Thursday, June 09, 2005

80 hour work week

An interesting post from Bard-Parker at Cut To Cure. I found this observation interesting:
Possibly, more technical errors during procedures (APL) are occurring as surgical trainees have fewer hours with which to become technically proficient during their training.

An old joke among surgery residents:
Q: What is the problem with every other night call?

A: You miss half the cases!

Also interesting was this:
A real surprise is the finding that the mean average work hours of surgeons in full-time practice is around 65 hours per week, and 20% of the surgeons in practice exceed 80 hours. I would be very surprised if that is going to change just because the 80-hour work week has been mandated for residents. Surgery residents going into practice may have to work longer than 80 hours per week.

I have said before that I think one of the advantages of the long work hours and stress involved in a residency is that it screens out those who, for whatever reason, cannot work effectively in those situations. Isn't it better to be exposed to what is, at a minimum, the environment of a practicing surgeon and drop out as a second year resident than to be artificially limited and discover later that you can't handle it?