Pediatric Residents' Perspectives on Reducing Work Hours and Lengthening Residency
A National Survey
Published in: Pediatrics, v. 130, no. 1, July 2012, p. 99-107
Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2012
OBJECTIVE: In 2011, the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education increased restrictions on resident duty-hours. Additional changes have been considered, including greater work-hours restrictions and lengthening residency. Program directors tend to oppose further restrictions; however, residents' views are unclear. We sought to determine whether residents support these proposals, and if so why. METHODS: We surveyed US pediatric residents from a probability sample of 58 residency programs. We used multivariate logistic regression to determine predictors of support for (1) a 56-hour workweek and (2) the addition of 1 year to residency to achieve a 56-hour week. RESULTS: Fifty-seven percent of sampled residents participated (n = 1469). Forty-one percent of respondents supported a 56-hour week, with 28% neutral and 31% opposed. Twenty-three percent of all residents would be willing to lengthen training to reduce hours. The primary predictors of support for a 56-hour week were beliefs that it would improve education (odds ratio [OR] 8.6, P < .001) and quality of life (OR 8.7, P < .001); those who believed patient care would suffer were less likely to support it (OR 0.10, P < .001). Believing in benefits to education without decrement to patient care also predicted support for a 56-hour-week/4-year program. CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric residents who support further reductions in work-hours believe reductions have positive effects on patient care, education, and quality of life. Most would not lengthen training to reduce hours, but a minority prefers this schedule. If evidence mounts showing that reducing work-hours benefits education and patient care, pediatric residents' support for the additional year may grow.