Sunday, April 4, 2010

Work hours of surgical residents

The culture is changing to comply with the law, but it's hard.

For doctors, a matter of time: MGH residents cut back to 80-hour weeks, but with mixed feelings

"The hospital had a wake-up call last year, when a national accrediting agency put the program on probation for violating patient-protection rules that limit trainees’ work hours. Some junior surgeons, called residents, had been staying too late because they didn’t want to sign over their very sick patients to other doctors, out of a combination of duty to patients, work ethic, and unspoken peer pressure.

"Now, say senior surgeons and residents alike, the program is in complete compliance with the rules that require trainees to average no more than 80 hours of work a week and have 10 hours off between shifts."

The story makes the case that residents sometimes need and want to work long hours.

A related story about sleeplessness makes the case that it would be good both for patients and young docs if they got enough sleep: At Midnight, All the Doctors…

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