In the days leading up to Christmas, I kept seeing commercials and ads saying that even on Christmas Day, certain stores would be open 24/7. It got me thinking, I work at a hospital that has likely been open 24/7 for about 35 years straight. Hospitals are open every weekend, every holiday, through extreme weather and every medical epidemic or natural disaster that may strike.
At my hospital, we're required to work two weekend shifts a month. Generally speaking, I don't mind the weekend work. The hospital is usually quieter and there's a more relaxed mood among the staff. Patients usually have family come visit on the weekends, so it's always kind of interesting to see that aspect of their lives.
On the flip side, weekends also mean decreased staffing levels. On a typical weekday, my hospital has seven to 10 therapists working. On a weekend, that number drops to three to five. This usually leads to long lists of patients who aren't being seen by therapy, which in turn, leads to long lists of doctors who are upset their patients aren't being seen by therapy. So the calmed mood around the hospital is usually countered by the high stress level of trying to see as many patients as humanly possible, to avoid as many awkward conversations with physicians or family members as possible.
Now of course, weekend work comes with a little extra cash. At my hospital system, we get a weekend premium of $3 extra per hour on top of our regular hourly rate. It's a nice little bump on the paychecks, but to be honest the weekends are starting to wear on me. This past weekend at my hospital was sort of a perfect storm of high census, low staffing, and particularly ornery physicians.
The other therapists and I worked tirelessly to see as many patients as we could. Yet still we spent a good amount of time fielding questions from nurses and doctors about if and when we'd be seeing their patients. The most common answer was "we're not," which only led to more frustration for all parties involved. I came home both Saturday and Sunday physically and mentally exhausted. Definitely not my ideal way of spending a weekend.
What are your thoughts on working the weekends? Does the increased accessibility for patients warrant therapists taking time out of their weekends that might be spent with their families or doing other things they enjoy? Is the extra money worth it?