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How Better Scheduling Can Improve Physician Satisfaction

It’s hard to deny that being a physician is one of the most stressful, most difficult professions in America today.

Every day when a physician comes into work, he or she is responsible for safety and well-being of others. Dealing with high levels of stress and death on a regular basis can take its toll. Not only are physicians supposed to cure, they have to heal families when cure is not possible.

Another contributing factor, beyond the direct involvement of stressful situations, is a lack of control over schedules and time. This affects sleep patterns, family activities and events, and self-care. Since there is usually a patient in need at the end of every phone call, setting limits can be difficult.

And if the physical and mental stress isn’t enough, a majority of physicians are forced to work incredibly long, rotating on-call schedule shifts. The tough demands of the job coupled with a lack of qualified physicians has created an unbreakable negative pattern of physician burnout. A study conducted by Merrit Hawkins found that about half the doctors they surveyed are feeling burned out and fed up with the healthcare industry. Further, the survey indicated that job satisfaction is on the decline. This implies the nation’s shortage of physicians will get worse before it gets better.

While it will take a lot more than good scheduling to fix the problems in the healthcare industry, it is a good start. 

Here is how implementing a quality on-call scheduling process can help improve physician satisfaction.

Create a work/life balance

Physicians often work long, irregular hours. Working nights and weekends is a normal thing for most physicians. This takes a toll on their social lives and their interactions with friends and family. Besides being overworked, a lack of a work/life balance is one of the main reasons why turnover rates are constantly on the rise.

While there is no clear-cut solution, one way to help physicians is to give them their work schedules in advance. This allows them to plan their social activities more easily. Facilities that are able to create their schedules up to a year in advance will give physicians the luxury of knowing when they are working ahead of time.

Provide Better Patient Care

Burnout is more common among physicians than any US worker. Studies suggest that many physicians experience burnout, a syndrome characterized by a loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment. Further, burnout may influence the quality of patient care and increase the risk for medical errors. It is imperative to take care of our physicians since their wellness affects the quality of patient care.

Reflecting back on the importance of a work/life balance, respecting that balance will improve physician satisfaction. With our on-call scheduling software, healthcare workers have the ability to look at schedules in real-time. This eliminates the risk of calling the wrong physician in the middle of the night or on their day off. Respecting physicians’ work/life balance will improve their satisfaction -- leading to better patient care.

Although practicing medicine can be very meaningful and fulfilling, it is also demanding and stressful. While quality scheduling won’t fix all of the problems in healthcare, it is sure to help. It provides physicians with a better work/life balance and gives patients a better quality of care. If you want to learn more about how implementing an excellent on-call scheduling software can help improve physician satisfaction, click here!

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