call us312-335-9470

200 West Adams, Suite 2475, Chicago, IL 60606

Handling a Large Clinic Load While Still Providing Adequate Care

Illinois medical license defense attorneysHow many patients can healthcare providers treat while maintaining adequate care? Some patients would be surprised to learn that their physician might see up to 2,500 patients a year—visits during which the physician has to deliver all recommended preventive, chronic, and acute care services required. Nurse staffing has faced this problem as well, with short-staffing at hospitals leading to rising nurse-to-patient ratios. How can these healthcare providers sufficiently handle such clinic loads while providing adequate care?

For physicians, the answer heavily relies on effective delegation of workload. In a 2012 study by the University of California at San Francisco’s Center for Excellence in Primary Care, if a primary care physician does everything on their own, from screening, counseling, immunization, drug prescription, chronic care, and treatment of acute conditions, the physician could only accommodate a maximum panel of 983 patients.

Of these tasks, the time physicians spend on preventative services could be delegated to non-clinician care-team members. Those hours spent managing common chronic conditions could be delegated to other hospital personnel, such as nurses and medical assistants. In appropriately delegating these tasks, it allows a doctor more time to appropriately treat the greatest number of patients while ensuring proper care and treatment.

As for nurses, the answer becomes a bit more complicated, as issues related to large clinic load typically result from staffing shortages. The most important question any nurse facing a larger patient load must ask is: which patient requires attention first? Moreover, creating a team atmosphere amongst nursing staff is key to ensuring that, if someone is particularly struggling on any given day, a nurse who may be experiencing a lighter clinic load is available to help.

While there are ways to alleviate the burden of a large clinic load, there will inevitably be times where the most a physician or nurse can do is grit their teeth and bear it. In such moments, there is a risk that your actions may result in a patient complaint to the medical board, resulting in possible fines, reputation damage, or jeopardizing your license. Williams & Nickl has extensive experience assisting medical professionals facing such complaints to defend their physician licenses and nursing licenses. If any problems occur, Williams & Nickl will work to help you through the process.

Back to Top