A Night Float (NF) system has been implemented by many institutions to address increasing concerns about residents' work hours. The purpose of our study was to examine the perceptions of residents towards a NF system.
A 115-item questionnaire was developed to assess residents' perceptions of the NF rotation as compared with a regular call month. The categories included patient care, education, medical errors, and overall satisfaction. Internal Medicine housestaff (post-graduate years 1–3) from three hospital settings at the University of Pittsburgh completed the questionnaire.
The response rate was 90% (n = 149). Of these, 74 had completed the NF rotation. The housestaff felt that the quality of patient care was improved because of NF (41% agreed and 18% disagreed). A majority also felt that better care was provided by a rested physician in spite of being less familiar with the patient (46% agreed and 21% disagreed). Most felt that there was less emphasis on education (65%) and more emphasis on service (52%) during NF. Overall, the residents felt more rested during their call months (83%) and strongly supported the 80-hour workweek requirement (77%).
Housestaff felt that the overall quality of patient care was improved by a NF system. The perceived improved quality of care by a rested physician coupled with a perceived decrease in the emphasis on education may have significant implications in housestaff training.