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Ann Surg. 2003 Apr;237(4):449-55.

Implementing resident work hour limitations: lessons from the New York State experience.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



To determine the impact of work hour limitations imposed by the 405 (Bell) Regulations as perceived by general surgery residents in New York State.


New Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requirements on resident duty hours are scheduled to undergo nationwide implementation in July 2003. State regulations stipulating similar resident work hour limitations have already been enacted in New York.


A statewide survey of residents enrolled in general surgery residencies in New York was administered.


Most respondents reported general compliance with 405 Regulations in their residency programs, a finding corroborated by reported work hours and call schedules. Whereas a majority of residents reported improved quality of life as a result of the work hour limitations, a substantial portion reported negative impacts on surgical training and quality and continuity of patient care. Negative perceptions of the impact of duty hour restrictions were more prevalent among senior residents and residents at academic medical centers than among junior residents and residents at community hospitals.


Implementation of resident work hour limitations in general surgery residencies may have negative consequences for patient care and resident education. As surgical residency programs develop strategies for complying with ACGME requirements, these negative consequences must be addressed.

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