September 7, 2023

Effect of in-house call on surgeons’ sleep, burnout

Editor's Note

This multi-center study, led by the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, examines the effect of in-house call on sleep patterns and burnout among acute care surgeons.

Physiological and survey data of 224 acute care surgeons on in-house call were collected over a 6-month period and included in the analysis. Physiological data were recorded for 34,135 days, which included 4,389 nights of in-house call.

Among the findings:

  • Feelings of moderate, very, or extreme burnout occurred 25.7% of days.
  • Feelings of being moderately, slightly, or not at all rested occurred 75.91% of days.
  • Decreased amount of time since the last in-house call, reduced sleep duration, being on call, and having a bad outcome all contributed to greater feelings of daily burnout.
  • Decreased time since last call exacerbated the negative effect of in-house call on burnout.

A reevaluation of in-house call requirements and patterns plus identification of countermeasures to restore homeostatic wellness in acute care surgeons is needed to protect and optimize the workforce, the researchers say.


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