ACGME Regulations Proven to Be Detrimental to Resident Physicians
Despite recent guidelines released by The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which attempt to reduce the number of consecutive hours logged by resident physicians, most hospital workers feel the limits have adverse effects on patient care, resident life, and education. A survey of more than 6,000 resident physicians from the New England Journal of Medicine shines light on physicians’ perceptions of the new regulations.
Previous industry news articles have pointed out that fatigued surgeons can sometimes make costly and dangerous errors, but 48 percent of survey respondents still disapprove of the new regulations. Surprisingly, 27 percent of physicians believe that patient safety has actually gotten worse since the amendments, as compared to just 20 percent who claim they have had a positive effect.
With the safety of patient care in limbo, it would be assumed that the new hours would benefit physicians, but the results of the survey show only 23 percent have reported an improvement in work schedules. According to a story from Fierce Healthcare, “The dissatisfaction comes from the sense that the junior-level workload is being shifted to more senior residents. Although 61.8 percent of interns reported their quality of life improved during the first year, 49.7 percent of senior residents reported their quality of life got worse. Regarding resident education, most residents believed that their training worsened under the new rules (40.8 percent) or remained unchanged (42.8 percent). Only a fraction (16.3 percent) thought their education improved.”
In theory, these regulations should have positively affected resident physicians’ work lives and led to improved patient care. However, research has shown that nearly half of survey respondents disapprove of the new guidelines.
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