Assessing the 16 hour intern shift limit: Results of a multi-center, mixed-methods study of residents and faculty in general surgery

James E. Coverdill, Adnan Alseidi, David C. Borgstrom, Daniel L. Dent, Russell Dumire, Jonathan Fryer, Thomas H. Hartranft, Steven B. Holsten, M. Timothy Nelson, Mohsen M. Shabahang, Stanley R. Sherman, Paula M. Termuhlen, Randy J. Woods, John D. Mellinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The study explores how residents and faculty assess the ACGME's 16-h limit on intern shifts. Methods: Questionnaire response rates were 76% for residents (N = 291) and 71% for faculty (N = 279) in 13 general surgery residency programs. Results include means, percentage in agreement, and statistical tests for 15 questionnaire items. Semi-structured interviews conducted with 39 residents and 43 faculty were analyzed for main themes. Results: Few view the intern shift limit as a positive change. Views differ (P < 0.01) for residents and faculty on 12 of 15 item means and across PGY levels on all 15 items. Interviews indicate concerns about losses with respect to education and professional development, difficulties when interns transition to their second year, and how intern shifts may be more fatiguing than expected. Conclusions: The 16-h limit on intern shifts has remained a source of concern and an educational challenge for residents and faculty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-330
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project was generously supported by funds from the J. Roland Folse Endowed Chair in Surgery at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL. However, the research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • General surgery residents
  • Intern duty hour limitation
  • Professionalism
  • Resident duty hour restrictions
  • Resident education

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