Neurobehavioral performance of residents after heavy night call vs after alcohol ingestion.
This study discovered that the post-call performance of pediatric residents was diminished in heavy call rotations compared to situations associated with increased blood alcohol levels. Investigators assessed performance through measurements of attention capacity, vigilance, and simulated driving activities. They also determined that residents are limited in their ability to perceive all of the noted functional impairments. While past studies suggested an association between resident work hours and safety, this represents the first to directly compare a particular call schedule’s effect on performance with that of alcohol consumption. Despite the small sample size, the authors conclude that training programs may need to consider various scheduling strategies to optimize the safety of residents and their patients.