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October 1989

Resident Hours: Only Work?

Author Affiliations

Milwaukee, Wis

Arch Surg. 1989;124(10):1121-1122. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1989.01410100019002

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In the United States in the 1980s we define ourselves by what we do; the focus on "work" arises from our cultural heritage. We prefer to describe ourselves, and our place in society, in terms of how we earn a living or otherwise occupy our time. Think of the conversation that usually follows an introduction to a stranger. One of the first questions we ask is "What do you do?" The answer, of course, is to define one's job. The query is not answered with a description of intellectual interests, recreational activities, or anything else. So, it is not surprising in the social and cultural context of our world that physicians tend to think of all their professionally related activities as part of their work. Similarly, residents describe as work all of their professionally related activities. But not all of the hours so described by physicians or residents truly represent

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