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Telephone logs of neurosurgery speciality trainees: a time study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Barbara Gregson, Patrick Mitchell


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PURPOSE: With a constant debate on working hours and improved patient outcomes, time studies are crucial to obtain and analyse timelines and work components. This includes time spent on communication. The aim of this study was to assess the magnitude and patterns of telephone call episodes in the work schedule of neurosurgery trainees.METHODS: Logs of handheld telephone sets assigned to neurosurgery specialty trainees in a British regional neurosurgical centre were obtained from the hospital switchboard for a 6-month period. This formed the primary data. Ringtime was added to the talktime for outgoing calls. Monday to Friday, 8 am-5 pm was considered as regular hours and the rest as other hours. The outcome measures used were number and duration of telephone episodes (individual and collective) and the timing of these episodes.RESULTS: During the study period of 6 months, there were 12071 incoming calls and 10712 outgoing calls (total calls-22783). The maximum number of incoming calls/ day/ trainee was in the range of 39-78 while the range for outgoing calls was 36-102. On an average, the on-call trainee made and received 33 and 36 calls respectively in a 24-hour period (mean call duration was 1.7 minutes) which meant that a telephone call intruded into the schedule almost once every 21 minutes. Typically, the on-call trainee spent 138 minutes on the telephone (69 calls) in 24 hours, while on an off-call day it was significantly less at 25 minutes (18 calls). Of the calls, 67% happened out of regular hours.CONCLUSIONS: Time spent on the telephone is a significant work component and would have a bearing on timelines.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manjunath PKS, Mahmood S, Gregson BA, Mitchell P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Neurosurgery

Year: 2012

Volume: 26

Issue: 2

Pages: 195-198

Print publication date: 27/04/2012

ISSN (print): 0268-8697

ISSN (electronic): 1360-046X

Publisher: Informa Healthcare


DOI: 10.3109/02688697.2011.633643


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