The New England Journal of Medicine published an article titled “Sleep and Alertness in a Duty-Hour Flexibility Trial in Internal Medicine.” Did the long shifts negatively impact the residents’ health? Did the long shifts negatively impact the patients’ care? Perhaps surprisingly, the study concludes “no” to both of these questions.
The arguments in favor of long medical trainee shifts have been around for a long time. Firstly, effective patient care should entail minimal doctor handoffs. Additionally, shorter shifts would mean less acute care patient cycle observations. Finally, residents’ work weeks are limited to an average of 80 hours. While that’s still a lot, it’s apparently not detrimental to their health.
So why did we choose to blog about this topic here? Well, we assume you are considering med school. Therefore, you need to understand all the ramifications of your decision. And, drum roll please, these types of ‘current events’ are fair fodder for the medical school admission interviews. Be sure to show the interviewers that you have conducted your ‘due diligence’ on the jealous lover known as medicine.