Public Citizen | Publications - Medical Resident Work Hours

Medical Resident Work Hours

Traditionally, medical residents have put in dangerously long hours as part of their training – not infrequently as many as 80 hours or more per week. This raises significant patient safety issues; long work hours are unequivocally associated with more medical errors. Exhausted residents are not in the best position to make decisions concerning your health.

Moreover, the residents themselves are at increased risk of depression, needlestick injuries and car crashes on their way home, among other things. Public Citizen has been involved with this issue since 2001, when we petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to reduce resident work hours.  Although that petition was rejected, it helped paved the way for improved industry guidelines.