I had quite a surprise during training this morning.
I had an appointment with an ICU Physician to finish up our advanced training so the results could be shared with his partners tomorrow.
I called the specified contact number, and when there was no answer, I left a message asking for a ring back when he was free.
Then I got to thinking. He is working in ICU, so something must have come up. What can I send him in support materials via email, just in case he needs the information handy and is simply too busy to look it up? So I gathered up and emailed him the most frequently used sections from our on-line help manual, so he could easily access them. My mind is running along the garden-variety things like MicroSites, iCal subscriptions, printing whiteboards, tally exports and the like . . .
Then the Physician called me back, about an hour and a half after our appointed time.
“I’m sorry I’m late”, he said. “I had a resuscitation to attend”. He paused. “He didn’t make it”.
I was stunned.
First, that he even called. Then that he was able to compartmentalize such an event and move on. Third, that the Call Schedule was so important, that our meeting would still take place!
In what other industry would this happen? Probably none. The Physician on-call schedule impacts patient care as well as the Physician's quality of life and the Group's bottom line.
I suppose this was “just another day” in the ICU or ER for this Physician. But these critical providers are also the folks who are called upon to generate a fair schedule for their partners. Not an administrator. Not an assistant. THEY are.
I don’t know how you decompress after a stressful event. Get coffee? Pick up a knitting project? Call a colleague?
Maybe you relax by scratching your next schedule out by hand because it takes your mind off the past few hours and allows you to move on.
But I’ll bet not.
No wonder the On Call Schedule tends to get done at home by these busy specialists! No wonder they demand schedules that are easy to read, are “mobile” and can display potential “thin spots” in the schedule to their partners.
Please, help them! Get on-call physician scheduling software (such as Call Scheduler) to help with the job. Let them look good in front of their partners and go home with one less stress on their mind.