to no more than a few shifts scheduled together
- No more than 32 hours a week or 32 hours per doctor
- Weekends off should consist of a minimum of a couple of consecutive days off, with no prior night shift
- Limit the same type of shifts fairly among all doctors (with the exclusion of locums Tenens/part-time doctors)
- Avoid short turnaround times (less than 12 hours) between shifts
- Consider shorter night shifts (eight to 10 hours) for higher volume hospitals
- If possible, forward shift rotations going from day to mid/swing to evenings

2. Request Preferences for Scheduling

Many ER physicians appreciate having the ability to balance their work and life like everyone else. This is why it's important you know and implement their preferences for scheduling into the schedule. It's also imperative for provider productivity and retention. While it's not always feasible to accommodate all preferences, depending on whether or not the ER is staffed fully and your particular staffing model, it's still essential you accommodate specific preferences so your doctors don't get burned out.

3. Prepare for Vacations and Other Breaks

Spring break, summer vacations and holidays don't have to be a total disaster. At times, it seems like everybody wants the same time off, but the ER department needs to continue operating 24/7. But, every holiday doesn't mean the same thing or have the same significance to every doctor. To manage the schedule effectively, begin early to prepare the schedule for vacations.

4. Use Hospital Scheduling Software

With all your ER department's complexities, it's best to use physician scheduling software:

- Minimize hassles
- Save time
- Obtain time-off requests
- Communicate with doctors effectively
- Allow doctors to swap shifts between each other
- Allow doctors to pick up shifts
- Allow doctors to give away shifts

With emergency medicine scheduling software, all these things can be done with just a click of a button, streamlining your entire scheduling process.

Scheduling software can organize and create a schedule in mere minutes. Even larger schedules that normally take 40 hours to create manually just may take only 10 minutes or less to generate when you use the software. It takes doctors' time-off requests and preferences into account while using the most out of doctors’ availability. And, while it may take a little time at first to set up parameters in the software, it's well worth it.

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