What Are Your Hours Like?

This is the #1 question I usually get asked as a resident.

“What are you hours like?”

What are my hours like? Great question.

So, the long and short of it is that if you were to add up how much I work, on average, it would be 60-80 hours per week (80 being the legal maximum as averaged over a 4 week period).

On a day to day basis, the answer is trickier.

On an inpatient surgical rotation (vast majority of my GYN rotations), we usually round between 6-7 and OR cases start at 7:30. We then “sign out” to the night team at 6 pm, which usually puts you leaving around 6:30.

There are three caveats to this:

  1. As an intern, you have to “pre round” on the patients, meaning you see everyone, write the notes, and are ready to “present” by the time the rest of the team gets there. So, that can mean some pretty early mornings – I saw a couple of 4:30s when I was an intern and also didn’t see daylight. Thankfully, that’s only one year of your life, so there’s literally light at the end of the tunnel.
  2. As a senior, you’re doing bigger OR cases….which can go later. So, that “sign out at 6” thing might not always happen.
  3. 5:00-5:45 pm is the ER witching hour. For some reason, a majority of consults come . at this time. And, this can often thwart said “sign out at 6” thing.

On an OB rotation, its a bit more “shift-work” so it’s usually 7 am to 6 pm….with sign out usually ending around 6:30-7 pm. The short caveats to this are that you round on post partum as an intern and antepartum as a 2nd and 3rd year…so depending on how many patients you have, you get there earlier than 7 am.

Then, we get to nights and weekends.

We have a night float system meaning that there is a dedicated night team Sunday night through Thursday night. You work from 6 pm until sign out the next morning at 7 or 7:30 am.

My longest stretch of nights was 5 weeks in a row. I began to question my sanity towards the end. For any of you who work the night shift as nurses, I throw you a hands up emoji. Living opposite of the world is hard.

Now, on to weekends…the fun part.

Weekends we have a “call” team. This confused a lot of people my first year – I would say I was on call and some people thought this meant I was at home with a pager. FALSE. Call = at the hospital working.

When it’s your lucky weekend on call, you work either Friday night (so you end up working 24 hrs on Friday) then Sunday day (from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm). OR you work Saturday for 24 hours (Sat 7:30 am to Sun 7:30 pm). The jury is still out on which of these is “better.”

Let me tell you — working for 24 hours straight is not something I’d wish upon anyone! It takes a lot of coffee and adrenaline to make it through. New moms – I also send you a hands up emoji.

My parents are continually confused – are you awake? are you asleep? They’ve operated the last four years under the pretense that “I’m always working….or working out.” My parents know me so well.

So, that’s the answer to one of the most common questions I’m asked.

Here to answer your burning questions – that’s what I’m here for.

Until next time…

Daily coffee tally: 1 …but its only 9:45 am so….TBD

2 thoughts on “What Are Your Hours Like?

  1. As someone thinking about OB but wanting a family, how family friendly is OB? These hours seem hard to predict in terms of family life.

    • Hi!

      While the hours are hard, I think OB is very family friendly! Given that it is a women dominated field and we are in the business of building families, I think we are very passionate about supporting those who have kids or want to have kids. At least, this is my experience.

      Four of my current co-residents have had or are about to having babies in residency. One of my co residents had two children when she started residency. Everyone got 6 weeks maternity leave and we worked as a group very hard to protect that.

      I think a lot of it has to do also with the culture of a place/program and I happen to be at one that is fully supportive!

      Hope that helps.


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