Majority of Surgical Residents Object to Regulated Hours

Many report noncompliance with the regulations and falsification of duty hours

THURSDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- About 65 percent of surgical residents report that they disapprove of the 2011 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Common Program requirements, which place restrictions on duty hours, according to research published in the May issue of JAMA Surgery.

Brian C. Drolet, M.D., of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues analyzed data for a subset of 1,013 residents in general surgery or surgical subspecialties from a sample of 6,202 residents who filled out a 20-question electronic survey six months after the 2011 ACGME regulations were implemented.

The researchers found that a majority of surgical residents perceived that the regulations decreased the quality of education (55.1 percent) and preparation for senior roles (68.4 percent). Residents reported no change in availability of supervision (80.8 percent), amount of rest (57.8 percent), or safety of patient care (53.4 percent). Although residents thought the quality of life was improved for interns (61.9 percent), more than half believed it was worsened for senior residents (54.4 percent), and many felt that the regulations increased hand-offs in patient care (78.2 percent) and shifted responsibilities from junior to senior residents (68.7 percent). Noncompliance with the regulations and falsification of duty hours were reported by 67.6 and 62.1 percent of surgical residents, respectively.

"In conclusion, our survey, performed after the implementation of the 2011 ACGME Common Program requirements, showed that three of five surgical residents disapprove of these regulations," the authors write. "Residents believe that the intended improvements in patient safety, resident quality of life, and education have not been borne out after implementation of the changes."

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