Despite evidence that international clinical electives can be educationally and professionally beneficial to both visiting and in-country trainees, these opportunities remain challenging for American residents to participate in abroad. Additionally, even when logistically possible, they are often poorly structured. The Universities of Washington (UW) and Nairobi (UoN) have enjoyed a long-standing research collaboration, which recently expanded into the UoN Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI). Based on MEPI in Kenya, the Clinical Education Partnership Initiative (CEPI) is a new educational exchange program between UoN and UW. CEPI allows UW residents to partner with Kenyan trainees in clinical care and teaching activities at Naivasha District Hospital (NDH), one of UoN’s MEPI training sites in Kenya.
UW and UoN faculty collaborated to create a curriculum and structure for the program. A Chief Resident from the UW Department of Medicine coordinated the program at NDH. From August 2012 through April 2014, 32 UW participants from 5 medical specialties spent between 4 and 12 weeks working in NDH. In addition to clinical duties, all took part in formal and informal educational activities. Before and after their rotations, UW residents completed surveys evaluating clinical competencies and cross-cultural educational and research skills. Kenyan trainees also completed surveys after working with UW residents for three months.
UW trainees reported a significant increase in exposure to various tropical and other diseases, an increased sense of self-reliance, particularly in a resource-limited setting, and an improved understanding of how social and cultural factors can affect health. Kenyan trainees reported both an increase in clinical skills and confidence, and an appreciation for learning a different approach to patient care and professionalism.
After participating in CEPI, both Kenyan and US trainees noted improvement in their clinical knowledge and skills and a broader understanding of what it means to be clinicians. Through structured partnerships between institutions, educational exchange that benefits both parties is possible.
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International; Clinical rotation; Medical education; Residents; Kenya
Recent meta-analyses have found small-moderate positive associations between general performance in medical school and postgraduate medical education. In addition, a couple of studies have found an association between poor performance in medical school and disciplinary action against practicing doctors. The aim of this study was to examine if a sample of Danish residents in difficulty tended to struggle already in medical school, and to determine whether administratively observable performance indicators in medical school could predict difficulties in residency.
The study design was a cumulative incidence matched case–control study. The source population was all active specialist trainees, who were medical school graduates from Aarhus University, in 2010 to June 2013 in two Danish regions. Cases were doctors who decelerated, transferred, or dropped out of residency. Cases and controls were matched for graduation year. Medical school exam failures, grades, completion time, and academic dispensations as predictors of case status were examined with conditional logistic regression.
In total 89 cases and 343 controls were identified. The total number of medical school re-examinations and the time it took to complete medical school were significant individual predictors of subsequent difficulties (deceleration, transferral or dropout) in residency whereas average medical school grades were not.
Residents in difficulty eventually reached similar competence levels as controls during medical school; however, they needed more exam attempts and longer time to complete their studies, and so seemed to be slower learners. A change from “fixed-length variable-outcome programmes” to “fixed-outcome variable-length programmes” has been proposed as a way of dealing with the fact that not all learners reach the same level of competence for all activities at exactly the same time. This study seems to support the logic of such an approach to these residents in difficulty.
Medical school performance; Postgraduate training; Problem residents; Residents in difficulty; Case–control study; Assessment
International medical students, those attending medical school outside of their country of citizenship, account for a growing proportion of medical undergraduates worldwide. This study aimed to establish the fairness, predictive validity and acceptability of Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) in an internationally diverse student population.
This was an explanatory sequential, mixed methods study. All students in First Year Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway 2012 were eligible to sit a previously validated 10 station MMI. Quantitative data comprised: demographics, selection tool scores and First Year Assessment scores. Qualitative data comprised separate focus groups with MMI Assessors, EU and Non-EU students.
109 students participated (45% of class). Of this 41.3% (n = 45) were Non-EU and 35.8% (n = 39) did not have English as first language. Age, gender and socioeconomic class did not impact on MMI scores. Non-EU students and those for whom English was not a first language achieved significantly lower scores on MMI than their EU and English speaking counterparts (difference in mean 11.9% and 12.2% respectively, P<0.001). MMI score was associated with English language proficiency (IELTS) (r = 0.5, P<0.01). Correlations emerged between First Year results and IELTS (r = 0.44; p = 0.006; n = 38) and EU school exit exam (r = 0.52; p<0.001; n = 56). MMI predicted EU student OSCE performance (r = 0.27; p = 0.03; n = 64). In the analysis of focus group data two overarching themes emerged: Authenticity and Cultural Awareness. MMI was considered a highly authentic assessment that offered a deeper understanding of the applicant than traditional tools, with an immediate relevance to clinical practice. Cultural specificity of some stations and English language proficiency were seen to disadvantage international students. Recommendations included cultural awareness training for MMI assessors, designing and piloting culturally neutral stations, lengthening station duration and providing high quality advance information to candidates.
MMI is a welcome addition to assessment armamentarium for selection, particularly with regard to stakeholder acceptability. Understanding the mediating and moderating influences for differences in performance of international candidates is essential to ensure that MMI complies with the metrics of good assessment practice and principles of both distributive and procedural justice for all applicants, irrespective of nationality and cultural background.
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Multiple mini interview; Selection; International students; Mixed methods; Culture; Language; Recommendations; Stakeholder views
Students’ motivation provides a powerful tool to maximise learning. The reasons for motivation can be articulated in view of self-determination theory (SDT). This theory proposes that for students to be motivated and hence benefit educationally and professionally from courses, three key elements are needed: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In this paper we apply SDT theory to consider medical students’ motivation to participate throughout a 2014 optional summer intensive eight week elective anatomy by whole body dissection course. The course was designed and facilitated by surgeons, and required small group, active learning.
At the end of the course, data were collected from all (24/24) students by means of an open ended survey questionnaire. Framework analysis was used to code and categorise data into themes.
Utilising self-determination theory as a theoretical framework, students’ motivation and experiences of participation in the course were explored. Elements that facilitated students’ motivation included the enthusiasm and expertise of the surgeons, the sense of collegiality and community within the course, the challenges of group activities, and sense of achievement through frequent assessments.
The team learning course design, and facilitation by surgeons, provided an enriched learning environment, motivating students to build on their knowledge and apply a surgical context to their learning.
Research activities for medical students and residents (trainees) are expected to serve as a foundation for the acquisition of basic research skills. Some medical schools therefore recommend research work as partial requirement for certification. However medical trainees have many difficulties concerning research, for which reason potential remedial strategies need to be constantly developed and tested. The views of medical trainees are assessed followed by their use and appraisal of a novel “self-help” tool designed for the purposes of this study with potential for improvement and a wider application.
This study was a cross-sectional survey of volunteering final-year medical students and residents of a medical school in Cameroon.
This study surveyed the opinions of a total of 120 volunteers of which 82 (68%) were medical students. Three out of 82 (4%) medical students reported they had participated in research activities with a publication versus 10 out of 38 residents (26%). The reported difficulties in research for these trainees included referencing of material (84%), writing a research proposal (79%), searching for literature (73%) and knowledge of applicable statistical tests (72%) amongst others. All participants declared the “self-help” tool was simple to use, guided them to think and better understand their research focus.
Medical trainees require much assistance on research and some “self-help” tools such as the template used in this study might be a useful adjunct to didactic lectures.
Medical trainees; Novel self-help template
The UK medical graduates of 2008 and 2009 were among the first to experience a fully implemented, new, UK training programme, called the Foundation Training Programme, for junior doctors. We report doctors’ views of the first Foundation year, based on comments made as part of a questionnaire survey covering career choices, plans, and experiences.
Postal and email based questionnaires about career intentions, destinations and views were sent in 2009 and 2010 to all UK medical graduates of 2008 and 2009. This paper is a qualitative study of ‘free-text’ comments made by first-year doctors when invited to comment, if they wished, on any aspect of their work, education, training, and future.
The response rate to the surveys was 48% (6220/12952); and 1616 doctors volunteered comments. Of these, 61% wrote about their first year of training, 35% about the working conditions they had experienced, 33% about how well their medical school had prepared them for work, 29% about their future career, 25% about support from peers and colleagues, 22% about working in medicine, and 15% about lifestyle issues. When concerns were expressed, they were commonly about the balance between service provision, administrative work, and training and education, with the latter often suffering when it conflicted with the needs of medical service provision. They also wrote that the quality of a training post often depended on the commitment of an individual senior doctor. Service support from seniors was variable and some respondents complained of a lack of team work and team ethic. Excessive hours and the lack of time for reflection and career planning before choices about the future had to be made were also mentioned. Some doctors wrote that their views were not sought by their hospital and that NHS management structures did not lend themselves to efficiency. UK graduates from non-UK homes felt insecure about their future career prospects in the UK. There were positive comments about opportunities to train flexibly.
Although reported problems should be considered in the wider context, in which the majority held favourable overall views, many who commented had been disappointed by aspects of their first year of work. We hope that the concerns raised by our respondents will prompt trainers, locally, to determine, by interaction with junior staff, whether or not these are concerns in their own training programme.
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Medical careers; Junior doctors; Medical education; Foundation training
Internationally, recruiting the best candidates is central to the success of postgraduate training programs and the quality of the medical workforce. So far there has been little theoretically informed research considering selection systems from the perspective of the candidates. We explored candidates’ perception of the fairness of a National Assessment Centre (NAC) approach for selection into Australian general practice training, where candidates were assessed by a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) and a written Situational Judgment Test (SJT), for suitability to undertake general practice (GP) training.
In 2013, 1,930 medical practitioners, who were eligible to work in Australia attended one of 14 NACs in each of 5 states and 2 territories. A survey was distributed to each candidate at the conclusion of their assessment, which included open-ended questions aimed at eliciting candidates’ perceived benefits and challenges of the selection process. A framework analysis was informed by the theoretical lens of Social Validity Theory.
Qualitative data was available from 46% (n = 886/1,930) of candidates, who found the NAC experience fair and informative for their training and career goals, but wanted to be provided with more information in preparation. Candidates valued being able to communicate their skills during the MMI, but found some difficulty in interpreting the questions. A significant minority had concerns that a lack of relevant GP experience may inhibit their performance. Candidates also expressed concerns about the time limits within the written paper, particularly if English was not their first language. They also expressed a desire for formative feedback during the interview process.
During any job selection process, not only is the organisation assessing the candidates, but the candidates are also assessing the organisation. However, a focus on the candidate experience throughout an organisation’s selection process may provide benefits to both candidates and the organisation, regardless of whether or not candidates secured the job. Social Validity Theory is a useful addition to the methods for demonstrating the reasonableness of any selection system.
Social validity; Postgraduate medical training; Assessment centre; Multiple-mini-interview; Situational judgement test; General practice; Selection; Admissions
The acquisition of procedural skills is an essential component of learning for medical trainees. The objective of this study was to assess which teaching method of performing urinary catheterisation is associated with most efficient procedural skill acquisition and retention. We evaluated factors affecting acquisition and retention of skills when using simulators as adjuncts to medical training.
Forty-two second year medical students were taught urinary catheter insertion using different teaching methods. The interactive group (n = 19) were taught using a lecture format presentation and a high fidelity human urinary catheter simulator. They were provided with the use of simulators prior to examination. The observer group (n = 12) were taught using the same method but without with simulator use prior to examination. The didactic group (n = 11) were taught using the presentation alone. Student characteristics such as hand dexterity and IQ were measured to assess for intrinsic differences. All students were examined at four weeks to measure skill retention.
Catheter scores were significantly higher in the interactive group (p < 0.005). Confidence scores with catheter insertion were similar at index exam however were significantly lower in the didactic group at the retention testing (p < 0.05). Retention scores were higher in the interactive group (p < 0.001). A significant positive correlation was observed between laparoscopy scores and time to completion with overall catheter score (p < 0.05). Teaching method, spatial awareness and time to completion of laparoscopy were significantly associated with higher catheter scores at index exam (p = 0.001). Retention scores at 4 weeks were significantly associated with teaching method and original catheter score (p = 0.001).
The importance of simulators in teaching a complex procedural skill has been highlighted. Didactic teaching method was associated with a significantly higher rate of learning decay at retention testing.
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Simulation; High fidelity simulators; Skill acquistion; Surgical training; Skill retention; Learning decay
Portfolios are increasingly used in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. Four medical schools have collaborated with an established NHS electronic portfolio provider to develop and implement an authentic professional electronic portfolio for undergraduate students. We hypothesized that using an authentic portfolio would have significant advantages for students, particularly in familiarizing them with the tool many will continue to use for years after graduation. This paper describes the early evaluation of this undergraduate portfolio at two participating medical schools.
To gather data, a questionnaire survey with extensive free text comments was used at School 1, and three focus groups were held at School 2. This paper reports thematic analysis of students’ opinions expressed in the free text comments and focus groups.
Five main themes, common across both schools were identified. These concerned the purpose, use and acceptability of the portfolio, advantages of and barriers to the use of the portfolio, and the impacts on both learning and professional identity.
An authentic portfolio mitigated some of the negative aspects of using a portfolio, and had a positive effect on students’ perception of themselves as becoming past of the profession. However, significant barriers to portfolio use remained, including a lack of understanding of the purpose of a portfolio and a perceived damaging effect on feedback.
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Portfolio; Assessment; Feedback; Transition; Enculturation
India has witnessed rapid growth in its number of medical schools over the last few decades, particularly in recent years. One dominant feature of this growth has been expansion in the private medical education sector. At this point it is relevant to trace historically and geographically the changing role of public and private sectors in Indian medical education system.
The information on medical schools and sociodemographic indicators at provincial, district and sub-district (taluks) level were retrieved from available online databases. A digital map of medical schools was plotted on a geo-referenced map of India. The growth of medical schools in public and private sectors was tracked over last seven decades using line diagrams and thematic maps. The growth of medical schools in context of geographic distribution and access across the poorer and relatively richer provinces as well as the country’s districts and taluks was explored using geographic information system. Finally candidate geographic areas, identified for intervention from equity perspective were plotted on the map of India.
The study presents findings of 355 medical schools in India that enrolled 44250 students in 2012. Private sector owned 195 (54.9%) schools and enrolled 24205 (54.7%) students in the same year. The 18 poorly performing provinces (population 620 million, 51.3%) had only 94 (26.5%) medical schools. The presence of the private sector was significantly lower in poorly performing provinces where it owned 38 (40.4%) medical schools as compared to 157 (60.2%) schools in better performing provinces. The distances to medical schools from taluks in poorly performing provinces were longer [median 65.1 kilometres (km)] than from taluks in better performing provinces (median 41.2 km). Taluks farthest from a medical school were, situated in economically poorer districts with poor health indicators, a lower standard of living index and low levels of urbanization.
The distribution of medical schools in India is skewed in the favour of areas (provinces, districts and taluks) with better indicators of health, urbanization, standards of living and economic prosperity. This particular distribution was most evident in the case of private sector schools set up in recent decades.
Geographic information system (GIS); Private medical schools; Access; India
In order to determine whether the CanMEDS roles could be helpful in solidifying knowledge during clinical training, we examined quality of care issues identified during morbidity and mortality (M&M) rounds.
During the M&M rounds, following the case presentation, there was a pause and attendees were asked to identify quality of care issues that were present in the case. The attendees were assigned to a CanMEDS prompted group or non-prompted group. Following the rounds, the issues were identified, coded according to CanMEDS role, and compared between groups.
A total of 111 individuals identified a total of 350 issues; 57 individuals were in the CanMEDS-prompted group and 54 were in the unprompted group. The mean number of issues identified was significantly higher in the CanMEDS-prompted group compared to the unprompted group (3.7 versus 2.6, p = 0.039). There were significantly more issues raised in the prompted group for the roles of communicator, collaborator, scholar and professional.
Using CanMEDS roles as prompts, attendees at M&M rounds identify more quality of care issues than if not given a prompt. Use of the CanMEDS framework may assist learners to consolidate the linkage between expected training objectives and the complexities of clinical practice.
Morbidity and mortality; CanMEDS; Quality of care
A validated and reliable instrument was developed to knowledge, attitudes and behaviours with respect to evidence-based practice (EBB-KABQ) in medical trainees but requires further adaptation and validation to be applied across different health professionals.
A modified 33-item evidence-based practice scale (EBP-KABQ) was developed to evaluate EBP perceptions and behaviors in clinicians. An international sample of 673 clinicians interested in treatment of pain (mean age = 45 years, 48% occupational therapists/physical therapists, 25% had more than 5 years of clinical training) completed an online English version of the questionnaire and demographics. Scaling properties (internal consistency, floor/ceiling effects) and construct validity (association with EBP activities, comparator constructs) were examined. A confirmatory factor analysis was used to assess the 4-domain structure EBP knowledge, attitudes, behavior, outcomes/decisions).
The EBP-KABQ scale demonstrated high internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.85), no evident floor/ceiling effects, and support for a priori construct validation hypotheses. A 4-factor structure provided the best fit statistics (CFI =0.89, TLI =0.86, and RMSEA = 0.06).
The EBP-KABQ scale demonstrates promising psychometric properties in this sample. Areas for improvement are described.
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Evidence-based; Scale; Self-reported; Validation; Clinician
At Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM), the Robert R. Frank Student Run Free Clinic (SRFC) is one place preclinical students can gain clinical experience. There have been no published studies to date measuring the impact of student-run free clinic (SRFC) volunteerism on clinical skills development in preclinical medical students.
Surveys were given to first year medical students at WSU SOM at the beginning and end of Year 1 to assess perception of clinical skills, including self-confidence, self-reflection, and professionalism. Scores of the Year 1 Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) were compared between SRFC volunteers and non-volunteers.
There were a total of 206 (68.2%) and 80 (26.5%) survey responses at the beginning and end of Year 1, respectively. Of the 80 students, 31 (38.7%) volunteered at SRFC during Year 1. Statistically significant differences were found between time points in self-confidence (p < 0.001) in both groups. When looking at self-confidence in skills pertaining to SRFC, the difference between groups was statistically significant (p = 0.032) at both time points. A total of 302 students participated in the Year 1 OSCE, 27 (9%) of which were SRFC volunteers. No statistically significant differences were found between groups for mean score (p = 0.888) and established level of rapport (p = 0.394).
While this study indicated no significant differences in clinical skills in students who volunteer at the SRFC, it is a first step in attempting to measure clinical skill development outside of the structured medical school setting. The findings lend themselves to development of research designs, clinical surveys, and future studies to measure the impact of clinical volunteer opportunities on clinical skills development in future physicians.
Since 1 July 2012, as a result of a labour arbitration ruling in the province of Quebec and the subsequent agreement negotiated by the Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec, all 3,400 medical residents training in Quebec have been on a 16-hour duty schedule for in-house calls. This is a major change within medical teaching sites, as well as a professional and educational challenge for physicians-in-training and their supervisors. The Quebec ruling now raises similar issues for all medical residents in Canada because of its legal basis, namely the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Duty hour restrictions for residency training were implemented in the United States to improve residents’ educational experience and quality of life, as well as to improve patient care and safety; however, these restrictions are by no means problem-free. In this paper, we discuss the positive and negative aspects of duty hour restrictions, briefly highlighting research on the impact of reduced duty hours and the experiences of American residents. We also consider whether certain specialties (e.g., Emergency Medicine, Radiology) may be more amenable than others (e.g., Surgery) to duty hour restrictions. We conclude that feedback from residents is a crucial element that must be considered in any future attempts to strike a balance between reducing fatigue and enhancing education.
Since August 2009, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom has faced the challenge of delivering training for junior doctors within a 48-hour working week, as stipulated by the European Working Time Directive and legislated in the UK by the Working Time Regulations 1998. Since that time, widespread concern has been expressed about the impact of restricted duty hours on the quality of postgraduate medical training in the UK, particularly in the “craft” specialties – that is, those disciplines in which trainees develop practical skills that are best learned through direct experience with patients. At the same time, specialist training in the UK has experienced considerable change since 2007 with the introduction of competency-based specialty curricula, workplace-based assessment, and the annual review of competency progression. The challenges presented by the reduction of duty hours include increased pressure on doctors-in-training to provide service during evening and overnight hours, reduced interaction with supervisors, and reduced opportunities for learning. This paper explores these challenges and proposes potential responses with respect to the reorganization of training and service provision.
The working hours of junior doctors have been a focus of discussion in Australia since the mid-1990s. Several national organizations, including the Australian Medical Association (AMA), have been prominent in advancing this agenda and have collected data (most of which is self-reported) on the working hours of junior doctors over the last 15 years. Overall, the available data indicate that working hours have fallen in a step-wise fashion, and AMA data suggest that the proportion of doctors at high risk of fatigue may be declining. It is likely that these changes reflect significant growth in the number of medical graduates, more detailed specifications regarding working hours in industrial agreements, and a greater focus on achieving a healthy work–life balance. It is notable that reductions in junior doctors’ working hours have occurred despite the absence of a national regulatory framework for working hours. Informed by a growing international literature on working hours and their relation to patient and practitioner safety, accreditation bodies such as the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) and the Australian Medical Council (AMC) are adjusting their standards to encourage improved work and training practices.
The widespread implementation of resident work hour restrictions has led to significant alterations in surgical training and the postgraduate educational experience. We evaluated the experience of surgical residency programs as reflected in the literature from 2008 onward in order to summarize current challenges and identify key areas in need of further research.
We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE for English-language articles published from January 2008 to December 2011 related to work hour restrictions in surgical residency programs, including those pertaining to personal well-being, education and training, patient care, and faculty experiences.
We retrieved 240 unique abstracts and included 24 studies in the current review. Of the 10 studies examining effects on operating room experience, 4 reported negative or mixed outcomes and 6 reported neutral outcomes, although non-compliance was demonstrated in 2 of these studies. Effects on surgical faculty perceptions were consistently reported as negative, while the effect on patient outcomes and professionalism were found to be neutral and unchanged.
Further studies are needed to characterize operative experience at varying levels of training, particularly in the context of strict adherence to new work hours. Research that examines the effect of the work hour limitations on professionalism and non-operative educational activities, such as reading and simulation-based training, as well as sign-over practices, would also be of benefit.
Understanding medical professionalism and its evaluation is essential to ensuring that physicians graduate with the requisite knowledge and skills in this domain. It is important to consider the context in which behaviours occur, along with tensions between competing values and the individual’s approach to resolving such conflicts. However, too much emphasis on behaviours can be misleading, as they may not reflect underlying attitudes or professionalism in general. The same behaviour can be viewed and evaluated quite differently, depending on the situation. These concepts are explored and illustrated in this paper in the context of duty hour regulations. The regulation of duty hours creates many conflicts that must be resolved, and yet their resolution is often hidden, especially when compliance with or violation of regulations carries significant consequences. This article challenges attending physicians and the medical education community to reflect on what we value in our trainees and the attributions we make regarding their behaviours. To fully support our trainees’ development as professionals, we must create opportunities to teach them the valuable skills they will need to achieve balance in their lives.
[P]rofessionalism has no meaningful existence independent of the interactions that give it form and meaning. There is great folly in thinking otherwise.
Hafferty and Levinson (2008)
Understanding and evaluating professionalism is essential to excellence in medical education and is mandated by organizations that oversee medical training . Historically, attention has been focused largely on the professionalism of individual students or residents, at least for the purposes of evaluation. Yet there is now a growing appreciation that professionalism can be defined, understood, and evaluated from multiple perspectives . Importantly, context has been recognized as critical to shaping trainees’ behaviours, and hence as important to our understanding of them . A restriction in duty hours for trainees is clearly an important environmental and contextual factor to consider in evaluating professional behaviour. In this paper I will review some key issues with respect to understanding and evaluating professionalism, and then discuss these in the context of duty hour reform. Readers should note that this is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the literature of either professionalism or duty hour reform, but rather a critical narrative review that uses selected articles.
As junior doctors work shorter hours in light of concerns about the harmful effects of fatigue on physician performance and health, it is imperative to consider how to ensure that patient safety is not compromised by breaks in the continuity of care. By reconceptualizing handover as a necessary bridge to continuity, and hence to safer patient care, the model of continuity-enhanced handovers has the potential to allay fears and improve patient care in an era of increasing fragmentation. “Continuity-enhanced handovers” differ from traditional handovers in several key aspects, including quality of information transferred, greater professional responsibility of senders and receivers, and a different philosophy of “coverage.” Continuity during handovers is often achieved through scheduling and staffing to maximize the provision of care by members of the primary team who have first-hand knowledge of patients. In this way, senders and receivers often engage in intra-team handovers, which can result in the accumulation of greater common ground or shared understanding of the patients they collectively care for through a series of repeated interactions. However, because maximizing team continuity is not always possible, other strategies such as cultivating high-performance teams, making handovers active learning opportunities, and monitoring performance during handovers are also important. Medical educators and clinicians should work toward adopting and testing principles of continuity-enhanced handovers in their local practices and share successes so that innovation and learning may spread easily among institutions and practices.
The reduction in the working hours of doctors represents a challenge to the delivery of medical care to acutely sick patients 24 hours a day. Increasing the number of doctors to support multiple specialty rosters is not the solution for economic or organizational reasons. This paper outlines an alternative, economically viable multidisciplinary solution that has been shown to improve patient outcomes and provides organizational consistency. The change requires strong clinical leadership, with organizational commitment to both cultural and structural change. Careful attention to ensuring the teams possess the appropriate competencies, implementing a reliable process to identify the sickest patients and escalate their care, and structuring rotas efficiently are essential features of success.
Fuelled by concerns about resident health and patient safety, there is a general trend in many jurisdictions toward limiting the maximum duration of consecutive work to between 14 and 16 hours. The goal of this article is to assist institutions and residency programs to make a smooth transition from the previous 24- to 36-hour call system to this new model. We will first give an overview of the main types of coverage systems and their relative merits when considering various aspects of patient care and resident pedagogy. We will then suggest a practical step-by-step approach to designing, implementing, and monitoring a scheduling system centred on clinical and educational needs in the context of resident duty hour reform. The importance of understanding the impetus for change and of assessing the need for overall workflow restructuring will be explored throughout this process. Finally, as a practical example, we will describe a large, university-based teaching hospital network’s transition from a traditional call-based system to a novel schedule that incorporates the new 16-hour duty limit.
Patient safety is a powerful motivating force for change in modern medicine, and is often cited as a rationale for reducing resident duty hours. However, current data suggest that resident duty hours are not significantly linked to important patient outcomes. We performed a narrative review and identified four potential explanations for these findings. First, we question the relevance of resident fatigue in the creation of harmful errors. Second, we discuss factors, including workload, experience, and individual characteristics, that may be more important determinants of resident fatigue than are duty hours. Third, we describe potential adverse effects that may arise from – and, therefore, counterbalance any potential benefits of – duty hour reductions. Fourth, we explore factors that may mitigate any risks to patient safety associated with using the services of resident trainees.
In summary, it may be inappropriate to justify a reduction in working hours on the grounds of a presumed linkage between patient safety and resident duty hours. Better understanding of resident-related factors associated with patient safety will be essential if improvements in important patient safety outcomes are to be realized through resident-focused strategies.
The medical establishment is grappling with the complex issue of duty hour regulations – an issue that is a natural consequence of the numerous changes in medical culture and practice that have occurred over the course of decades. Sleep deprivation resulting from long duty hours has a recognized impact on resident health and wellness. This paper will briefly outline the evolution of the concept of well-being in residency, review the specific theme of fatigue management within that context, and describe strategies that may be used to mitigate and manage fatigue, as well as approaches that may be taken to adapt to new scheduling models such as night float. Finally, the paper will call for a change in the culture in our workplaces and among our residents and faculty to one that promotes good health and ensures that we maintain a fit and sustainable medical workforce.