Weekend Work

Weekend: Not Much of a Report

February 10, 2020

Just mostly work.

I am currently down to approximately 5 call weeks/year. When I started at my current job, it was 13! The number has changed because a) we have grown (from 4 providers to 7) and b) my clinical role is only 0.4FTE. I hemmed and hawed about reducing my call, but when I finally confirmed that my GME salary does not come out of my division’s budget, I felt comfortable asking for a reduced call volume.

Otherwise, it was like I was providing free call. And I couldn’t wrap my head around that!

(Notably, the GME portion of my job does not have call, but it contains other after/before hours responsibilities that my colleagues do not have to content with. Which also make me feel like things are fair.)

Anyway, 5 week of call per year is . . . not a lot of call. It’s similar to what my colleagues at big academic centers take (though some of them have fellows to help answer those overnight calls!). I am very very happy that I have managed to lower this portion of my job, because it is just . . . not for me.

It IS more manageable when it’s fairly infrequent. I also spent time thinking yesterday about how there is definitely a ‘parenting guilt’ ingredient that makes things more emotionally fraught. I really consciously tried to IGNORE THAT this weekend and leaned on Josh to do the bulk of the parenting (we also had babysitters both mornings, a favor for him that I had forgotten I had scheduled).

Notably, I don’t typically feel bad when I am entirely away on a conference. I am trying to take that mindset about my call. While I don’t have to spend the entire days in the hospital, I usually have several patients to see and have to be available 24/7. It just is what it is. But it’s better when I just lean into it, knowing that Josh is perfectly capable and that it’s my job and it’s time-limited.

OKAY. Enough about call. One report tomorrow and I promise to shut up about it until at least April! Hopefully this was interesting to some 🙂

Day #6/7 Report:

Hours worked: ~9am – 1pm. 1 discharge, 3 follow ups. Calls at 2pm, 3:15pm, 3:50pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, and 8:57pm. Based on that, I was bracing myself for a terrible night, but . . . NO overnight calls!

Hours slept: 7ish.

Tomorrow I will add up all of the hours. I know I am well under resident limits (80) at least!

I did get 5 workouts in last week! Happy about that.
I need to wash this (decade old) yoga mat. Hmmmm.
post-nap cuddles
my current takeout alternative (frozen pizza x 2 + greek salad).
cheaper, less packaging, and gets the job done.


  • Reply CBS February 10, 2020 at 6:02 am

    I was struck by what you said by not feeling guilty when you’re travelling for conferences but struggling with call. I’ve been feeling this but couldn’t quite articulate it so thanks! I have no real guilt around travelling for work but when I have to work at the weekend, I struggle with it. It’s like when you’re in town, you don’t feel present at work or at home. So I think having one parent on duty with no expectation of aid is a better idea than this halfwayhouse situation.

  • Reply Family Med Resident February 10, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    It’s great that you were able to negotiate less than full time equivalent call. I am graduating from residency this year and starting a part time outpatient job afterward (in family medicine). I found that the vast majority of jobs I came across required full time equivalent call from part-time physicians. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 10, 2020 at 12:54 pm

      Every situation is different and I’m guessing potentially negotiable. If you were truly “job sharing” I’d expect you’d share a call load …

  • Reply Elisabeth February 10, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    I’m so impressed you keep fitting in all those workouts!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 11, 2020 at 5:45 am

      they help my sanity 🙂

  • Reply MBC February 15, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    would arranging the call schedule differnetly help? My husband used to have weekend call and it always stunk because we felt like it limited our ability to go places (he has to call back in 20 min and often needs the work laptop to look stuff up) They now have some telemedicine service that takes weekend call so he only has occasional weeknights. And one night of call is just.. not a big deal. We were likely to be home anyways so it’s not much of a disruptor to have the phone on. Sure it might mean I finish a bedtime story while he answers the phone but not a huge disruption. A much bigger issue is when I work the night shift. That somehow throws everyone for a loop no matter how much we try.

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