Resident Work Hours: Can We Meet the ACGME Requirements?

Cockerham, W. Todd; Cofer, Joseph B.; Lewis, Patricia L.; Scroggins, Candice M.; Burns, R. Phillip
August 2004
American Surgeon;Aug2004, Vol. 70 Issue 8, p687
Academic Journal
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requires all programs to limit resident work hours to 80 hours per week with some programs allotted an extra 10 per cent for specific educational purposes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate data reflecting changes in resident schedules made in 2002-2003 to be compliant with ACGME requirements without compromising patient care or resident education. Surgery residents originally completed a work-hour survey in May 2002. The survey contained 14 daily time sheets. Residents were asked to document how their time was spent between 14 different categories delineating in-house and out-of-house hours. Changes were made to resident schedules in order to become compliant with the new regulations. After making changes in the schedule, two more surveys were completed and evaluated, once in May 2003 and again in November 2003. Final analyses compared results from May 2002 to November 2003. Surveys were distributed to 30 residents in May 2002. Twenty-two residents completed the survey with 16 surveys eligible for analysis following exclusion of abnormal rotations (i.e., research and vacation). Eighty-eight per cent of junior residents (PGY 1, 2, and 3), 50 per cent of senior residents (PGY 4-5), and 33 per cent of chief residents (PGY 6) worked more than 88 hours per week. In November 2003, surveys were sent to 32 residents. Twenty-four residents who were on our normal call schedule completed the survey. Fourteen per cent of junior residents, 33 per cent of senior residents, and 0 per cent of chief residents worked more than 88 hours per week. By making the changes described, we have substantially reduced the number of resident work-hours while maintaining our academic and patient care missions.


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