The objectives of this study were to determine the current staffing models of practice and the frequency of 24/7 coverage in academic medical centers in the United States and to assess the perceptions of critical care trainees and program directors toward these models.
A cross-sectional national survey was conducted using an Internet-based survey platform. The survey was distributed to fellows and program directors of 374 critical care training programs in US academic medical centers.
We received 518 responses: 138 from program directors (PDs) (37% of 374 programs) and 380 fellow responses. Coverage by a board-certified or board-eligible intensivist physician 24/7 was reported by 33% of PD respondents and was more common among pediatric and surgical critical care programs. Mandatory in-house call for critical care trainees was reported by 48% of the PDs. Mandatory call was also more common among pediatric-critical care programs compared with the rest (P < .001). Advanced nurse practitioners with critical care training were reported available by 27% of the PDs. The majority of respondents believed that 24/7 coverage would be associated with better patient care in the ICU and improved education for the fellows, although 65% of them believed this model would have a negative impact on trainees’ autonomy.
Intensivist coverage 24/7 was not commonly used in US academic centers responding to our survey. Significant differences in coverage models among critical care medicine specialties appear to exist. Program director and trainee respondents believed that 24/7 coverage was associated with better outcomes and education but also expressed concerns about the impact of this model on fellows’ autonomy.