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ER Shifts

Haven’t been able to get into a posting routine this week. ER shifts requires you to work all sorts of odd hours and you’re pretty exhausted by the pace of it after you’re done. You try to sleep at strange hours but never feel truly rested, because you know the next shift is just around the corner.

Just dropping a line. Will update in the next 48 hours with a post.

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  1. Barb
    Barb May 25, 2011

    I am mother of a child who is applying to med school this summer. I have been reading your blog for over half a year and want to thank you for great insights about your experiences in med school. Every time I read your blog when you mention lack of enough sleep, I am wonder if this would continue through your all professional career. I also question this practice? It has been proven that not enough sleep causes slow response, lack of concentration, more prone for mistakes etc. Should I, as a patient, ask my doctor how many hours of sleep they had within a week to judge her decision? Perhaps all the new findings about the importance of sleep should be taken into consideration and residency schedule adjusted to accommodate more time for our new doctors to sleep. It would be good if you post your thoughts on this. Keep posting and thanks again for a good blog.

    • medaholic
      medaholic May 25, 2011

      There are certain guidelines in place now to make sure residents don’t work more than 26 hours in a row. However, the reality is it’s not always carried out.
      There’s quite a bit of research into this area too of sleep deprivation on decision making. The final jury is not out yet. Furthermore, there are various issues with limiting the hours residents in training work.

      1) If residents work shorter shifts, there will be more handover of care. Everytime there is a break in continuity for patient care, there is room for errors. If everyone just came in and did their shift work, it’s easy for information to be handed over incorrectly. You very well might end up taking care of patients you know nothing about
      2) Training length – by limiting the hours worked, you have to increase the length of residency to get the same amount of training. Residency is already long enough, I don’t know many people who would rather get some sleep here and do a few extra years of residency in return.
      3) Service – residents and medical students are cheap labour. They stay up at night so more senior staff can go home at night and have a good night’s sleep. Everyone needs sleep but a hospital runs 24/7 and throughout the night. If you arrange the schedules so that doctors can get more sleep and work less hours, you have to find other doctors to cover for that missed time. However, resources are often spread thin and there is a limited supply of docs.

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