American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Resident and Associate Society Symposium

RAS Symposium

Sunday, October 27 | 1:00–3:00 pm

Shiftwork Surgery: Loss of Continuity or Sensible Balance of Responsibility?

Surgical residency training programs have undergone changes to the scheduling and curriculum to accommodate duty-hour regulations imposed by the national accrediting agency. Practice patterns and call schedules for attending surgeons have also undergone changes. The historical model for the surgical profession has included home call for nights and weekends for one’s own patients, without scheduled time off. Current trends to prevent burnout and improve work-life balance, however, have encouraged changes in call and daily schedules, and a shiftwork arrangement has been implemented by some surgical specialties, such as acute care surgery. Other surgical specialties have initiated call schedules among their surgical teams, with dedicated coverage to prevent 24/7 call responsibilities for an individual surgeon.

This transformation has led to debate within the surgical field surrounding the optimal way to implement surgical “shifts,” or whether the field should avoid movement towards shiftwork entirely. Some argue that taking continuous call for one’s own patients promotes continuity of care, responsibility for patients, and decreases communication errors. Others propose that superior care is supported by shiftwork because of reduced sleep deprivation, medical errors, and surgeon burnout. The 2019 RAS-ACS Symposium will debate whether shiftwork surgery should be encouraged as it creates a sensible balance of responsibility and promotes surgeon wellness or discouraged as it reduces the surgeon’s continuous involvement in his or her patient’s care.

This year’s Resident and Associate Society Symposium panel of resident and experienced surgeons will debate the role of shiftwork surgical care.

Registration is not required. CME Credit is offered.