Proposed Duty Hour Limits for Residents Met with Scrutiny
The survey results, according to the researchers, "suggest that the new duty hour restrictions have the potential to create serious difficulties for residency programs to ensure that their trainees are meting the ACGME core competencies."
The new regulations include increased supervision during 16-hour shift maximum for first year postgraduate residents and recommendations for napping.
In the survey of resident medical directors, there was an outpouring of disagreement with the ACGME duty-hours regulations. Among the findings:
- 65% say it will not change resident fatigue.
- 6% believe it will increase fatigue.
- 87% say that the new ACGME recommendations will decrease residents' continuity with hospitalized patients, referring to "hand-offs" during shift changes.
- 78% say it will reduce efforts to coordinate patient care.
- 65% believe it will reduce residents' responsiveness to patient needs.
- 63% believe it would reduce residents' ability to effectively communicate with patients, families and other health care professionals.
Reed says it was important to question the resident medical directors about the impending regulations because "they are the ones who know what it takes to train a competent resident."
"That's why we sought their opinions," Reed says. "Some things we need to watch out for and be mindful of as the new regulations are put into place. The research isn't going to change the recommendations. That wasn't the intent. We are trying to get a sense of what program directors feel about this."
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