How To: Finally Let’s Get to Write a Rota

Finally Let’s Get to Write a Rota

So, we have our pallet of doctors’ shifts to allocate, shifts needed each day and we know what we can and can’t achieve, it is time to create our masterpiece.

Stage one – using healthrota we set up an account for everyone and then pre-populated nights and weekends into the rota!

“What!?“, I hear you scream, “This is meant to be self rostering and you told people what nights they were going to work?  I’ve read nearly 3000 words of drivel to find out nothing has changed.”

Fair point, but working from a completely blank canvas is hard and we needed a starting point.  If people had no problems with the dates that their weekends and nights fell I left them alone, if they needed moving I could move them anywhere in the 16 weeks that allowed as at this point there were no zero days to consider and no swaps to negotiate.  This bit was relatively easy!

Next people populated their annual leave and study leave into the rota, no swaps were needed and everything was readily approved, people started booking flights and I panicked a little on the inside, if this didn’t work, then I was either going to ruin an ED department or lots of people’s holidays.

Breathe:  I’ll admit that this was a little bit nerve wracking and at one point I nearly handed it back and went this is too much for one person, then I made myself a cup of Yorkshire Tea had a jammy dodger and pulled myself together – “We can do this!”, I thought.

Now we have a rota with nights, weekends, annual leave and study leave in, adding lates is next.

Lates are relatively easy to add (in Leeds, at least) as you can’t take leave on them and they are of a fixed amount.  I slotted them in around everything people had asked for and got a pretty good cover through the department.  It’s always hard to know what people want, a horrible week of 5 lates or lots of semi horrible weeks of 2 lates, I filled the rota in as best I could and everything went well.  My heart rate settled and the whole thing actually started to come together.

In-Hours Shifts – Harder Than You Think

So, you’ve now got a rota that should hopefully cover all OOH working, all forms of leave and give everyone their leave requests:  now the easy part, bosh in some day shifts and we’re done!

Except how many day shifts do you give people?

On a rolling rota you would take annual leave or study leave on either NC days, Mid shifts or Day shifts but that isn’t how the self-rostering rota works. Instead, you request your annual leave in an empty space not knowing what kind of shift you would have been working.

We’re going to have to figure out how many different types of shifts there are left.

A little bit of maths was needed and so I built this calculator:

It proportionally removes in hours shifts for every day of annual leave or study leave day taken.  Regional training days are slightly trickier as they should be taken on non-clinical days but also should be taken using study leave so I factored that in too (I think that this info is from the gold guide guidance)

Once you’ve got the number of days, mid and NCs for each registrar figured out they go onto the rota and then it is all done.

Tweaks are made as you go along to make sure department coverage is sufficient and then you should have a balanced rota, giving everyone all the leave they wanted, all the weekends off they asked for and the department as close to fully staffed as was possible!

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