English Composition II
April 15th, 2011
The Effects of Shorter Shifts on Patient Care
An incredibly pressing issue in today’s society is the subject of healthcare, and consequently, patient care. One of the main concerns of patient care is the effect of long shifts on a doctor’s performance when dealing with patients. A New York Times article entitled, “Is a Well-Rested Doctor a Better Doctor?” addresses this very issue. The article states that there have been recent regulations put into place to limit the number of hours a doctor can work per week. While this may seem like a sure way to improve patient care, there are many problems that can arise. Some of these concerns include frequent shift changes, shift lengths and patient handoffs from one doctor to another. Special cases must also be considered when mandating a resolute, universal edict concerning shift regulations. It is therefore comprehensible that these guidelines be more flexible in dictating the number of hours a doctor can work.
In recent years there has been a growing concern over the number of hours that residents are required to work. In 2003, the organization that accredits American residency programs mandated that residences are to work no more than 80 hours a week. This was done with the expectation that these new guidelines will help significantly improve a doctor’s performance on a patient. However, there has been somewhat of a mixed response among doctors. While they are pleased that they can now lead normal social and personal lives, they are fairly anxious about leaving patients in the middle of their operations to remain within the confines of their work hours. One unidentified physician stated that “sometimes it seems so counterintuitive to just sign out as if we were shift workers, but this is all any of us know right now.” It is clear from her statement that as a doctor, she is unsure that these work hour guidelines are in the best interest of the...
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