How To: Preparation is key

Further Detail

While a lot of the pleasure from a self rostering rota comes from the idea that you can say yes to a lot of trainee requests, the work behind the rota starts some time earlier.  Like many tasks the preparation beforehand is crucial and will make a large difference to the implementation of the rota when it comes out.

Simplifying the Rota

Rotas changeover time and with change that comes many evolving shift times and patterns.  A rota sometimes can represent a historical record of how a department used to be.  Some departments have different start times depending upon days of the week.  Or odd shifts on certain days because there used to be teaching on that day.  The teaching has disappeared but the 13:20 start time hasn’t.

I’m lucky in Leeds, we use a predominantly 3 shift system for the registrars.  A 4th shift time has just been introduced (something I didn’t want) but for the most part we have 3 shifts.

  1. Day 8:00 – 17:00
  2. Late 15:00 – 0:00
  3. Night: 23:30 – 8:30
  4. Mid 12:00 – 21:00

There are also 12 non clinical (NC) days in a 16 week period.  We do 5 weekends – 2 nights, 2 days and 1 lates.

It’s a nice rota even before we add self rostering into the mix.  As there are so few shift types and every shift is the same length, it certainly makes life easier when self rostering.  If you are considering going self rostering I would recommend going one step further and redesigning your rota template to something with 9 hour shifts and standard start and finish times regardless of weekdays or weekends.

Why 9 hour shifts?  Well under the new JD contract a 9 hour shift gives you a 30 minute break while a 10 hour shift gives you two 30 minute breaks and so therefore 9 hours is the most efficient use of staffing.  The midnight finish is also beneficial, 2 am finishes start to incur extra rules from the junior doctor contract and the less of those we incur the better.

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