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Curr Surg. 2004 Nov-Dec;61(6):609-11.

Meeting the 80-hour work week requirement: what did we cut?

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Department of Surgery, Huron Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Health System, 13951 Terrace Road, East Cleveland, Cleveland, OH 44112, USA.



To meet the new accreditation requirement, small programs with limited manpower must make hard decisions to safeguard quality. We devised a system to meet the requirement in our own environment, making the obligatory cuts in educational components as prioritized by the trainees. This study examined what aspect of training is impacted and the residents' perception of the resulting change.


In a fully accredited program where the baseline work hours/week exceeded the new requirement by over 20% even with full deployment of physician's assistants, the strategies used included reducing external rotations, transitioning PGY-3 into senior responsibility, and integrating senior rotations to 2 hospitals into 1 (2 weeks/month), so that time in a lower volume hospital helped to bring the monthly average to target. Residents were surveyed at 6-month intervals for their perception of the change.


Compared with baseline, the new system averaged 77 +/- 5 hours/week, significantly reduced from before (98 +/- 12, p < 0.01), but with greatly reduced continuity of care (28 +/- 10% vs. 88 +/- 8%, p < 0.001), reduced consultations seen (19 +/- 4 vs. 36 +/- 7 per week, p < 0.001), reduced conference attendance (5.7 vs. 3.5 per week, p < 0.001), and reduced operations (55 +/- 7 vs. 68 +/- 9 per week for the program). External rotations have been reduced by 3 months, and outpatient clinics merged from 5 to 2. Surveys showed improvement in fatigue-related issues for junior residents. Senior residents were dissatisfied with the reduced educational components.


Reducing work hours cannot be accomplished without reducing educational components. Unlike junior residents, senior residents felt less fulfilled with the new system and do not benefit in physical fatigue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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