Cross-training for work & life
Jul 01, 2006
Playing by the clock
Dr. VanVranken: What are your week and weekend hours? Does your clinic do any emergency work. If so, how are you involved in that rotation? What hours would you work if you were king for a day?Dr. Rollo: I work four days a week. Usually I do all surgeries on one of those days. This should be an eight-hour day, but it can creep up to 12. If an emergency comes in, then the day usually grows longer. There are no emergency hours at the hospital right now.
We've done 12-hour shifts for two months, and we're assessing this approach. When things are going well, the long hours certainly have rewards. But they're a work in progress, and we're tinkering with it as we go—we may taper them down a bit. Not surprisingly, every doctor has a different schedule that would be ideal for him or her.
If I were king for a day, I wouldn't start work until 10 a.m. This one may be a bit selfish—but I'm not a morning person. Of course, many clients wake in the morning to find their pets sick, and waiting until 10 wouldn't be acceptable in a good portion of those cases.
The best schedule for a hospital is what's best for its clientele. Since animals get sick all hours of the day, 24 hours would be ideal. That way there would be no transferring of animals to and from the emergency clinic, no "see if he's still vomiting in the morning" statements over the phone at 7 p.m., no more sleepless nights wondering how my hospitalized patients are doing. This is obviously not a reality for most practices, but something worth discussing at the very least.
The 10 a.m. start on a 12-hour day with a one-hour lunch would leave you with an 11 p.m. finish. So long reality TV!
My wife always said she wasn't a morning person. Then we had kids and that was the end of that. Then again, she'd say she wasn't a late-night girl either—she's never actually seen Jay Leno, except in pictures.
Dr. Rollo: My father has also told me that to become a morning person all I need to do is have a child. Despite my mother's wishes, that will have to wait for a while.