ORLANDO, FL USA (UroToday.com) - The impact of resident fatigue has led to significant changes in graduate medical education. Weekly and shift work-hour restrictions have been implemented to reduce errors and negative effects of fatigue. Prior work has shown negative effects of fatigue on surgical resident dexterity and surgical skill. In this study by Weinberg and colleagues, the effect of fatigue on resident performance of simple suturing in a robotic simulator (Mimic dV-Trainer) was evaluated.
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They enrolled a total of 13 residents in their study; 7 had no prior robotic simulator experience. The participants completed a simple suturing task on the trainer before and after their 24-hour call period, and completed the task at least two times. They found that after a 24-hour call, residents took significantly longer to complete the task, regardless of whether they had prior experience on the trainer or not. Between those with previous simulator experience and those without, those with previous experience completed tasks more quickly.
These results are consistent with logic and nicely demonstrate the effect of short-term fatigue. This raises an additional, important question: is there a longer-term effect of this fatigue, and does more chronic fatigue have an impact on long-term performance? It would be interesting to see similar methodology used to examine differences between well-rested residents and those with a busier and less restful preceding set of days/weeks/months.
Presented by Aaron Weinberg at the American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting - May 16 - 21, 2014 - Orlando, Florida USA
Columbia University, New York, NY USA
Written by Martin Hofmann, MD, University of California (Irvine), and medical writer for UroToday.com