Residents' Work Hours.
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 09/2009; 361(9):928. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc091304
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ABSTRACT: To document fatigue in New Zealand junior doctors in hospital-based clinical training positions and identify work patterns associated with work/life balance difficulties. This workforce has had a duty limitation of 72 hours/week since 1985. The authors chose a gender-based analytical approach because of the increasing proportion of female medical graduates. The authors mailed a confidential questionnaire to all 2,154 eligible junior doctors in 2003. The 1,412 respondents were working > or = 40 hours/week (complete questionnaires from 1,366: response rate: 63%; 49% women). For each participant, the authors calculated a multidimensional fatigue risk score based on sleep and work patterns. Women were more likely to report never/rarely getting enough sleep (P < .05), never/rarely waking refreshed (P < .001), and excessive sleepiness (P < .05) and were less likely to live with children up to 12 years old (P < .001). Fatigue risk scores differed by specialty but not by gender.Fatigue risk scores in the highest tertile were an independent risk factor for reporting problems in social life (odds ratio: 3.83; 95% CI: 2.79-5.28), home life (3.37; 2.43-4.67), personal relationships (2.12; 1.57-2.86), and other commitments (3.06; 2.23-4.19).Qualitative analyses indicated a common desire among men and women for better work/life balance and for part-time work, particularly in relation to parenthood. Limitation of duty hours alone is insufficient to manage fatigue risk and difficulties in maintaining work/life balance. These findings have implications for schedule design, professional training, and workforce planning.
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ABSTRACT: Following the introduction of work-hour restrictions, residents' workload has become an important theme in postgraduate training. The efficacy of restrictions on workload, however, remains controversial, as most research has only examined objective workload. The purpose of this study was to explore the less clearly understood component of subjective workload and, in particular, the factors that influenced residents' subjective workload. This study was conducted in Japan at three community teaching hospitals. We recruited a convenience sample of 31 junior residents in seven focus groups at the three sites. Audio-recorded and transcribed data were read iteratively and analyzed thematically, identifying, analyzing and reporting themes within the data and developing an interpretive synthesis of the topic. Seven factors influenced residents' subjective workload: (1) interaction within the professional community, (2) feedback from patients, (3) being in control, (4) professional development, (5) private life, (6) interest and (7) protected free time. Our findings indicate that residents who have good interaction with colleagues and patients, are competent enough to control their work, experience personal development through working, have greater interest in their work, and have fulfilling private lives will have the least subjective workload.