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Work-Hour Limits Improving Pediatric Resident Well-Being

Fatigue-related errors, 80-hour work weeks down after limits set by ACGME

TUESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Work-hour limits for pediatric residents set by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) appear to be reducing the number of fatigue-related errors and improving overall resident well-being, researchers report in the December issue of Pediatrics.

William L. Cull, Ph.D., of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Elk Grove Village, Ill., and colleagues interviewed residents and program directors to determine the impact of work-hour limits on fatigue, moonlighting and duty hours before and after the limits took effect.

The proportion of residents working over 80 hours per week dropped from 49 percent before the limits were set to 18 percent after. While resident well-being was the most common improvement cited by residents and directors, others included reduced fatigue-related errors and fewer residents reporting that they fell asleep while driving from work. Most felt current systems to monitor work hours are effective.

"Although room for additional improvement remains, the experiences of residents and program directors suggest that the ACGME limits are being implemented effectively in pediatric residency programs and resident well-being has improved," the authors conclude.

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