- A study conducted by BWH showed that medical residents who worked 24- to 30-hour shifts every other shift made 36% more serious medical errors than those who worked a schedule with 16-hour shifts.
- Residents working 24 or more hours in a row reported sticking themselves with needles 60% more often.
- In a 2010 review of 23 studies on the effects of reducing resident work hours, all but one showed an improvement or no change in patient care or resident sleep or quality of life.
- There were no objective data showing that shorter work hours were worse for patients or physicians.
Jane Orient, MD, executive director of the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, argued against limiting resident training hours for the following reasons.
- More work hours means more opportunities to learn for medical residents.
- Future patients may be at risk of receiving treatment from a less-experienced doctor.
- Shorter shifts lead to more-frequent handoffs, disrupting education and patient care.
- Part of physician training is learning how to cope when exhausted.
Both sides seem to have compelling arguments. What do you think?