Nobody likes to take call

It’s one thing to get up, get ready for work, commute, see a full patient panel, and call it a day. It is quite another to take call on top of that. With call your workday is not over. You may get patient calls during dinner, or a concerned ER provider waking you up at 1 am to discuss a patient. You may even have to go into the ER to see that patient and assist in a potential surgery. None of this sounds fun after a full day (well maybe interesting, but certainly tiring!), but it is the reality of being on call.

Now, call will vary. You may not have to be on call that often: maybe a day or two a week. You also may only take patient calls versus having to take calls from the ER or actually go in to evaluate patients. Certain specialties will require more call than others and have different expectations. This will also depend on your supervising physician and experience. With most surgical subspecialties, this will be a regular part of your life. With primary care, you will likely just be taking calls from patients. With shift work, you probably won’t be taking any call.

Are you getting paid for being on call? This may be built into your contract, or you may be compensated based on the number of hours you are on call, if you get called in, etc. Make sure you have a good understanding of your contract. You do not want to be taken advantage of and end up working 60 hours with another 20 on call. Read the fine print!

You have to decide on the sacrifices you are willing to make and the life you want. For me, a day of work is enough. Nights are for undisturbed sleeping.

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