To the Editor.—
The recent article by Nerenz et al1 highlighted some serious problems concerning how interns spend their on-call time. Ideally, the study should also have included an analysis of how the interns spent the other 2.5 to 3.5 days of their on-call/off-call cycles. The day after their on-call duty, they may well have had to recover from that ordeal, but then they had 1.5 to 2.5 days until the next stint. That gave them time to talk with their patients, to interact with supervisors, to read—and to eat and sleep. I do not argue that how the interns spent their on-call time was appropriate or justifiable, but only that the picture that Nerenz et al gave of their hospital lives is incomplete.Years ago, interns were less harried, at least partly because they admitted patients 4 to 5 days of each week, and not just during 1
Fulop M. Residents' Patterns Admitting. Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(7):1458. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400070198034
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