Institute of Medicine suggests more non-working time for medical residents

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

December 3, 2008

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has asked U.S. hospitals to look at their resident programs and ensure they are keeping patients—and residents—safe. In the recently-published report Resident Duty Hours: Enhancing Sleep, Supervision, and Safety, The IOM says that while the 80-hours a week that graduate students are allowed to work is appropriate, residents should not work a 30-hour shift without rest because doing so can lead to serious lapses in patient safety and medical errors. If a resident works more than 16 hours, he or she should be allowed a five-hour uninterrupted sleep period.

Some of the other recommendations the IOM made include ensuring that residents have enough time in between shifts that they can get an adequate amount of sleep, as well as making sure they have full days off in their schedules. Additionally, "medical moonlighting," which the IOM has defined as taking on additional medical work for pay, should be restricted by resident programs.

To read the report brief, click here.