Residency

Ask the expert: What impact does extended work shifts have on resident safety?

Residency Program Insider, July 3, 2007

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According to a comprehensive review of work hour studies by members of the American Medical Association's Resident and Fellow Section, some studies have looked specifically at the effect of limiting extended work shifts on resident safety. In a prospective, nationwide study, 2,737 interns completed monthly reports on number of extended work-shifts, motor vehicle crashes, near miss incidents, and episodes of falling asleep at the wheel. The study found that every additional extended work-shift increased the risk of a crash during the commute home from work by 16.2%.

 

A separate article evaluated the risk of needle sticks or lacerations by a sharp object in the same 2,737 interns. These injuries were more likely to occur during extended work shifts that normal work shifts. 64% of interns reported lapse in concentration and 31% reported fatigue as contributing factors to the injuries.

 



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