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What are the types of rotating schedules

Posted on 2/17/2021 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

There are primarily two main types of work schedules: Fixed schedules and rotating schedules. A fixed schedule is where you work the same shift every week (i.e. 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, for example). A rotating schedule is where you're working shifts on a rotational basis (i.e. one week you'll work 5 pm to 1 am and then next week you'll work 8 am to 5 pm).

With emergency medicine scheduling in hospitals, rotating schedules are common and it's important to learn the different types and best practices.

Types of Rotating Schedules

There are a few variations to rotating schedules aside from the night-to-day switch. Some rotating schedules change by the day, others by the week. Some common rotating physician scheduling options are:

1. The DuPont Shift

You work a 12-hour shift in a:

• 4 shifts on/3 days off
• 3 shifts on/1 day off
• 3 shifts on/3 days off
• 4 shifts on/7 days off

2. The Pitman Shift

This type of rotating schedule is where workers get every other weekend off, usually made up of 12-hour shifts in a pattern that looks like this:

• 2 shifts on/2 days off
• 3 shifts on/2 days off
• 2 shifts on/3 days off

3. The 2-2-3-2 2-3 rotating shift

This is a Pitman schedule variation that uses 12 hours shifts with a pattern of:

• 2 shifts on/2 shifts off
• 3 shifts on/2 shifts off
• 2 shifts on/3 shifts off
• and so forth

Once you complete the cycle, you'll swap days to nights and vice versa.

Benefits of Rotating Schedules

The biggest advantage of rotating schedules for organizations that need coverage 24 hours a day and 7 days a week is the fair distribution of desirable ― and undesirable shifts. Other benefits include workers getting more exposure to vendors, managers, partners, etc, and employees get to perform a variety of tasks. There’s also more uniform productivity and round-the-clock coverage for patients, with the ability to offer highly skilled employees to patients at any point during the day or night.

Disadvantages of Rotating Schedules

Of course, rotating schedules do have their drawbacks. Many employees simply like the structure and stability of fixed schedules. Some don’t want to ever work weekends, night shifts, or holidays. It can also be difficult in terms of sleep schedules, child responsibilities, and more to have work schedules that change.

Best Practices for Implementing Rotating Schedules

Generating a successful shift scheduling rotating schedule really relies on following some best practices, which include:

• Enough time between shifts to allow for a full cycle of sleep
• Consistent start/end times for all shifts during the same week
• Over-communication of shift changes and scheduling
• Real-time access to schedules and scheduling changes
• Scheduling with enough advanced notice
• Flexible arrangements and shift swapping opportunities

Using physician scheduling software can help enhance transparency and make processing shift changes easier. Emergency medicine scheduling software keeps your doctors accountable by keeping the shift preferences, schedules, and communication all in one place. You’ll want to work with this scheduling software, and find the best practices that work best for your hospital and employees.

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