Duty Hours Policy

Background 

While students must learn that high quality patient care requires personal sacrifice including at times, loss of regular sleep patterns, erratic meal times, and absence from customary social events and personal recreation, they must strive to discover compensatory strategies to maintain physical and mental health, as well as appropriate social and personal relationships. Therefore, to protect medical students from excessive fatigue that may impair functioning, the following policy has been adopted in accordance with LCME Element 6.8 listed below:

"The medical school faculty committee responsible for the medical curriculum and the program’s administration and leadership ensure the development and implementation of effective policies and procedures regarding the amount of time medical students spend in required activities, including the total number of hours medical students are required to spend in clinical and educational activities during clerkships."

Policy

  • Medical students engaged in clinical activity will not be on duty more than 80 hours per week (averaged over a four-week period). For the purposes of this policy, “duty” hours are defined as time spent in the hospital or clinics directly related to patient care and on-call time (even if spent sleeping). Preparation for patient care and educational requirements, such as in-hospital conferences, required didactic sessions or exams are not considered “duty” time and may be done outside of the clinical settings.
  • Medical students shall not spend beyond 28 consecutive hours in the clinical setting while on duty. This allows students to remain in the hospital post-call for a few hours in order to complete on-call notes, patient care, and for the educational experience related to their on-call activities that may take place during the morning post-call.
  • Medical students will be provided with an average of 1 day in 7 free from all educational and clinical responsibilities, averaged over a 4-week period, inclusive of call. One day is defined as one continuous 24-hour period free from all clinical and educational activities.
  • Medical students will not be required to take overnight “call” two evenings prior to the end of clerkship rotation written subject examination.
  • Students must have adequate sleeping facilities at every teaching site in which 24-hour call activities occur. These facilities must be available to the student 24 hours a day.

Additional Information

  1. If a student feels that she/he may be at risk when operating a motor vehicle because of fatigue or sleep deprivation, they should obtain sleep at the on-site call room before departing the premises or ask someone to take them home.
  2. Faculty (and residents) should monitor students for symptoms and signs suggestive of impairment (including learning impairment) due to sleep deprivation and/or emotional fatigue. The faculty must advise the student appropriately if such observations are confirmed.
  3. Faculty must notify the Clerkship Director of any student who suffers continued, persistent signs of sleep deprivation or emotional fatigue. If the situation persists, then faculty must notify the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
  4. Students should notify the Clerkship Director if they feel their learning is impaired due to sleep deprivation or emotional fatigue.

Approved by FCC 4/27/16.

Last edited on 04/26/2018.