The majority of surgical residents do not comply with work-hour limits that were initially put in place to promote patient safety and staff well-being, according to a study.
Many residents ignore work-hour limits: study
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, surveyed 141 surgical residents during 2007 and 2008 to determine reasons for widespread noncompliance with work-hour regulations. Almost all of the surveyed residents indicated they were aware of the work-hours guidelines, which include an 80-hour limit per week, at least 10 hours of rest between shifts and a 24-hour limit on continuous patient care.
Nearly three quarters of respondents said they were in favor of the limits, but despite that agreement, the noncompliance rate reached 64.5%, according to the study, which appears in the February 2011 issue of the Archives of Surgery. Fifteen percent of residents said they worked between 90 and 99 hours a week, while 6.3% reported working more than 100 hours.
Residents cited a variety of reasons for not following the guidelines, including the desire to preserve the continuity of patient care, the lack of ancillary hospital staff, guilt and the need for education.
“The survey demonstrates that noncompliance with the work-hour regulation remains high and the reasons are multifactorial,” the study authors said. “These findings will help restructure training programs in the efforts to increase compliance with the work-hour regulation.”
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