Residency

News and briefs: Residents performing fewer procedures

Residency Program Insider, October 11, 2011

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Since the ACGME set limits on residents’ work hours in 2003, trainees perform about 520 fewer procedures every year, according to a study from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. In an article on FoxNews, the authors of the study note that because of the 80-hour work week restriction, surgeons are starting their careers with hundreds of hours less training, which they think may be more detrimental to patient safety than curbing resident fatigue.

"When they get out of their residency, [they] will make more mistakes because they’ve had less experience," said Dr. Janet Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Orient said she understands that the 80-hour limit was set with the intention of reducing errors by residents who are too tired or burnt out. However, she is concerned about the effects it will have on residents’ abilities once they complete their programs. Orient would like to see officials revisit the idea of restricting residents’ hours, by reviewing the information from the UMMC survey and other surveys.

"According to our study, our residents are not getting as much time in the operating room observing or assisting more experienced surgeons doing these complex operations," said Dr. Marc Mitchell, chairman of the Department of Surgery at UMMC.

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