How important is it for doctors to rest up?

Well-rested doctors don’t necessarily make for healthier patients, study shows

Over the last decade, the training of young doctors has changed significantly, the New York Times reports: in the U.S., work-hour guidelines have existed since 1989, but it wasn’t until 2003 that national guidelines limited residents to working no more than 80 hours per week. And a new mandate, which is going into effect in July, also adds a series of specialty-specific rules detailing everything from length of shifts and rest periods, to “optimal” clinical loads and acceptable exceptions to these work-hour rules. In the European Union, junior doctors are facing even tighter regulations: since 2009, doctors-in-training have been restricted to working no more than 52 hours per week, and starting in 2012, the limit will be 48 hours. But according to a new report in the British Medical Journal that reviewed all the data on restricting resident work hours in the U.S. and Europe, neither side might be right: lifestyle of junior doctors seems to have improved, but decreasing their fatigue has had little, if any, effect on how their patients fare.

New York Times

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