At UES, we recognize that emergency physicians have the highest rates of burnout of any specialty in the house of medicine and have taken proactive steps to ensure our physicians can enjoy long, productive careers.
A leading cause of burnout is a lack of control over your work environment. Our democratic structure ensures we have as much control over our staffing, shift lengths, number of shifts worked, patients per hour, and co-workers as any group in the country.
Our democratic structure also ensures that nobody is “skimming” profits off of us. At the end of the month, the collections are totaled up, expenses including overhead, APP salaries and benefits, and pre-partner salaries and benefits are paid, and the remainder is divided up among the partners according to how many shifts were worked in the month. When the group does well, the partners do well, but since none of the income generated has to go to corporate shareholders, our partner incomes are very competitive when compared to other emergency physician groups across the country.
Eight Hour Shifts
We have elected to limit our shifts to eight hours. Not only do physicians become less productive and compassionate at the end of twelve hour shifts, but an eight hour shift also allows our physicians to spend time with family or their favorite recreational pursuits either before or after their shift each day. Work-life balance is extremely important in our group. Shifts at Jordan Valley Medical Center begin at 6 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 7 pm, and 10 pm. Shifts at Mountain Point Medical Center start at 6 am, 2 pm, and 10 pm. APPs work 9 hour shifts at Jordan Valley Medical Center only, beginning at 9 am and 6 pm.
Patients Per Hour/Staffing Levels
We set our staffing levels so that we have time to provide both competent and compassionate care. Averaging 2.5-3 patients per hour might help you increase the dividend of a publicly traded corporation, but it will also increase your liability, decrease patient satisfaction, and speed you on your way to burnout by forty. We don’t do that here. At the end of your shift, you’ll still have energy to go for a run or play with your kids.
Holiday and Weekend Tracking
Evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays will always be part of Emergency Medicine. Here at UES, we carefully track holidays and weekends so that you won’t be working more than your share of them. Due to group flexibility, we are able to accommodate most reasonable schedule requests so that you can work hard and play hard.
Market-Based Shift Weighting
Here at UES, we use a unique method of shift differentials. We allow partners to work any combination of night and day shifts that they wish to work. We allow “the market” to determine the shift differential that ensures all shifts are voluntarily covered. Night shifts are generally paid at a much higher rate than day shifts; currently a night shift pays 50% more than a day shift. As a result, some physicians work all nights, some work all days, and others work some combination of the two. Many physicians choose to voluntarily work more nights early in their career in order to have the extra income needed to pay off student loans or mortgages and to boost retirement savings, then gradually transition to day shifts as they move into their 40s and 50s. Other “nocturnists” work all nights, but work fewer of them while maintaining the same income.
Maximum and Minimum Number of Shifts
In order to promote longevity, we allow partners to choose the number of shifts they wish to work each month. Reasonable notice must be given for any significant change, of course. Partners are allowed to work as few as six shifts while still remaining full partners. We feel that remaining competent is difficult while working fewer than six. Partners are allowed to work as many as eighteen shifts per month. We feel that remaining competent and compassionate is difficult while working more than eighteen. However, this high level of flexibility, especially when combined with the market-based shift structure, allows physicians to cut back on shifts as they age, promoting career longevity.
Even within EPIC, these UES policies are unique and provide a culture where we can maximally care for our patients and each other.
Next, the benefits of practicing Emergency Medicine in Utah