Reducing interns’ duty hours is problematic, studies show

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1998 (Published 26 March 2013)
Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1998

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  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

Reducing interns’ hours on duty has disrupted training, had a minimal effect on their amount of sleep, and resulted in an increase in self reported medical errors, conclude two studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Concern over the effect of long hours of duty on interns and their patients led the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to promulgate new rules for residency programs in the United States that took effect in July 2011. A central feature was limiting the maximum shift length to 16 hours, where previously 30 hour shifts were common.

The larger study was a survey, conducted over several years before and after the change, of interns at 51 …

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