Can we solve the problem of scheduled weekend cases?

Can we solve the problem of scheduled cases on the weekends?


I’ve been to a lot of hospitals, and listened to a lot of people talking.  What are they talking about?  Scheduled cases on the weekends.  The “Since-you-was-here” cases.  Can anything be done about it?  Do we want to do anything about it?

First, why is it happening?  For some reason, doctors want to do more cases; more difficult and involved cases, lasting longer and longer.  But the big thing is, they are doing more cases.  They are doing them in and around their office time.  In the past, they doctors had a day or two in the lab and a couple of days in the office.  Now?  They seem to be trying to do it all.  But I don’t think we can stop that trend.  Unless, of course, we can do something about Medicare and Insurance reimbursements.  (I don’t think so).

But what can we do?  We do need to have our lives outside the hospital.  We need a break.  It is as dangerous for us to work massive amounts of overtime as it is for any pilot or driver.  As a matter of fact, since our work is done in a radiation environment, the more hours we work, the more radiation exposure we receive.  That can be a problem in itself, since we work with all doctors, not just one.

So…is there an answer?

As a traveler, I was thinking about this.  I would not be averse to working 3 12-hour shifts; Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Or even, Friday 1 – 7 pm; Saturday and Sunday 7 – 7 and Monday 7 – 1.  I would agree to a Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday shift 10-hour shift.  Do you think the hospital managements would agree to add Saturday as a normal work day?  Of course, they would have to agree NOT to allow the call team to do scheduled cases on Saturday/Sunday.  If, of course, the doctor can work knowing there is another team “available”.

Times are changing, and we have to go outside the box to adapt.  Opinions?