We’ve discussed the importance of sleep enough on this blog that all of you should look at that title and not only be worried about the health of the doctors who will be working 24-hour shifts, but worried about trusting them with your safety. This announcement is insanity.

However, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education said the change will actually ENHANCE patient safety because there will be “fewer handoffs from doctor to doctor.” It’s also believed that the longer shifts will improve the new doctors’ training by allowing them to follow their patients for more extended periods, especially in the critical hours after admission.

Does that make you feel more comfortable?

Check out these articles on sleep and then tell me:

From the article:

“The controversial decision ends the latest phase in a decades-old discussion over how to balance physician training with the safety and needs of patients whose care is sometimes handled by young, sleep-deprived doctors — a practice that a consumer group and a medical students’ organization oppose as dangerous. The council said Friday that under the amended standards, the physicians’ mental and physical health actually will be bolstered by requiring their supervisors to more closely monitor their well-being.

Those standards will allow four hours to transition patients from one doctor to the next, so first-year residents could work as long as 28 straight hours, the same as more senior medical residents. The 125,000 doctors in training, known as “residents” and “fellows” depending on how many years they’ve completed, are the backbone of staffs at about 800 hospitals across the country, from large medical centers to smaller community facilities.”

  • residents will not be allowed to work more than an average of 80 hours weekly
  • they must have one day off every seven days
  • they cannot work overnight in the hospital more than one night in three.
  • hospitals and residency programs must give residents time off for their own physical and mental health appointments.
  • hospitals and residency programs must provide ways to foster young doctors’ well-being, fight burnout and mitigate fatigue.

And it seems, according to a nationwide poll commissioned by the group, that those polled ALSO opposed the longer hours for first-year residents. And eighty percent wanted even the more senior doctors to work shorter shifts. Seems like people want to know their doctors aren’t sleep deprived and can, therefore, make sound decisions.

What do you think about these new guidelines?

Source: The Washington Post