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Invited Critique
March 1, 2007

How Surgical Residents Spend Their Training Time—Invited Critique

Arch Surg. 2007;142(3):252. doi:10.1001/archsurg.142.3.252

Wasted time is the scourge of surgical residency. Prior to the days of restricted work hours there was no concern for how surgical residents' time was used. Consequently, we evolved abusive systems that consumed the entire life activities of our trainees in the name of “learning” patient care. Fatigue resulted from never-ending work details, resulting in medical errors that society found unacceptable. Responding to external pressure, training program certification bodies imposed work-hours restrictions. Collectively, our initial reaction was to grouse. We believed that surgeons could not learn how to care for patients with these limitations. Half-heartedly, program directors reorganized surgical services in an attempt to meet these new requirements. Few have met the challenge to fundamentally restructure the way we conduct business.

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