Saturday, August 26, 2006

Work Rules

I'm trying to psych myself up for going in to work tonight. I am doing overnights for the next three nights. Thursday was another 24-hour shift, but it went better and I was able to sleep for about 5 hours. Since then, I have done a bit more painting on the deck, dug out some of the dirt and rocks that are causing one of the walls on my garage to bow in, and went to the gym this afternoon. There's nothing quite like spending your time off doing manual labor!

Here's a summary of work hour rules for residents if anyone is interested:

1. No more than 80 hours/week total.

2. Residents cannot be scheduled for more than 24 consecutive hours and must not stay late past 30 hours.

3. There must be a 10-hour break in between scheduled work days.

4. Residents must have at least one 24-hour consecutive break per week.

In the past there were absolutely no limitations on work hours, and I believe these restrictions have only been in place for the past 2-3 years. They are supposed to be implemented by every accredited residency program--meaning no government funding if the hospital doesn't follow the rules.

I really can't complain: right now I'm scheduled for 66 hours/week, including conference time. My residency program audits our hours as the hospital can be fined for violations. I have several friends who matched in a new program that has not been playing by the rules. One of them worked over 100 hours/week during July, and I am curious to see how she's been holding up. Opponents to the new limitations say that residents need to work a ton of hours to see enough cases, but research has shown that many more mistakes are made when residents are fatigued.


~~Silk said...

Thank you for the explanation.

Those who oppose the rules should be made aware that seeing a ton of cases doesn't help if you're too tired to remember anything about any of them.

Chris said...

I have had to argue with certain board members about the work loads/hours of our staffs. Some old timers have the theory "Our job is only to pack the mule, not to worry about how heavy the load". I finally won the debate of "finite loading" by pointing out "Would you run a vehicle or piece of equipment above 5,000 RPM all the time and expect it to 1) last and 2) perform correctly?"

I am glad that they have put these limits in. Hell, even truck drivers and flight attendents have work hour limitations.

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