How to Schedule Summer Vacations Among Staff

Now that summer has arrived, staff and physicians are beginning to request time off for vacations. While vacations are important—we all deserve some rest and relaxation! —it can cause more work for rheumatology practice managers. Between scheduling vacations, keeping patients up to date, and making sure all shifts are covered, you’ll need a vacation, too! Before you go running for the hills, read the following four tips for scheduling summer vacations. They may not transport you to a tropical island, but they will help you breathe a bit easier.

  1. Try to get staff to take vacation at the same time as physicians.
    A little coordination can go a long way! If a physician is out for a week, then the number of patients that will walk through your doors will be less than usual. If possible, encourage your staff members to take their vacation time when you know things will be slow. While getting dates to match up might be difficult or impossible, it never hurts to ask! Even an overlap of a few days will be easier on everyone, and with enough planning anything is possible.
  2. Hire seasonal staff or part timers.
    Many medical students may be home for the summer and looking to beef up their resume with some real-world experience. Other experienced employees may be looking to reenter the work force after a leave of absence and want to ease in with part time work. Both are great choices to help fill in the gaps of a spotty summer schedule.
  3. Cross train your current staff.
    Employees who can wear multiple hats are a huge asset, especially during the weeks when you’re understaffed and need an extra hand. You may also discover hidden talents among your staff, and they might find new tasks they enjoy! Cross training is also a great way to challenge your staff, pursue continuing education, and make them feel like part of a team. They’ll also appreciate other staff member more, because they’ll know exactly what each person contributes to the practice!
  4. Prioritize time off based on seniority.
    There are some dates that everyone will want off—Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day. If you approve everyone’s request, you might find yourself running a solo show! While it never feels good to tell someone no, it’s a word you must get used to when putting the good of your practice first.

We hope these tips help you get through summer in one piece—and that you get to schedule a vacation for yourself, too! Happy summer, and good luck!

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

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