It’s been a longstanding cliché that if doctors aren’t busy practicing medicine, they’re busy knocking balls into holes on the golf course. Golf has always been a traditional pastime of the well-off since it combines spending a few hours outside on a manicured lawn with a challenging sport that doesn’t make you sweat, but while business executives may be out there conducting golf course meetings from day one, our nation’s resident doctors are not so lucky.
The Residency Crucible
To say that first-year doctors are overworked is a fairly major understatement. Resident physicians aren’t so much hazed as they are thrown directly into the fire, with both 30-hour work shifts and 80-hour or more work weeks. Residents are expected to be ready to go for any emergency and any doctor’s call at a moment’s notice, and no matter how little sleep, food, and free time they’ve had in the past 24 hours they’re expected to do their jobs quickly, efficiently, and without a single mistake. For residents, an afternoon on a golf course is more of a fantasy than anything else.
Still, there are a few reasons why physicians are put through this hell during their first year. Medical school is more about books than about patients, and so new doctors and surgeons need to catch up on the practical aspects of medicine in a hurry. There’s also some debate over whether exhaustion is more or less likely to cause a mistake than a handoff made during the critical first 36 hours, and there’s a major study currently in the works which is looking to answer that question.
Creating A Workload Cure
Fortunately, there is a way for hospitals to reduce their resident physicians’ stress without necessarily reducing their working hours: they can hire a scribe service like ProScribe. Residents are often tasked with handling the paperwork of the more experienced staff members, and while this is educational, it’s also exhausting, especially if they have patients of their own they need to look after. With scribes on the job, residents will have more time to spend on naps, on nutrition, and on watching their patients.
A residency may be intentionally stressful so that a new physician will get used to life as a doctor, but too much stress is bad news for both residents and patients. By hiring a scribe service, you won’t just give your physicians time to spend on sleep and on golf courses, you may even be saving lives.