09 Dec Perspective on ER Residents Work Hour Regulations
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Marco: In 2003, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) implemented standards on duty hours and supervision. A maximum of 80 hours of duty per week were stipulated. The aim of these standards was to promote resident learning and patient safety. However, evidence has not clearly demonstrated whether the 2003 requirements improved trainee well-being or patient safety. On July 1, 2011, the ACGME implemented additional regulations on duty hours and supervision, including a 16 hour maximum shift length for PGY1 residents. The duty hours standards were implemented to ensure patient safety and provide an excellent teaching environment. Emergency Medicine has additional duty hours requirements for emergency department rotations, including a maximum of 12 continuous scheduled hours, and a maximum 60 scheduled hours per week seeing patients in the emergency department, and no more than 72 duty hours per week.
We found that among a large cohort of 4134 Emergency Medicine residents, the majority of residents stated that they are working the appropriate number of hours to practice independently at graduation. The majority of residents believe that current duty hours regulations improve patient safety. The majority of residents agreed that duty hour regulations are currently appropriate.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Marco: Future research should focus on evidence to support the effects of ACGME duty hours standards and their impact on patient care.