While many in the medical profession advocate for physician wellness through proposals to lower work hours, this article points out the challenges and push-back such organizations face in making this happen. From sleepless demanding nights being termed "the culture of medicine", a way to "teach dedication", to new studies which suggest there is no increase in rates of death or serious complications of patients who have been operated on by surgical residents who were working under the traditional hours.
However, regardless of this, the author in the article below reminds us that all of us in the health professions are humans who need sleep to optimally function ... and to keep both ourselves, and our patients, healthy and safe. We would never suggest to our patients that it's okay working 24 hours non-stop with little sleep, so why doesn't this recommendation apply to us as well?
"Getting five or six hours of sleep—substantial by many physicians’ self-standards—can leave drivers impaired to a degree that’s similar to drunkenness. That’s according to findings of a study released this month from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Drivers who sleep only five or six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as those who got seven or more...
... Even if a surgeon doesn’t physically collapse on top of a person, drowsy doctors are more likely to experience lapses in memory and judgment that can prove critical. In other words, the brains of doctors are subject to the limits of physiology in much the same way as other human brains."
Read the full article here: