Commentary

In a small town, call is a different ballgame


 

BEST PRACTICES FOR CALL—TO MAKE FOR A SUSTAINABLE CAREER
CHARLES W. SCHAUBERGER, MD, MS, AND ROBERT K. GRIBBLE, MD (APRIL)

I enjoyed the article on best practices for call! But how about those of us who are not in bigger groups? Life is definitely different for us.

I am in solo practice in a small town, practice in a community hospital, and delivered 210 babies last year. For the past few years, I have shared call with the only other OB in my community. The two of us have chosen to be “on call” every day, unless one of us wants to go fishing or out of town, when we ask the other for coverage. It helps that I live 4 minutes from the hospital.

We recently had a third OB join our community, so we are experimenting with a weekend call schedule. It has been 2 months since we began this new arrangement, but it still seems strange to have two whole days off! We take care of our own patients during the week.

When I have been up most of the night, I usually reschedule the next morning’s appointments if it’s a clinic day. That helps a lot. And our patients do seem to understand.

Life in a small practice in a small town is a different world!

Margaret Gustafson, MD
Ludington, Mich

Dr. Schauberger responds:

The best call schedule for a small town is one that works

I very much appreciate Dr. Gustafson’s comments. Indeed, life in a small town is considerably different than life in other population centers. Arrangements between partners who share call develop according to the needs of the participants and the resources available to them. I would not be critical of anyone’s call schedule as long as the quality and safety of the care provided is the primary consideration. Also, the call arrangements must be sustainable for the long term. It sounds like Dr. Gustafson’s call is working well.

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