Reducing Resident Physician Workload to Improve Well Being.
Cureus. 2019 Jun 29;11(6):e5039
Authors: Al-Kofahi M, Mohyuddin GR, Taylor ME, Eck LM
Introduction Resident physician's well-being has been postulated to worsen with longer shifts. At our institution, the admitting physician evening shift (known as short call) had been associated with higher levels of stress and reduced well-being among residents due to longer work hours and an excessive number of admissions. We introduced an intermediate swing shift to help mitigate those effects. This study sought to assess the outcomes of introducing the swing shift on the timeliness of leaving the hospital for the short call physician, and the median number of admissions done by the short call, swing shift, and night shift resident physicians. Method The swing shift was designed to cover admitting duties from 4:00 to 11:00 pm on weekdays, with support from both the short call and night shift resident physicians. Internal Medicine residents in their second or third year of training and combined Medicine/Psychiatry residents in their third, fourth or fifth year of training, were surveyed prior to the implementation of the swing shift and four-months post-implementation. Time of leaving the hospital and number of admissions before and after the introduction of the swing shift were compared. Data were recorded as frequencies and presented as medians. Results There were 27 surveys completed prior to swing shift implementation and 43 surveys completed post-implementation with a response rate of 52% and 83%, respectively. Surveys post-implementation were divided into 29 for the short call shift survey, six for the swing shift survey, and eight for the night shift survey. Residents who did not perform the short call physician duties were excluded, limiting the prior to implementation surveys from 27 to 25 and the post-implementation short call surveys from 29 to 19. Prior to swing shift implementation, the median time of leaving for the short call physician was 8:30 to 9:00 pm; the median number of admissions were four and eight, done by short call physician and night shift physician, respectively. Whereas post-swing shift implementation, the median time of leaving for short call physician was 7:00 to 7:30 pm, and for swing shift physician was 11:30 pm to midnight. The median number of admissions were two, five, and five done by the short call, swing shift, and night shift physicians, respectively. All residents reported the swing shift allowed them to take better care of patients and follow up on their tasks. Discussion and conclusion Delayed resident physicians departure at the end of their respective shift was associated with extended shifts. It is thought to be caused by an increased number of admissions, late shift admissions, and time of day shift with 4:00 to 9:00 pm being the busiest. The addition of the swing shift increased the ability of the short call resident physician to leave the hospital at the end of their shift and reduced the median number of admissions done by the short call and night shift resident physicians, hence likely improving resident's well-being while preserving the total number of admissions.
PMID: 31501731 [PubMed]