Napping could be crucial in minimizing fatigue-related medical errors

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

January 4, 2012

An ongoing study is testing whether short, onsite naps, rather than further restrictions on work hours, may hold the key to preventing fatigue-related medical errors. The study's method, which requires residents to completely hand off responsibility during their assigned nap time, indicates a simple reduction in work hours may not be the answer to error prevention.

The updated national restrictions on the number of hours medical residents can work, implemented in 2003, reduced the work week from 100 hours to 80 hours total, and bars residents from working more than 30 hours continuously. Although studies have shown that sleep-deprived workers make more mistakes and perform worse than well-rested workers, there are no studies that clearly demonstrate a correlation between the restrictions on work hours and a decrease in mistakes

Source: TIME