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How do you fill the shifts?

September 2015

Published in the September 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

What does it take to recruit “and retain “hospitalists, particularly when it comes to staffing nights and weekends?

In our cover story, we talk to hospitalist leaders who explain that finding physicians to work nights is tougher than ever. Apparently, even younger hospitalists fresh out of residency or taking a gap year before fellowship want to work only days.

Groups are responding by making nocturnist shifts as painless as possible “and as professionally fulfilling. Programs are offering nocturnists traditional perks like shorter shifts and more money, and they’re experimenting with flexible schedules and incentives designed specifically for night work.

For many groups, those strategies are succeeding. Some programs even have a waiting list of day-time hospitalists who want to transition to working as nocturnists if a slot becomes available.

And another story takes a look at strategies to fill weekend shifts. Finding hospitalists willing to work weekends is hard enough because no one wants to miss out on time with family and friends.

But another big problem is that weekend resources, from imaging studies to specialty consults, are in short supply. That leaves some weekend hospitalists feeling like they’re doing little more than babysitting patients until their weekday colleagues come back to work.

One hospital in New York has decided to boost the services it offers on weekends, including staffing more care coordinators and encouraging surgeons to do weekend procedures. The effects on hospitalists have been significant: Length of stay is down, and satisfaction among both physicians and patients is up.

It’s encouraging to see that as the specialty grows, hospitalist programs are finding new solutions for recruitment and retention. As our coverage points out, these approaches are good not just for hospitalists working nights and weekends, but for everyone in the field.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor & Publisher