Study objective: To describe the outcomes of switching housestaff from a traditional model of “long-call” every 4 days to a 14-h work-shift model in a medical ICU (MICU) over a 5-week pilot period.
Design: Retrospective comparison of a 5-week pilot period for a 14-h work-shift model vs a 4-month period for the traditional model.
Setting: The MICU of a tertiary medical center.
Participants: A total of 626 patients admitted to the MICU and 34 internal medicine residents taking care of them.
Measurements: Severity-adjusted patient outcomes, housestaff performance on end-of-rotation examinations, and scheduled duty hours during the 5-week 14-h work-shift pilot period compared to a 16-week traditional nonpilot work period.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences in patients’ adjusted mortality rates, hospital lengths of stay, or housestaff performance on end-of-rotation knowledge assessment examinations between the pilot and nonpilot periods. During the pilot period, each resident was scheduled to work for an average of 61.3 h weekly, and each fellow for 65.3 h weekly. In comparison, each resident and fellow was scheduled to work for an average of 73.3 h weekly during the nonpilot period.
Conclusions: The 14-h work shift is a feasible option for housestaff rotation in the MICU. Although the power of our study to detect significant differences in mortality, length of stay, and educational outcomes was low, there was no evidence of compromised patient care or housestaff education associated with the 14-h shift model over the course of this 5-week pilot study.