Has the 80-hour work week increased faculty hours?

Emily R. Winslow, Lisa Berger, Mary E. Klingensmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The 80-hour work week has affected not only surgical residents but also faculty. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of resident hour restrictions on faculty hours and attitudes. Design: Anonymous survey. Setting: A single, large academic medical center. Participants: All faculty in the Departments of Surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, and Otolaryngology. Methods: Faculty were surveyed 6 months before and 6 months after the institution of the resident 80-hour work week. Surgeons detailed hours worked over 1 week and answered yes/no questions about changes in patient care and resident education. P values were determined by Chi-square tests or Student t-tests as appropriate. Results: Of the 118 surveys distributed, 88 were returned (75%). Respondents were evenly divided between general surgeons (GS) and subspecialists (SS). Initially, 70% of faculty predicted that resident work-hour restrictions would increase faculty hours; however, only 47% of faculty felt that this had occurred. When current faculty work hours were compared with previously collected data, no differences were found. Faculty reported working an average of 69.9 ± 12.2 hours per week this year, compared with 70.4 ± 12.5 hours last year. When asked about the global impact of the 80-hour work week on faculty, 46% viewed the changes as harmful to the faculty. More concerning, 50% of all faculty felt the care their patients received was worse than previously, with only 2% feeling patient care had improved. This perception was significantly more common among GS faculty (70% GS vs 37% SS; p < 0.01), 94% of whom felt that the current lack of continuity compromises patient care. When the data were stratified by faculty work hours, interesting differences are seen. Of those faculty with work weeks less than 60 hours, only 6% thought the changes were harmful to patients and 64% thought resident training had suffered. In contrast, of those faculty who worked greater than 80 hours per week, 56% thought patients were harmed (p = 0.03) and 100% thought training had suffered (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Faculty work hours have not increased in the 6 months after the institution of the 80-hour resident work week. However, the majority of the faculty feels that both patient care and resident education have deteriorated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-608
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent surgery
Volume61
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

Keywords

  • Residency training
  • Resident workhours
  • Surgeon workhours
  • Surgical education

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