All work and no play: Addressing medical students’ concerns about duty hours on the surgical clerkship

Trevor J. Barnum, Amy L. Halverson, Irene Helenowski, David D. Odell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Given the option of preferencing rotations for a 3rd year core surgery clerkship, we observed students often requested services perceived as less time-intensive. We compare self-reported duty hours with academic outcomes. Methods: We examined duty hours from 165 third-year medical students on a surgery clerkship at a single institution for academic year 2016–2017. Partial correlations and logistic regression modeling were used to assess the number of hours medical students worked on academic outcomes. Results: Medical student duty hours did not significantly correlate with the NBME Surgery Subject examination score (r = 0.08; p = 0.34), CPE score (r = 0.14; p = 0.09) or a clerkship grade of Honors (OR 0.993; CI 0.925–1.065). Prior completion of an internal medicine clerkship was correlated with a higher NBME Surgery Subject examination score (r = 0.27; p < 0.001). Conclusion: This analysis demonstrates duty hours on a surgical clerkship do not correlate with academic performance. These data can be used to counsel students on career planning and choosing surgical rotations based on interest and not perceived workload.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-423
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Academic outcomes
  • Clerkship
  • Duty hours
  • Medical students
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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