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Best Practices for Creating Resident Schedules

Posted by Shift Admin on December 19, 2017 at 6:35 AM

After medical students finish school, many times they brace for their residency. They know these apprenticeships have the reputation of long shifts that leave residents physically and mentally exhausted. This means schedulers have the challenge of combining the resident’s shift preferences with the larger team’s preferences and needs, which are, typically, on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Here are a few guidelines to consider when determining resident workload:

Review the Residency Program Requirements

Schedulers should first take a look at the requirements of the residency program to understand the hours and rotations each resident should work. Then, weigh in the desires of residents as far as days-off, weekends, and on-call nights. This will help eliminate exhaustion and burnout that can affect residents and the treatment of their patients.  

Be Mindful of Responsibilities vs. Workload

Be sure to evaluate the resident’s responsibilities during the course of a long shift. Medical errors, malpractice, and lawsuits can follow if a resident practices while fatigued or burned out. While residents need to have education and experience, they still need to be able to maintain a high level of performance. Resident rotation schedules that cut down on consecutive shift hours and split tasks result in less complications.

Make Honoring Time-Off Requests a Priority

The workload distribution for residents has to be fair. Manage resident schedules by using Shift Admin’s weighted rules and digital time-off requests to simplify organizing and generating the schedule.

Keep this in mind: Residents should not endure more than three consecutive weekly night shifts or work more than six nights in a row. If they are switched to a night shift, they should not work a regularly scheduled morning shift the next day. They must receive at least 10 hours of time off between two shifts. Also, no resident should ever work a 24 hour shift or put in more than 80 hours per four-week period. In addition, Residents need to receive their preferred vacations and at least one day off a week. To minimize resident fatigue, consider reducing the number of working hours per week and increase residency program enrollment.

Shift Admin is currently being used in over 50 residencies across the country. Teams simply code in all ACGME regulations into their schedule generator, making it easy to create resident schedules according to policy.

Strive for a Fair and Balanced Schedule

Residents should review their schedules and consider it fair and balanced and the resident scheduling process should be transparent. By maintaining clear balance, responsibilities, and shift requirements, residents will get the most out of their time in the hospital and maintain their passion to work with patients.

Bypass complicated scheduling processes by letting Shift Admin create a fair and optimized resident schedule for your team.

Let Shift Admin Help

Shift Admin relieves facilities of the frustration and complications of scheduling. By using advanced scheduling algorithms to create ideal shift combinations, your entire team benefits. Contact Shift Admin to create resident schedules with smart, weighted rules and simplify scheduling. 

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Topics: Hospitalist Scheduling