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Home for the holidays?

November 2015

Published in the November 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

With the holiday season fast approaching, Americans everywhere are thinking about time off to spend with family and friends. Unless you’re a hospitalist, of course, in which case you can bank on spending at least some of your holidays at work.

There are many great things about working as a hospitalist, but the schedule is often not one of them. Patients get sick day in, day out, and hospitals are always open, even if it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas. (I know that there are many other holidays coming up in the next couple of months, but these two were the biggest ones on the radar of the people we spoke to for this month’s issue.)

In our cover story, we take a look at how hospitalist groups try to make sure that holiday coverage is shared evenly. One popular option seems to be asking hospitalists to work either Thanksgiving or Christmas, but not both.

The good news is that a surprising number of the groups we spoke with are able to work out holiday schedules somewhat amicably. The diversity among doctors in hospital medicine helps programs iron out holiday coverage, with physicians who don’t celebrate Christmas volunteering to work for colleagues who want to be home.

I find that spirit of collegiality comforting. I’m sure that holiday schedules can get contentious, but it sounds like members of a number of groups, at least, are working together in a spirit of fairness and kindness. Isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be all about?

I hope that in the coming months, you’re able to find time to spend with family and friends “and away from work! Happy holiday season!

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor & Publisher
edoyle@todayshospitalist.com