MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kathleen M. Finn MD, MPhil
Christiana Iyasere MD, MBA
Division of General Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: While the relationship between resident work hours and patient safety has been extensively studied, little research evaluates the role of attending supervision on patient safety. Beginning with the Bell Commission there have been increased calls for enhanced resident supervision due to patient safety concerns. At the same time, with the growth of the hospitalist movement more faculty physicians join daily resident work rounds under the assumption that increased supervision is better for patient safety and resident education. However, we know that supervision is a complex balancing act, so we wanted to study whether these assumptions were true. On the one hand patient safety is important, but on the other adult learning theory argues residents need to be challenged to work beyond their comfort level. Importantly, being pushed beyond your comfort level often requires appropriate space between teacher and learner. To investigate the role of attending supervision on patient safety and resident learning we studied the impact of two levels of physician supervision on an inpatient general medical team.
Twenty-two teaching faculty were randomized to either direct supervision of resident teams for patients previously known to the team vs usual care where they did not join rounds but rather discussed the patients later with the team. Faculty participated in both arms of the study, after completing the first arm they then crossed over to the other arm; each faculty member participated in the study for a total of 4 weeks.