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Awan M, Zagales I, McKenney M, et al. J Surg Educ. 2021;78:e35-e46.
In 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) updated the duty hour restrictions (DHR) for medical residents to increase resident well-being. This review focused on surgical patient outcomes, resident case volume, and resident quality of life following the implementation of the 2011 update. Results showed DHR did not improve patient safety or surgical resident quality of life. The authors suggest future revisions meant to improve resident well-being not focus solely on hours worked in a single shift or week.
Jones AM, Clark JS, Mohammad RA. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;78:818-824.
Burnout has been a focus of numerous studies since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this is the first to focus on burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS) among health system pharmacists. Nearly two thirds (65.3%) of respondents had a moderate to high likelihood of experiencing burnout and 51% had a high probability of STS. Due to the association between burnout and decreased patient safety, it is critical that health systems address pharmacist burnout appropriately.
Bae S‐H. J Clin Nurs. 2021;30:2202-2221.
The relationship between resident and physician duty hours and patient safety has been the focus of a lot of research. The relationship between nurse work schedules and patient safety is less explored. This review investigated the effect of extended or excessive nurse schedules on patient outcomes. Findings conclude that working more than 12 hours daily or more than 40 hours weekly may contribute to adverse patient outcomes. The authors recommend creating policies restricting nurse shifts to no more than 12 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
Chen Y, Broman AT, Priest G, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Saf. 2021;47:165-175.
Fatigue among health care workers can increase risk of errors. This study posited that blue-enriched light could promote alertness and attention and thereby reduce medical errors in the ICU; however, the authors did not identify any effect of this intervention on error rates.  
Leviatan I, Oberman B, Zimlichman E, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:1074-1080.
Human factors, such as cognitive load, are main contributors to prescribing errors. This study assessed the relationship between medication prescribing errors and a physician’s workload, successive work shifts, and prescribing experience. The researchers reviewed presumed medication errors flagged by a computerized decision support system (CDSS) in acute care settings (excluding intensive care units) and found that longer hours and less experience in prescribing specific medications increased the risk of prescribing errors.
Watterson TL, Look KA, Steege LM, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;17:1282-1287.
Fatigue has been linked to safety-related outcomes among many types of healthcare providers and settings. Using exploratory factor analysis, this study found physical and mental fatigue were the primary drivers of occupational fatigue in pharmacists. To increase safety, organizational interventions should strive to prevent burnout among pharmacists .
Elliott J, Williamson K. Radiography. 2020;26:248-253.
Extended work shifts for nurses and physicians have been linked to increased risk of errors. In this systematic review, the authors discuss the impact of shift work disorder on errors and safety implications for radiographers. Studies suggested a positive correlation between errors and increased mental and physical fatigue resulting from shift work or rapid shift rotation, however none of the identified studies focused specifically on radiology professionals.
Finn KM, Halvorsen AJ, Chaudhry S, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2020;35:3205-3209.
This article reports on results from a 2017 survey of internal medicine residency program directors’ support for flexible work hours introduced by the Accreditation Committee on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) based on trial results. Although the majority of programs supported the ACGME work hour flexibility, only one quarter of programs introduced longer work hours.
Lasater KB, Aiken LH, Sloane DM, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;8:639-647.
This study used survey data from nurses and patients in 254 hospitals in New York and Illinois between December 2019 and February 2020 to determine the association between nurse staffing and outcomes, patient experience, and nurse burnout. A significant number of nurses who experienced burnout viewed their hospitals’ safety unfavorably and would not recommend their hospital. Analyses indicated that each additional patient per nurse increased the odds of unfavorable reports from nurses and patients and demonstrates the implications of understaffing, even before COVID-19.    
Kolla BP, Coombes BJ, Morgenthaler TI, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2020;36:51-54.
This observational study observed nonsignificant increases in patient safety incidents in the week following the transition into and out of daylight savings time (DST) over an eight-year period. The authors suggest policymakers and health system leadership evaluate risk mitigation strategies such as delayed shift start times during the transition to and from DST.
Landrigan CP, Rahman SA, Sullivan JP, et al. N Engl J Med. 2020;382:2514-2523.
This multicenter cluster randomized trial explored the impact of eliminating extended-duration  work schedules (shifts in excess of 24 hours) on serious medical errors made by residents in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU). The authors found that residents in ICUs which eliminated extended shifts in favor of day and night shifts of 16 hours or less made significantly more serious errors than residents assigned to extended-duration work schedules. The authors observed that the resident-to-patient ratio was higher during schedules which eliminated extended shifts, but also that these results might have been confounded by concurrent increases in workload in ICUs eliminating extended shifts.
Ferguson BA, Lauriski DR, Huecker M, et al. J Emerg Med. 2020;58:514-519.
Cognitive errors caused by fatigue can impact patient safety. This study used a brief, electronic cognitive assessment tool to determine the effect of shift work on emergency medicine resident’s alertness. The authors found that alertness is lowest at the end of the evening shift (typically ending between 12:00-2:00am) and there is a significant difference in alertness between the start versus end of the night shift. No significant difference was observed in the day or evening shifts.
Brunsberg KA, Landrigan CP, Garcia BM, et al. Acad Med. 2019;94:1150-1156.
Physician burnout and depression are prevalent, costly, and likely to worsen the existing physician shortage. Physicians with depression and burnout also report committing more errors than their peers. Investigators prospectively examined whether pediatric residents reporting depression or burnout were involved in more errors. Participants experiencing depression committed three times as many harmful errors as those without depression. Residents with burnout did not commit more errors or more harmful errors. A strength of this study is that the errors were assessed objectively rather than by self-report. The direction of causality remains unclear—whether physicians with depression commit more harm or committing harm leads to depression. A past PSNet interview discussed how to promote physician satisfaction and well-being.
Barger LK, Sullivan JP, Blackwell T, et al. Sleep. 2019;42.
In this clustered-randomized trial across six academic medical centers, researchers examined the impact of resident shift duration on hours slept and worked per week during pediatric intensive care unit rotations. They found that residents assigned to extended duration shifts lasting 24 hours or longer worked more hours per week and slept fewer hours per week compared to residents assigned to work shifts lasting 16 hours or shorter.
Bittle MD, Knapp H, Polomano RC, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:337-347.
This report of a quality improvement study of infant drop risk found that mothers who fall asleep holding infants are more likely to drop them. Nursing observations and formal assessments of mothers' sleepiness prevented infant drops from occurring. The authors recommend frequent observation and direct assessment of maternal sleepiness for postpartum wards.
Shapiro DE, Duquette C, Abbott LM, et al. Am J Med. 2019;132:556-563.
Physician burnout is a persistent problem that can have serious effects on safe practice. This review discusses a model to prioritize interventions to address physician burnout. The approach suggests actions at five levels: physical and mental health; safety and security; respect; appreciation and connection; and the ability to fully contribute to care.
Eid SM, Ponor L, Reed DA, et al. J Grad Med Educ. 2019;11:146-155.
Long work hours and fatigue among health care workers can adversely impact patient safety. In 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education made changes to resident duty hours, but research on the effect of those reforms on resident wellness and patient safety remains somewhat inconclusive. In this retrospective observational study, researchers examined the impact of the 2011 duty hour reforms on patient mortality, length of stay, and cost using data on patients hospitalized in the 2-year periods before and after the work hour changes were implemented. Nonteaching hospitals served as the control group. They found no difference in mortality or length of stay but did find that cost associated with hospitalization decreased slightly at teaching hospitals after the 2011 changes. A past PSNet interview discussed the effect of less restrictive duty hours on patients and residents.
Basner M; Asch DA; Shea JA; Bellini LM; Carlin M; Ecker AJ; Malone SK; Desai SV; Sternberg AL; Tonascia J; Shade DM; Katz JT; Bates DW; Even‑Shoshan O; Silber JH; Small DS; Volpp KG; Mott CG; Coats S; Mollicone DJ; Dinges DF; iCOMPARE Research Group.
This cluster-randomized trial compared an internal medicine residency schedule that adhered to 2011 duty hour regulations to a flexible schedule that maintained an overall 80-hour work week. Self-reported sleepiness and measured sleep duration did not differ by group, but residents in the flexible programs performed worse on psychomotor vigilance testing, a measure of alertness. The authors recommend implementing fatigue-management training during residency.