Limiting Resident Hours

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    I know we have a while to get to our residency but here is a article from the times limiting the hours as soon as Summer 2003. I am excited already!!

    dr . suzdr. suz

    I am so happy to hear that the issue of resident work hours is starting to come out on the public radar. However, when you think about it, an 80-hour work week still breaks down to being on-call twice during that week (24-hours max, according to the regulations), then working two 16-hour days and having one mandatory day off. I think we’re still a far cry away from humanity. New York state is the only state that already tries to protect residents legally. The Bell Commission limits work hours to 27 consecutive hours, with 8 hours between shifts. Thankfully, pediatric programs abide by these laws. Surgery residencies do not.

    Another issue is compensation. Residents average something like $32K/year (before taxes) for that amount of work. Perhaps a workable solution would be to be able to choose to work more hours (for commiserate pay) or work fewer hours. There is currently an anti-trust lawsuit that was filed this spring on behalf of medical residents against the Match because 4th year med students have no say in salary, benefits, etc. You have to sign a contract before entering the match that binds you to accepting whatever position you are assigned.


    I am so glad to hear all of this…I have at least five, and more-likely six, years to go before internship. If these laws take effect (and actually work), I will be better able to choose a specialty. I have been afraid that I would have to choose based on the lack of brutality of the residency, rather than my interests and abilities. As a 40-year-old intern with a family, choosing general surgery (for example) would simply be unrealistic, I’m afraid I’d never get through it, and even if I did, I’d be hobbling into the OR with a walker by the time I was done! (Well, not quite, and please, no offense to any 50ish surgeons out there :p ) So, while there will still be limitations for me, the new rules are potentially going to change the face of interns and residents in the US. Hopefully, making the possibility of becoming a physician less daunting to those of us who had a life before taking this road. I think we could use a few more mommd’s out there!



    I love all of this optimism that things will change…

    I don’t mean to rain on the parade…however…hospitals, teaching university hospitals, medical schools, insurance companies and more are going to fight this tooth and nail…and you know what money does…
    they don’t want to have to raise costs and that is going to be the consequence of this. Higher health care costs…

    Having been married to a surgeon, I RELATE to the hours issue…and agree that it stinks. And myself probably starting my own residence in 3 years, I would LOVE to see a change. But…

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