Improving medical students

On the 80-hour Workweek Cap – Part 1

Posted by medliorator on March 14, 2009

Pauline W. Chen, M.D. :

I finished my general surgery training in 1998, five years before the national accrediting organization for residency programs set a limit of 80 hours per workweek for residents across the country. I worked on average 110 to 120 hours per week and had my share of being on call every other night. Like many of my peers, I know about fatigue so overpowering that the odor from your pores smells not like nervousness or exertion but exhaustion. I have experienced the teeth-chattering chill of the early morning, which never leaves despite two layers of clothing, a sweatshirt and a doctor’s coat. I remember that falling asleep at 5 a.m. for an hour before rounds does more harm than good. And I can tell you that a quick but well-timed morning shower after being up all night is the physiological equivalent of a two-hour nap.

Does More Sleep Make for Better Doctors? [NYT]

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