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Am Surg. 2008 Jun;74(6):542-6; discussion 546-7.

Three-year results of mandated work hour restrictions: attending and resident perspectives and effects in a community hospital.

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Department of Surgery, Mercer University School of Medicine, Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon, Georgia, USA.


In response to the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education mandated resident work hour restrictions, our residency program used a night float system in 2003. We undertook a survey of attending staff and residents to assess its effects on patient care and resident education. An anonymous survey was administered to attending staff and residents 1 year and 3 years after work hour restrictions took effect. The areas of disagreement include: beneficial effect on education (residents vs faculty: in 2004, 87% vs 22%, respectively, P = 0.02; in 2006, 71% vs 22%, P = 0.03); beneficial effect on patient care (in 2004, 53% vs 10%, P = 0.03); and compromised continuity of care (in 2004, 27% vs 70%, P = 0.04; in 2006, 7% vs 89%, P = 0.0002). One area of agreement was that residents' quality of life had improved. Both disagreed that more errors were being made and that work hour restrictions should be mandated on practicing surgeons. Attending staff and residents have deeply held opinions regarding the effects of work hour restrictions. This reflects a continuing dissatisfaction with providing patient care and educating residents under a set of requirements that solely addresses resident sleepiness and fatigue.

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