Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Sleep Health. 2016 Dec;2(4):309-315. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2016.08.003. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

Impact of extended duty hours on medical trainees.

Author information

Section of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine and Medical Education, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St, PO Box 208064, New Haven, CT 06520-8064. Electronic address:
Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St, PO Box 208057, New Haven, CT 06520-8057.


Many studies on resident physicians have demonstrated that extended work hours are associated with a negative impact on well-being, education, and patient care. However, the relationship between the work schedule and the degree of impairment remains unclear. In recent years, because of concerns for patient safety, national minimum standards for duty hours have been instituted (2003) and revised (2011). These changes were based on studies of the effects of sleep deprivation on human performance and specifically on the effect of extended shifts on resident performance. These requirements necessitated significant restructuring of resident schedules. Concerns were raised that these changes have impaired continuity of care, resident education and supervision, and patient safety. We review the studies on the effect of extended work hours on resident well-being, education, and patient care as well as those assessing the effect of work hour restrictions. Although many studies support the adverse effects of extended shifts, there are some conflicting results due to factors such as heterogeneity of protocols, schedules, subjects, and environments. Assessment of the effect of work hour restrictions has been even more difficult. Recent data demonstrating that work hour limitations have not been associated with improvement in patient outcomes or resident education and well-being have been interpreted as support for lifting restrictions in some specialties. However, these studies have significant limitations and should be interpreted with caution. Until future research clarifies duty hours that optimize patient outcomes, resident education, and well-being, it is recommended that current regulations be followed.


Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; Duty hour; Fatigue; Medical education; Medical trainees; Resident; Sleep deprivation

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center