Public supports limiting shift hours for first-year residents — 4 things to know

Practice Management

A Public Citizen poll found a large majority of the public opposes a rule that would get rid of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's policy that sets a cap on the hours first-year residents work.

The ACGME restriction prohibits first-year residents from working shifts exceeding 16 hours. In June, Public Citizen asked 500 respondents about the current attitudes toward the ACGMA restrictions and proposals for changing it.


Here are four things to know:


1. Eighty-six percent of respondents opposed eliminating the ACGME's 16-hourshift limit.


2. For residents in their second year or above, 80 percent of respondents supported lowering the shift limit from 28 hours to 16 hours.


3. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said hospital staff should inform patients if a medical resident who is treating them has been working for more than 16 hours without sleep.


4.  The researchers concluded, "Residents, like any other human beings, are unable to avoid the cognitive and motor limitations that inevitably accompany prolonged sleeplessness, and both residents and their patients are put at risk once residents' shifts exceed the 16-hour mark."


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