In any stage of radiology, we all want the best schedule possible. Most of us hope for rotations where you can enjoy what you are doing, perhaps within your specialty. We desire vacation time that is fair and equal to others in a similar specialty/situation. And, you want a call that is equitable and reasonable compared to everyone else. Not all rotations fit that bill, though. Nor is it possible to accommodate everyone all the time. If you tweak one person’s schedule, you can make someone else life miserable. The balance is delicate. It’s kind of like when you give medication, and it comes with untoward side effects! So, if you are helping out with the schedule at your institution, how can you make the radiology schedule as palatable as possible for everyone? Here are some of the guidelines that work at our site.
Get The Appropriate Tools For The Radiology Schedule
Our main job is practicing as a radiologist, not as a scheduler. So, make sure that you get all the necessary tools to make your job as easy as possible. Whether it is radiology scheduling software, a business manager, or a secretary for the practice, you should have some assistance to help you along the way. Don’t try to make the schedule without these tools. It is below your pay grade!
We all are human, and calamities befall all of us at one time or another. Whether it is sickness or taking care of loved ones, we have to expect that not all of us will be available on any given day. So, every practice needs a little bit of redundancy in the schedule. That way, your practice will have adequate coverage when these events happen. It is not feasible to allow just a skeleton crew to steer the ship. It can become a potential recipe for disaster if some calls out sick!
Communicate All Schedule Changes Well
In practice, this statement sounds entirely logical. But, often, lack of communication can represent the downfall of a radiology department. If you decide to change a location or rotation, you need an excellent system to communicate the change. And, preferably, you should make the change well in advance of the new schedule. Radiologists have plans too!
Make Sure There Is A Balance
If you want to stoke the anger of your colleagues, the best way to do that is to make sure that one radiologist gets the most cush rotation at the expense of everyone else. Therefore, it is critical to monitor the different calls and rotations and ensure that the numbers are as equitable as possible for each practice member. This step can be time-consuming. But, recording where each radiologist is working and how many calls they work should become a critical mission to improve the schedule.
Be Nice But Firm
You can’t always get what you want. (Just like the Rolling Stones song!) Sometimes, we need to cover rotations and calls that no one wants. And, everyone at some point will have to take one of these shifts regardless of how they feel about it. So, if you are in charge of the schedule, there are times you have to hold your ground for fairness’ sake, of course, in a friendly way. Scheduling can be a tough job!
Take Suggestions For The Radiology Schedule
Making a schedule for a practice can be complicated. And, you might not have the experience to know what makes sense in all of the subspecialty departments. Therefore, a scheduler must be willing to listen to the suggestions of those folks that may know the rotations and schedule in their area the best. Without the input of others, it is unlikely that you will be able to create a reasonable plan for everyone!
Making A Fair Radiology Schedule
Scheduling is a critical part of any radiology practice. And it is not easy. Moreover, it may be impossible to satisfy everyone. But, if you have the tools you need and take into account the input of others while listening to some of my suggestions, you can make a schedule that will maximize equitability for everyone. It is possible to make a reasonable schedule for your residency or practice!