BEACON TRANSCRIPT – On Friday, the officials at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education announced the changing of the guidelines that established the working rules which involve medical school graduates. Now, first year doctors would be allowed to work 24 hours long shifts during their training.
Fresh doctors will work long shifts
The new guidelines will start being enforced on July 1st. The officials explained that they took such measures to avoid the confusion occurring when doctors changed shifts. When a doctor handed a patient over to another doctor, the disruptions usually were not for the benefit of the patients.
The rules stay the same for residents even after they finish the first year. Also, the guidelines come with a new regulation which does not allow residents to work for more than 80 hours per week. However, these guidelines spiced many controversies.
The proposal meets strong opposition
People oppose too many working hours for inexperienced residents who might not cope with too much pressure and tiredness. Long shifts for residents have been frowned upon for 30 years, since a patient died in a New York hospital while being in the care of residents.
Dr. Michael A. Carome, the director of health research at Public Citizen, is one of those who oppose too many working hours for residents. He brought as arguments the fact that people who had been deprived of sleep can have defective memory and problems with their motor skills. Such problems are met more often in people who are inexperienced.
Shorter shifts did not improve patient care
The officials declared that they had the same opinion, and did not allow residents to work in shifts longer than 16 hours. Thus, they hoped for a better care of the patients, but these hopes had not been fulfilled.
To avoid any confusion, the officials clarified their proposals. First year residents do not have to work for 24 hours straight, but they may be asked or may choose to prolong their shifts. Previous studies that shorter shifts did not improve the medical care offered for the patients, and some residents declared that they would prefer the option of longer shifts.
Twenty-four hours long shifts might be found too tiring by some health experts, but they might improve the medical services offered by residents and they might avoid the confusions created when handing patients over between doctors.
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