BACKGROUND: Duty hour limits have shortened intern shifts without concurrent reductions in workload, creating work compression. Multiple admissions during shortened shifts can result in poor training experience and patient care.
OBJECTIVE: To relieve work compression, improve resident satisfaction, and improve duty hour compliance in an academic internal medicine program.
METHODS: In 2014, interns on general ward services were allotted 90 minutes per admission from 3 pm to 7 pm, when the rate of admissions was high. Additional admissions arriving during the protected period were directed to hospitalists. Resident teams received 2 patients admitted by the night float team to start the call day (front-fill).
RESULTS: Of the 51 residents surveyed before and after the implementation of the intervention, 39 (77%) completed both surveys. Respondents reporting an unmanageable workload fell from 14 to 1 (P < .001), and the number of residents reporting that they felt unable to admit patients in a timely manner decreased from 14 to 2 (P < .001). Reports of adequate time with patients increased from 16 to 36 (P < .001), and residents indicating that they had time to learn from patients increased from 19 to 35 (P < .001). Reports of leaving on time after call days rose from 12 to 33 (P < .01), and overall satisfaction increased from 26 to 35 (P = .002). Results were similar when residents were resurveyed 6 months after the intervention.
CONCLUSIONS: Call day modifications improved resident perceptions of their workload and time for resident learning and patient care.