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

by Mary Beth Gordon, Theodore C. Sectish, Marc N. Elliott, David J. Klein, Christopher Landrigan, Laura M. Bogart, Stephen Amrock, Ann Burke, Vincent W. Chiang, Mark A. Schuster

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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.

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