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Medical News & Perspectives
September 1, 2010

New Rules Call for More Oversight, Fewer Hours for First-Year Residents

JAMA. 2010;304(9):950-951. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1218

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has proposed shorter shifts and greater supervision for first-year residents, as part of updated requirements on resident duty hours.

The new requirements expand on duty hour standards enacted by the ACGME in 2003, which limited the maximum weekly number of duty hours for a resident to 80 hours, averaged over 4 weeks. While the 80-hour limit remains in the new recommendations, there are more explicit instructions on how residents can spend their work hours, including more experience-specific restrictions. For example, the new standards limit first-year residents to scheduled shifts of no more than 16 hours, with a few exceptions, and requires that these individuals be supervised directly by a physician or that the supervising physician be on-site and available. First-year residents also are prohibited from moonlighting.

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