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Attaining resident duty hours compliance: the acute care nurse practitioners program at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.

Authors
  • Lundberg, Scott
  • Wali, Soma
  • Thomas, Peggy
  • Cope, Dennis
Type
Published Article
Journal
Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2006
Volume
81
Issue
12
Pages
1021–1025
Identifiers
PMID: 17122462
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The institution of resident duty hours limits by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has made it difficult for some programs to cover inpatient teaching services. The medical literature is replete with editorials criticizing the hour limits and the resulting problems but is nearly silent on the topic of constructive solutions to compliance. In this article, the authors describe a new program, initiated in 2003 at the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, of using acute care nurse practitioners to allow for compliance with the "24 + 6" continuous duty hours limit, as well as the 80-hour workweek limit. Each post-call team is assigned a nurse practitioner for the day, allowing residents to sign out by 2 pm while ensuring quality care for patients. Nurse practitioners participate in evaluation of residents and, in turn, are evaluated by them. Using this system, the authors report 99% compliance with ACGME work-hour restrictions, with average work hours for inpatient ward residents decreasing from 84 to 76 hours per week. Physician satisfaction with the new system is high; anonymous evaluation by residents and faculty returned average scores of 8.8 out of 9 possible points. The authors report that using nurse practitioners on post-call days provides excellent, continuous patient care without impinging on scheduling and without sacrificing responsibility, continuity, or education for the residents. This system has several potential advantages over previously described work-hour solutions. Addition of a nurse practitioner to the post-call team is an effective solution to the problem of compliance with resident duty hours limitations.

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