Do shorter resident work hours improve care?

Dear AuntMinnie Member,

It sounds like a no-brainer: if residents work fewer hours and get more sleep, patient care will improve. But it's not necessarily so, according to a new study we're featuring in our Residents Digital Community.

In an effort to reduce medical errors, new rules implemented in 2003 prevent residents from working more than 80 hours a week. But researchers at a Milwaukee hospital found that the benefit of shorter work hours and more rested residents might be offset by the disruption in continuity of care that occurs when a resident is pulled off a patient's case in order to get some rest.

The group conducted a meta-analysis of seven studies on resident work hours. One study in particular that caught their eye found a greater risk for adverse events when a patient's primary-care team was pulled off a case and replaced with alternative coverage, such as another team of care providers or a night-float system.

Read all about the study in our Residents Digital Community, at

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