Residency

Duty hour limits compromise surgical residents’ clinical education

Residency Program Insider, December 1, 2009

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Duty hour limits have a negative effect on the number of clinical experiences surgery residents have during training, according to analysis published in the British Medical Journal.

Surgical residents must learn both medical knowledge and the manual dexterity required to perform surgical procedures. Since the implementation of the duty hour rules in 2003, the quantity of patient encounters has declined. One study reported residents performing 40% fewer technically difficult cases, down from 51 cases to 31 per resident.

However, senior residents performed 44% more basic procedures performed. The number of procedures residents performed as first assistant dropped from 88 to 58 cases (34%), and there was a 42 % reduction in teaching assistant cases.

With proposed changes to the duty hours being brought before the ACGME Board in February 2010, many surgeons are concerned that more restrictions will further erode surgeons’ experiences.



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