Six Biggest Gripes of Employed Doctors

Kenneth J. Terry, MA


March 02, 2011

In This Article

3. Call Schedule Is Too Burdensome

Some physicians are unhappy with hospital call duty, Robbins says, especially if they're primary care doctors who are used to handing off their patients to hospitalists. But a high percentage of hospitals now have hospitalist programs, even in rural areas, notes Matthews.

Newly hired doctors may also resent having to take call more often than senior colleagues do, Robbins observes. This may happen if a hospital or physician group has bylaws stating that after a doctor reaches a certain age or length of tenure with the group, their call duty will lessen.

A Delta survey of primary care doctors indicates the gap between their call duty preferences and what their jobs actually entail. A total of 57% preferred no call with a hospitalist program; 40% preferred call that was separately compensated; and 3% had no problem with uncompensated call. But in their current work environment, 28% had no call with a hospitalist program; just under 20% had compensated call, and 52% had to take call without pay.

Robbins says he always makes sure that job candidates know what their call duty will be before setting up an interview. "That's as important as knowing what they would potentially earn," he says. Generally, he adds, hospitals know exactly what call is going to be, "and they're upfront about that with candidates."


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