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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Effect of reducing interns' weekly work hours on sleep and attentional failures.

Lockley SW, Cronin JW, Evans EE, et al. The New England journal of medicine. 2004;351:1829-37.

This AHRQ-supported study discovered that limiting intern work hours to less than 80 hours per week led to more sleep and less attentional failures while working nights in an intensive care unit. Investigators tracked sleep logs for twenty interns working in traditional (mean: 85 hours/week) and intervention (mean: 65 hours/week) schedules during three-week rotations. These logs were correlated with the presence of at least one electrooculophaphy-derived slow eye movement while at work, a validated marker for attention failures. The same investigator group reported the effect of reducing interns’ work hours on serious medical errors in an accompanying study.