Thanking Our ED and Hospitalist Group Schedulers for Their Support During the Pandemic

Posted on Apr 7, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Written by Margaret Chiu, M.D., leader of our Gender Equity Task Force.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to change and adapt many aspects of our lives both personal and professional. While thrusted upon us by unfortunate circumstances, some of these changes are positive and show how we can continue to improve work-life balance even after the pandemic is over. In the Gender Equity Task Force on occupational burnout, physicians have commented on what an outstanding job the schedulers in the Emergency Department and the Hospitalist groups have done in taking into consideration differing needs of members of the group.

In the context of the pandemic, “some clinicians required more evening/weekend shifts to ensure appropriate child care coverage, while others needed extended time in between shifts to quarantine before meeting older, high-risk family members,” shares Dr. Manj Gunawardane, Summit’s Hospitalist Director.

Typically, schedules are designed to produce equitable results where the concept of equitable means all shifts are shared equally across nights, weekends, and holidays. Dr. Aaron Barber, scheduler for Berkeley Emergency Medicine Group, shares about their group’s ability to adapt to the needs of their providers.

“Most groups of physicians include providers who have many different scheduling goals,” says Dr. Barber. “If an equitable schedule is instead thought of as one that meets the goals of providers… then it’s fairness depends on the members’ satisfaction with the schedule… If the scheduling method is transparent and providers feel that the burden is shared, then we gain the flexibility to adjust for individual needs. We have been able to accommodate providers who want a temporary fixed schedule, extended time off, and shift time restrictions.”  

The pandemic has scrambled lives and required a reordering of priorities for most clinicians. Providing individuals flexibility in their work schedules to accommodate for evolving obligations helps mitigate anxiety and stress, which in turn has significant impacts on quality of life, job satisfaction, and reducing burn out. The schedulers in the Emergency Department and Hospital Medicine groups had to stretch themselves and their processes to be nimble and elastic. They deserve recognition for the wonderful job they’ve done adapting to the evolving times and supporting their front line clinicians. In addition, every group has its own set of scheduling challenges and schedulers who are working hard to meet the dynamic needs of their group. Your work is appreciated!

We’re all eager to see the pandemic in the rear view mirror of history, but let’s hold onto the lessons we’ve learned from it. Let’s build on the spirit of understanding and flexibility, putting compassion first as we help all of our members live their best lives. 

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