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Laryngoscope. 2008 Jul;118(7):1257-9. doi: 10.1097/MLG.0b013e31816bf52f.

Day float: an alternative to the night float coverage system for residency programs.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.



The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has mandated an 80-hour work week that has resulted in changes to many residency programs. In otolaryngology, most programs have switched to either home call or night float systems. Our department covers all of the maxillofacial trauma and backup airway calls, which has made it difficult to employ a home call system. Instead of a night float coverage system, our program implemented a day float coverage system that allows the residents to participate in a 24-hour call period. After call and sign-out, the residents go home; however, their clinical duties are covered by the day float resident.


A brief review of the literature pertaining to call coverage systems followed by a description of our day float system. Residents who have participated in either night float, day float, or both systems were then surveyed regarding their experiences or perceptions of both systems.


A nine-question survey was handed out to our otolaryngology residents and their responses were recorded.


The averaged responses strongly favored the day float over the night float coverage system regardless of the level of training and the systems in which the residents have participated.


The day float coverage system is favored by residents in our program. It allows for a more attending-like 24-hour period of call, continuity of care, attendance at educational activities, and more time with family. In addition, it eliminates a prolonged period devoid of clinical activities.

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