I am a doctor working in Melbourne, Australia. I graduated from University of Melbourne in 2010.
I'm currently training to be a general practitioner and am doing my residency at St. Vincent Hospital in Melbourne.
I've had to work several Shabbos shifts during my 4 years of practice which I dealt with by sleeping at the hospital on Friday night, using a Shinui when doing malacha. I'm embarrased to say that I've never actually sought out a posek to rule that this is okay. I've simply relied on what I've heard that other observant Jews do.
I am a sefardi, I'm not sure if there are any implications for that
Furthermore, I am currently working in a hospital which is 30 minutes drive away from home in obstetrics. Some shifts end at 9pm on a Friday (after Shabbos has come in) and I am wondering if I am able to drive home to spend the rest of Shabbos with my family, or should I stay in the hospital.
Similarly, some shifts start at 0800 on Saturday morning, am I allowed to drive to work so that I can spend Friday night with my family?
Thanking you in advance,
When the shift ends on Friday night, there is no leniency to drive home. You may arrange before Shabbat with a non-Jewish taxi driver to take you home, provided that you live within the broad city limits of Melbourne (issue of techumin).
Similarly, when your shift begins on Shabbat, you should arrange to go with a non-Jewish taxi. If, in a particular week, you were unable to arrange beforehand – you may arrange for a non-Jewish taxi driver on Shabbat.
Your practice of doing melacha with a shinui is proper for doctors. Rabbi Abraham S. Abraham, M.D., F.R.C.P wrote a handbook close to twenty years ago, Halachot for the Physician on the Sabbath and Festivals. The booklet is out of print, but some excerpts are available at the following links. The Hebrew version is still available and can be ordered from the Schlesinger Institute. Please feel free to contact us further, as needed.