Abnormal Working Duration Equals Poor Quality ServiceMost students who take medicine as their career course are always aware of the challenges that residency practitioners face. They say health profession is a calling, but that does not cement that health workers who practice residency should work extraordinarily longer than other health officers do. The worst thing about this overstretched working time is that the remuneration does not reflect the work done. Surely, it beats logic how one is supposed to struggle through four study years as an undergraduate, four extra years in the medical school, and when it comes to the field of work, I am supposed to brace myself for 100 hours in a week serving patients. When most trainees decide to take residency programs, they never know what lies ahead. The grueling lengthy training sessions and the results in terms of overburdening and poor pay turns what could have been bright expectations to life full or regrets.  Research shows that most residency trainees would not want to go down the same path were there a chance to make another choice afresh.

How It Came About

It all started back in the times of Dr. William Halsted who founded Graduate Medical Education. By then residents were supposed to work for 362 days annually. Their lives were confined within the perimeters of the hospital, which was to ensure that they could attend to any arising case at any time of the day. Things has changed and back in 2003, the body that oversees residency training programs which is the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has taken a step to restructure the working durations of residents in a hospital. In that year (2003), residents working hours were slashed to 80 per week, and later in 2011, they were to work for 16 hours in a day as interns.

Response to the Change

According to a survey carried in 2012 that was focused on the quality of life of the residents, education and patients’ care, the only positive feedback came from interns who found the new structure to be a bit favorable. About half of the senior residents negated the efforts of ACGME, saying that there was no improvement, and the change was even worse than the previous set up.

The effect of the changes in reality does not reduce the workload that residents have. What it achieves is to redistribute it to other residents. The workers continue with their strained lives and the patients become the losers because the quality of service they are getting from the fatigued residents is not what they are entitled to.

Probable Solutions

The two main suggestions of improving the situation were to increase the number of residents so that they can share work and get enough time to rest, or let the nonresident officers handle some jobs. Both solutions will improve healthcare because the residents will have enough time to focus on tackling issues professionally, rather than acting through instincts when trying to beat deadlines.