re Canadian general surgery residents ready for the 80-hour work week? A nationwide survey
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BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to describe Canadian general surgery residents' perceptions regarding potential implementation of work-hour restrictions. METHODS: An ethics review board-approved, Web-based survey was submitted to all Canadian general surgery residency programs between April and July 2009. Questions evaluated the perceived effects of an 80-hour work week on length of training, operative exposure, learning and lifestyle. We used the Fisher exact test to compare senior and junior residents' responses. RESULTS: Of 360 residents, 158 responded (70 seniors and 88 juniors). Among them, 79% reported working 75-100 hours per week. About 74% of seniors believed that limiting their work hours would decrease their operative exposure; 43% of juniors agreed (p < 0.001). Both seniors and juniors thought limiting their work hours would improve their lifestyle (86% v. 96%, p = 0.12). Overall, 60% of residents did not believe limiting work hours would extend the length of their training. Regarding 24-hour call, 60% of juniors thought it was hazardous to their health; 30% of seniors agreed (p = 0.001). Both senior and junior residents thought abolishing 24-hour call would decrease their operative exposure (84% v. 70%, p = 0.21). Overall, 31% of residents supported abolishing 24-hour call. About 47% of residents (41% seniors, 51%juniors, p = 0.26) agreed with the adoption of the 80-hour work week. CONCLUSION: There is a training-level based dichotomy of opinion among general surgery residents in Canada regarding the perceived effects of work hour restrictions. Both groups have voted against abolishing 24-hour call, and neither group strongly supports the implementation of the 80-hour work week.
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