Resident Physician Duty-hour Requirements: What Does the Public Think?

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To date, no study has reported on the public’s opinion of orthopaedic resident duty-hour requirements (DHR).


A survey was administered to people in orthopaedic waiting rooms and at three senior centers. Responses were analyzed to evaluate seven domains: knowledge of duty hours; opinions about duty hours; attitudes regarding shift work; patient safety concerns; and the effects of DHRs on continuity of care, on resident training, and on resident professionalism.


Respondents felt that fatigue was unsafe and duty hours were beneficial in preventing resident physician fatigue. They supported the idea of residents working in shifts but did not support shifts for attending physicians. However, respondents wanted the same resident to provide continuity of care, even if that violated DHRs. They were supportive of increasing the length of residency to complete training. DHRs were not believed to affect professionalism. Half of the respondents believed that patient opinion should influence policy on this topic.


Orthopaedic patients and those likely to require orthopaedic care have inconsistent opinions regarding DHRs, making it potentially difficult to incorporate their preferences into policy.

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