Thursday, October 21, 2010

Resident work hours

Skeptical Scalpel to AMSA: Stop whining. (SS apparently hasn't heard that when you use the catch phrase “patient safety” you can justify nearly any position).

Anyhow it looks like further work hour restrictions are coming down the pike along with even more unintended consequences.

I don't know the answer to this debate. It's easy for someone my age to extol, decades later, the days of grueling house staff working conditions. But I certainly didn't appreciate it in real time and did my own share of whining. A program director back in the 70s once said “I run a punishing internship and if they'd let me I'd make it even more punishing.” That wasn't healthy, but now we're headed to the opposite extreme. A colleague once told me of the struggles his program went through to adapt to the restrictions. Residents who exceeded the work hour limits were told to fudge their time sheets so the program would be in compliance. Between sessions at SHM 2010 I overheard an attendee on his cell phone frantically telling his subordinate back home to send certain residents home NOW.

I'd like to see some work hour limits for us old farts but with public policy going the direction it seems to be headed now that probably won't happen soon.

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