Impact of reduced duty hours on residents' educational satisfaction at the University of California, San Francisco

Arpana R Vidyarthi, Patricia P Katz, Susan D Wall, Robert M Wachter, Andrew D Auerbach
Academic Medicine 2006, 81 (1): 76-81

PURPOSE: To assess the impact of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education duty-hour limitations on residents' educational satisfaction.

METHOD: In 2003, the authors surveyed 164 internal medicine residents at three clinical training sites affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, after system changes were introduced to reduce duty hours. On a questionnaire that used various rating scales, residents reported the value of educational activities, frequency of administrative tasks interfering with education, and educational satisfaction after duty hours were reduced. The authors compared univariate statistics and developed multivariable models to discern the relationship between hours worked and educational outcomes.

RESULTS: In all, 125 residents (76%) responded. Residents rated the educational activities, morning report, and teaching others most highly. Answering pages and tasks related to scheduling were the most frequent barriers to educational activities. Residents reported that time spent in administrative activities did not change after duty-hour restrictions, and 68% said that decreased duty hours had no impact or a negative impact on education. In multivariable models, postgraduate year (PGY)-1 residents (p = .004), residents who reported feeling overwhelmed at work (p < .0001), and residents who reported working more than 80 hours per week (p < .05) had lower work satisfaction. However, only PGY-1 residents (p < .05) and those who felt overwhelmed with work (p = .01) were less satisfied with their education.

CONCLUSIONS: In this residency program, duty-hour reduction did not improve educational satisfaction. Educational satisfaction may be more a function of workload than hours worked; therefore, systematic changes to residents' work-life may be necessary to improve educational satisfaction.

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