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Survey finds surgical residents view duty hour regulations as a hindrance to training
Date:7/14/2009

CHICAGO (July 14, 2009) Results of a survey published in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons show that a large subset of surgical residents consider duty hour regulations (DHR) a significant barrier to their surgical education and express a desire for flexibility to work longer hours than current restrictions allow.

The implementation of DHR in 2003 was intended to address resident fatigue and improve patient safety. Prior to implementation, residents often worked 100 hours or more weekly; currently, residents are limited to an 80-hour work week. Although studies have shown that residents are getting more sleep and their personal lives are improved, the effect of DHR on case load, academic performance, and board examination performance is still poorly understood. The effect of DHR on patient care also remains uncertain, and there is evidence to suggest that there has been an increase in communication errors as a result of frequent patient handoffs.

"We were surprised to find that nearly half of surgical residents believe work-hour restrictions are actually an impediment to their training," said Jacob Moalem, MD, Department of Surgery, University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center. "Our current system limits educational opportunities for surgeons who are expressing a desire and a need to learn more in a compact time frame. Senior surgery residents should be given the chance to control their own schedules as they continue to refine their technical skills and transition into independent practice."

An Internet-based survey was electronically distributed to all resident and associate members of the American College of Surgeons. The first question asked respondents to rate the impact of DHR on their education as "no barrier," "minimal barrier," "moderate barrier" and "significant barrier." For analysis, the first two choices were grouped and retitled "no barrier," and the latter two choices were grouped
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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