Association of workload of on-call medical interns with on-call sleep duration, shift duration, and participation in educational activities

Vineet M. Arora, Emily Georgitis, Juned Siddique, Ben Vekhter, James N. Woodruff, Holly J. Humphrey, David O. Meltzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context: Further restrictions in resident duty hours are being considered, and it is important to understand the association between workload, sleep loss, shift duration, and the educational time of on-call medical interns. Objective: To assess whether increased on-call intern workload, as measured by the number of new admissions on-call and the number of previously admitted patients remaining on the service, was associated with reductions in on-call sleep, increased total shift duration, and lower likelihood of participation in educational activities. Design, Setting, and Participants: Prospective cohort study of medical interns at a single US academic medical center from July 1, 2003, through June 24, 2005. Of the 81 interns, 56 participated (69%), for a total of 165 general medicine inpatient months resulting in 1100 call nights. Main Outcome Measures: On-call sleep duration, estimated by wrist watch actigraphy; total shift duration, measured from paging logs; and participation in educational activities (didactic lectures or bedside teaching), measured by experience sampling method via a personal digital assistant. Results: Mean (SD) sleep duration on-call was 2.8 (1.5) hours and mean (SD) shift duration was 29.9 (1.7) hours. Interns reported spending 11% of their time in educational activities. Early in the academic year ( July to October), each new on-call admission was associated with less sleep (-10.5 minutes [95% confidence interval {CI}, -16.8 to -4.2 minutes]; P<.001) and a longer shift duration (13.2 minutes [95% CI, 3.2-23.3 minutes]; P=.01). A higher number of previously admitted patients remaining on the service was associated with a lower odds of participation in educational activities (odds ratio, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.70-0.96]; P=.01]. Call nights during the week and early in the academic year were associated with the most sleep loss and longest shift durations. Conclusion: In this study population, increased on-call workload was associated with more sleep loss, longer shift duration, and a lower likelihood of participation in educational activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1146-1153
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume300
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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