Avoid the Caller ID When Calling the ER

You’re on-call and it’s three in the morning. You get called from the ER and you call them back from your call room, because you had just laid down. You’ll find that it’s almost like they have a direct connection to your pillow. As soon as your head hits that pillow, they’ll call you.

You call back and they see the in-house caller ID “resident call room” and the ER doc says, “Whoa! Dr. Tori, trying to get some sleep? Trying to rest your head? Why don’t you come on down? I have a few admissions for you.”

Great. That kind of stuff starts to tick you off after awhile. The first few times you’re like sure and you head on down. The next few times you start to get the idea that people think you’re a slacker because you’re in your call room.

Well, here’s the thing…

They are night shift workers. They work 12 hour stretches. They don’t work 24 or 30 hour stretches like you do.

There’s a certain culture about night workers that they don’t necessarily understand yours. It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just that they don’t understand. So you develop little work-arounds, like
I used to avoid the caller ID. By dialing a certain extension, I got around the caller ID so they never knew where I was. (In our hospital, the way to do that was to call the ER as if it were an outside line… dial 9 to call out, then dial the outside line for the ER… yours may be different)

The first few times, they’d say, “Oh Dr. Tori in your call room.” I got sick of that and started avoiding the caller ID. All of the sudden I’d say, “Hello this is Dr. Tori, I was paged.” They would say, “Uh… Where are you? Are you in the hospital?”

I would say, “Yes I am. You know how rough some nights can be. What can I do for you?” They would say, “I have a patient for you, but you can take your time. It will be 20 minutes or so before the blood work is back.” It changes the entire tone. Try it. (There are more shift worker and call-night tips in the RookieDoctor.com members area)

Do you know of some other tactics? Post a comment here…