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How to Create a Fair and Balanced Holiday Schedule

Posted by Shift Admin on November 6, 2018 at 7:01 AM

The holidays are a stressful time for some people, and perhaps they are more so if you work in the medical field. In fact, creating schedules during the winter holidays are the biggest stressor for many providers. Between missing family time, increased patient visits, and generally irregular routines, creating a fair holiday schedule for your group can be quite the task.

But with a little planning and the help of a web-based scheduling software like Shift Admin, creating a fair and equitable holiday schedule can make your job a lot easier.

Demand is High in the Winter

Between the flu, falls, and fireworks, holidays – especially winter holidays – are a busy time for providers. People are spending more time indoors packed in close quarters with family and friends at holiday parties, increasing their chances of spreading illness or trying a wild new idea that might end in an ER visit. Icy weather accounts for an increase in falls and traumatic injuries from fireworks increase during the New Year.

Having a fully staffed schedule, one that may even include a backup physician, is essential to keeping up with these busy months. Plan ahead by increasing the number of physicians you have scheduled during the holidays to make sure patients get timely care.  

Read More: Implement these common time-off protocols. 

Plan in Advance

Having a plan for these busy months takes some forethought. Start planning your holiday schedule months in advance. Some physicians with more seniority may take some time off, and staff with smaller children may request to be home Christmas morning. Obviously, you won't be able to accommodate all of their requests, but the sooner you can make the holiday schedule, the better, so the staff can plan accordingly.

Most groups choose to assign holidays at least one year in advance to allow providers to plan accordingly. For example, providers are required to work one or two major holidays in a year with the expectation that they will be off those same holidays the following year. One simple way to achieve this is to assign staff to “A” or “B” groups and rotate time off each year. In the event of provider turnover, administrators can assign new employees to either group.

Once you have created a policy that is agreed upon by your group, it is best to block out schedule requests for each holiday and to manually assign providers for those holidays based on the rotation. You can store detailed documentation of your holiday rotation schedule within the Shift Admin platform to mitigate confusion.

Offer Incentives For Working Holidays

You might have some physicians fighting over the chance to work holidays if you offer some incentives. Obviously, increased pay is a popular way to get more people to sign up for extra shifts to cover gaps in the schedule. Consider offering other perks such as catered meals on holidays or maybe even small gifts passed out by Santa and his elves to brighten spirits throughout the facility.

Make the holidays less stressful for your group by being as flexible and transparent about your holiday schedule as possible.

Topics: Physician Scheduling

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