Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On-call vs. Off-call

As a doctor, one has to be on-call at times, and one goes off-call at other times. Let me explain what this means. When you are on-call, you have to be available 24x7 to attend to any and every emergency situation that develops in the hospital. When you are off-call, you basically work during the morning consulting hours, but are then free to pursue any avocation you wish to, until the next morning. In fact, when you are off-call (which means that your colleague is, at that time, on-call), you can even escape your morning duties by utilising your leaves and go on a holiday to any place of your choice within the kingdom. 

This is what my colleague and I practice here. We stay on-call for 7 days beginning on Sunday of any week (which is the first day of the working week in Saudi Arabia), and continue the on-call until the next Sunday morning. After this, the off-call guy takes over for the next week and the on-call guy goes off-call. This means that if you have sufficient numbers of stacked up leave forms with you, you can proceed on vacation every alternate week! Now, isn't that cool. The only problem, the thorn in the bouquet is that we do not accumulate many leaves in Pediatrics. Emergency visits to the hospital are the way to accumulate leaves. Six visits documented on an official paper and signed by the on-duty administrator gives you one day off. This means that when you collect six signatures, the paper with you entitles you to go on one day's leave. Put in other words, you need at least 24-30 visits to actually take the entire week off and go to, say, Jeddah, Dammam or Taif and enjoy the time!

This is how I took my leave last week when I was in Taif. I stayed in my usual hotel, went to the conference in the day-time, and lazed around in the evenings, sleeping, going around, and relaxing. I guess that explains what on-call and off-call means, does it not? What do you think?

I also wanted to share a few more things: this week, I am on-call. Was called today early in the morning to attend a Caeserean delivery for a mother who came with labour one and a half months before her due date. The entire process of delivery and then arranging the transfer of the premature baby to a larger hospital in Taif took well over 2 hours! Although I did not actually go to Taif to leave the kid, I finished my side of the call at 2.5 hours after I had left the house at a little after 5 a.m. In the process, by the time I finished, a new work day had begun, and I thus got a chance to return home only in the afternoon for lunch, and at the end of the work day. Pretty busy, hnnh?

That's it for now. Please do read, comment and interact with me. Tell me what you would like to know more about. 

P. S. My write-up on Jeddah was published on www.ghumakkar.com. Do click HERE to read it.

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