On-Call Hours

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    Hello everyone, I have a question regarding whether the new rules regarding residents calls (not to exceed 80 hours a week or 1/3) applies to physicians who are employed by a hospital and work full time clinical hours. just imagine being the only doctor in town, with full time job, 100% on-call for my patients, and 50% for all other patients. On top of it all, I’m a new mother!!! Please, I would appreciate if anyone knows the rules and regulations regarding the “legality” of my situation and what should I do.

    Thank you!


    This means you are an attending I assume? I have felt your pain! But legally your employer isn;t doing anythig wrong bc apparently you signed the contract, which oprob said something vague like “will work at least 40 ofice hrs /week”…
    Three months after I got to a job that was about 80 hrs/week, and 10 day on/two days off/always on call those night for your own pts….my partner used drugs, ran off the road, went ot rehab….
    then I was on 30 days straight, seven days /week, 24 hr/day….slept about five hrs per night….got there at 630 stayed until 11 pm….but leglly I am the one who signed the contract so it was my problem not theirs… 🙁


    Thanks maggie for your imputs. When negotiating my contract, there was another physician in town, but, just like your partner, he was admitted to a rehab center for drug addiction treatment. However, they told me that if I am the only one in town, I would be placed in a special box. Now I am the only one but they refuse to treat me as such. Besides, I am the only doctor that is required to find someone to cover me when I leave town. I feel that it is a boy club and they are abusing me and discriminating against me. Anyway, after hearing your story maggie, I feel that it can be worst.



    Unfortunately I don’t think the rules that apply to residents apply to you … ultimately, you’ve signed a contract that you need to abide by. BUT it seems to me the situation that you signed on for has changed dramatically, and you have a real basis for complaint and renegotiation. Hopefully your employer will have some sense of fair play, and isn’t out to use and abuse you. If they are not sympathetic to your plight and wont’t work on solutions with you … I’d say you have a good case for breaking your contract and leaving.
    You can’t be available ALL the time! I think that’s considered a “given”, no matter if you’re the only doc in town, they either need to provide a coverage group for you or help you put one together!
    Please don’t let them abuse you … perhaps you can get the hospital chief of medical staff or dept head to speak up for you. Otherwise, I would suggest you threaten to leave … and learn from this, and make sure you don’t get taken advantage of in your next contract.
    Am I being too harsh? I don’t mean to, I’m just appalled. I was in a similar situation in private practice, but that was my fault … now I’m in a group and I’ve learned I can’t be ON all the time.


    Try to see if the hospital will provide a locum tenens for coverage for vacations. I would ask for one weekend a month (or more) and at least a two-week vacation yearly.

    The hospital may be willing to do this to keep you there, instead of having to replace you.

    I have worked locums for some places where the hospital knew that the docs were overworked, and brought in help to give them time off.

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