0
Medical Ethics |

Twenty-four-Hour Intensivist Staffing in Teaching HospitalsTwenty-four-Hour Intensivist Staffing: Tensions Between Safety Today and Safety Tomorrow

Meeta Prasad Kerlin, MD, MSCE; Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine (Drs Kerlin and Halpern); the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Dr Halpern), Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (Dr Halpern); and the Center for Bioethics (Dr Halpern), Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Correspondence to: Meeta Prasad Kerlin, MD, MSCE, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, 3600 Spruce St, 8th Floor, Gates Bldg, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail: prasadm@uphs.upenn.edu


Funding/Support: Dr Halpern is supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [K08HS018406] and the National Institutes of Health [R01 CA159932].

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(5):1315-1320. doi:10.1378/chest.11-1459
Text Size: A A A
Published online

There is an inherent tension between the training needs of inexperienced clinicians and the safety of the patients for whom they are responsible. Our society has accepted this tension as a necessary trade-off to maintain a competent workforce of physicians year after year. However, recent trends in medical education have diminished resident autonomy in favor of the safety of current patients. One dramatic example is the rapid increase in the number of academic ICUs that provide coverage by attending physicians at all hours. The potential benefits of this staffing model have strong face validity: improved quality and efficiency from the constant involvement of experienced intensivists, increased family and staff satisfaction from the immediate availability of attending physicians, and reduced burn-out among intensivists from reduced on-call responsibilities. Thus, many hospitals have moved toward 24-h coverage by attending intensivist physicians without evidence that these benefits actually accrue and perhaps without full consideration of possible unintended consequences. In this article, we discuss the potential benefits and risks of nocturnal intensivist staffing, considering the needs of current and future patients. Furthermore, we suggest that there remains sufficient uncertainty about these benefits and risks that it is both necessary and ethical to study the effects in earnest.


Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Figures

Tables

References

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Find Similar Articles
CHEST Journal Articles
PubMed Articles
  • CHEST Journal
    Print ISSN: 0012-3692
    Online ISSN: 1931-3543