The effect at one teaching hospital of interns' workloads on the satisfaction of their patients

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PURPOSE: To explore whether the amount of workload of first-year residents (interns) affects the satisfaction of their patients. METHOD: The authors collected data from January through May 1995 for 145 patients admitted to Lexinton Veterans Affairs Medical Center with the primary diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or congestive heart failure (CHF). Workload was measured as the number of other patients for whom the intern had primary responsibility on the day of the studied patient's admission. A questionnaire measured the patients' satisfaction on the day of discharge. The authors analyzed the data using Pearson correlation and multiple linear regression. RESULTS: For the 89 patients with COPD (controlling for patient age, severity of illness, and sex of intern), greater workloads for their interns was a significant predictor of decreased patients' satisfaction (p = .001). No association was found for the 56 patients with CHF. CONCLUSION: Interns' workloads on the day their patients are admitted can influence their patients' subsequent satisfaction.

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