Home Compensation & Career Guide A look at hospitalist shifts

A look at hospitalist shifts

July 2014
Group of doctors

Published in the July 2014 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

HOSPITALISTS ARE KNOW FOR providing 24/7 coverage, but how much do they actually like working all those shifts? In the 2013 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, we asked hospitalists to tell us about the hours they actually work “and the hours they would like to work. Here’s a look at the differences between the two.

Type of shift
When it comes to the type of shift hospitalists work, there is no clear winner. In our survey, 31% of hospitalists said they work mostly day shifts with occasional night shifts, while 27% work only day shifts, and 17% work blocks of day shifts rotated with blocks of night shifts.

Ask what type of shifts hospitalists would like to work, however, and the data become a little more clear: 41%, for example, said they would like to work only days, and 31% would like to work mostly days with some nights.

Adult hospitalists are more likely to prefer a daytime-only shift (43%) than pediatric hospitalists (28%), and pediatric hospitalists are only slightly more likely to prefer blocks of day shifts rotated with night shifts (9%) than their adult colleagues (5%).

Length of shift
Night coverage isn’t the only problem that hospitalists have with the shifts they work. Look at average shift length, for example, and you see some potential for problems.

On average, hospitalists work shifts that last 12 hours. That number was a bit shorter for adult hospitalists (11.73 hours) and longer for pediatric hospitalists (13.81 hours).

When we asked hospitalists what their ideal shift length would be, the answer came in at just over 10 hours (10.47 to be precise). Again, that number was slightly shorter for adult hospitalists (10.37) and longer for pediatric hospitalists (11.25).

Shifts per month
Hospitalists report working an average of 15.64 shifts per month. That number is slightly higher for adult hospitalists (15.88) and lower for pediatric hospitalists (14.20).

Hospitalists said their ideal number of shifts per month was 13.90, which is significantly lower. Adult hospitalists said they would prefer to work 14.15 shifts per month (close to the level that pediatric hospitalists report working), while pediatric hospitalists said the ideal for them per month would be 12.37 shifts.