I know I’ve got a link to Hours Watch over to the right, but I thought I’d post this here so you’ll have a better chance at getting over there.
From their About page:
“Hours Watch is dedicated to ending excessive work hours for medical residents, and finding solutions that enhance patient care and residency education. Hours watch is jointly sponsored by the Committee of Interns and Residents, and the American Medical Student Association, organizations that have led the fight to reduce unsafe and unhealthy overwork of medical trainees.”
I really like what they’re doing and I 100% support the cause.
Head over and check it out.
I think one of the mistakes that I made when deciding to go to medical school was that I really didn’t know what to expect. I did the volunteer thing, I worked in hospitals, I transported patients, and I tried to shadow physicians as much as possible.
One thing was different, though. At the end of my “shift”, I went home. I didn’t really get to see what it was like to be a physician. At least not until I was junior medical student. It all became pretty clear at that point.
You need to realize that medicine isn’t simply a job. For the most part, it’s a lifestyle. You need to be ready to accept that if you plan on seriously pursuing medicine. Simply put, I wasn’t ready to give up my life for that.
With the exception of very few specialties, you’ll have to field pagers and phone calls after your normal work day is over. You’ll sacrifice weekends to round on patients that were admitted to the hospital, and you’ll have to get up out of bed at some ungodly hour to take care of someone no matter how tired you are.
Ask yourself if that’s where you want to be in 20 or 30 years, because unless you get really lucky you’ll still need that paycheck at the end of the month. If you love what you’re doing, it’s icing on the cake. But remember that even too much cake will get very old after many long, hard years.
Ran across Panda Bear over at the SDN forums. Here’s a great post on his blog regarding work hours.
Yes, the Hours Still Suck
Taken from HoursWatch:
“Here is my typical week.
Monday -6:00 AM to 7:00 PM — 12 – 13 Hours
Tuesday (on call)-6:00 AM to Wednesday at 6 or 7 PM – 36-37 Hours (we do not follow the 30 hour rule)
Thursday -6:00 AM to maybe 6 or 7 PM — 12 – 13 Hours
Friday -6:00AM to 6:00 PM — 12 Hours
Saturday (on call again) 7:00 AM until Sunday morning at maybe 9:00 AM. — 26 Hours
Back to work Monday at 6:00 AM…
Week Total: 98-101
These hours may even be exceeded if others call in sick or there are unexpected surgeries or traumas. What is the most appalling is the week day on calls where we are expected to work in the clinic seeing NEW patients while post call and going well over the 24/30 hour in one shift rule. Our program makes no efforts to fix this and does not report these violations to the ACGME.”
Anonymous Resident, Ohio State University
“Our program has been grossly non-compliant with work hour regulations since June 2003. While we conitinue to get lip-service regarding how the program is still working on being compliant, the truth is that there is no relief in sight. On q 4 call, I work a minimum of 34 hours, and on non-call days, the average day is 10 hours. So, overall, I work close to 90 hour weeks if I have a day off every 7 days, which doesn’t necessarily happen.”
Anonymous Resident, University of Washington
“My medical school has informed the students indirectly that the 80 hour work week does not apply to MS III and MS IV students. We could conceivably be ordererd to work 120 hours a week and if we do not we would fail that course. Could you please tell me where I could find regulations or laws about this? Any legal resources would also be appreciated.”
Anonymous Medical Student
Read more real-life stories at http://www.hourswatch.org/47yourstoriesarticle.htm
I grabbed this from the SDN forums and wanted to post it here just in case you guys haven’t seen it yet.
From the Journal of Medical Economics:
“I’m frustrated and disillusioned,I do not know one single M.D. who is happy right now, and many are actively looking for a way out. The system is all very broken. But the health plans, the insurance companies, are all more solvent than ever.”
-Dr. Patrick Lyden, UCSD Department of Neurology
“I love being a physician, but practicing medicine is extremely frustrating when I never know how much my charges will translate into actual dollars. Medicine used to be about helping people. Our system of fragmented care is broken. It’s time for the big overhaul.”
-Patricia M. Martin, MD
“I’m a practicing board-certified internist, and over the past 25 years I’ve seen catastrophic changes to the practice of medicine in the state of Pennsylvania. Even the busiest physicians have found it impossible to keep up with their monthly costs. Overhead continues to rise at exponential rates and our reimbursement continues to fall. This explains why so many physicians have fled the state. Nevertheless, at 50 years of age with an established practice, and a family devoted to remaining in this area, I struggle to enhance the finances of my practice, while finding it more and more difficult to succeed.”
-Ronald M. Block, MD
Medical Economics, Sept 2, 2005 v82 i17 p8(1)