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Fatigue Among Medical Residents Dangerous for Patients

Yawn The Institute of Medicine has released a new report that stresses the need for reforms to medical resident education and work hours. 

While in-depth, first-hand experience caring for patients is a critical aspect of medical education, Resident Duty Hours: Enhancing Sleep, Supervision, and Safety suggests that the long hours residents work and the resulting fatigue contribute to medical errors.  The report argues that the workloads and duty hours for residents should be revised both to protect patients from mistakes as well as to enhance the learning experience for the residents.  Specifically, the report recommends regular opportunities for sleep each day and each week during training.  It suggests that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education enhance its monitoring of duty hour limits and that residency review committees create guidelines for the patient caseloads given to residents.  The report also recommends that residency programs enhance supervision of their residents as well as improve their procedures for the handover of patients. 

More statistics on preventable medical errors located here.

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