Table 3

Support for selected resident work hour reforms and related beliefs, stratified by political party affiliation, geographic region and race

Believe lower hours results in reduced medical errors

Supports a cap of 80 h a week, maximum shift of 16 h and 1 day off per week

Favors maximum shift duration of 16 h over 30-h shift with 5 h protected sleep time

Believes that patient should be informed if resident >24 h awake


Total population

81 (79-84)

80 (77-82)

68 (65-71)

81 (79-83)


By political party affiliation:


Democratic

86 (83-89)

86 (83-89)

72(68-76)

85 (82-88)


Republican

77 (72-82)

76 (71-81)

66 (61-72)

78 (73-83)


Independent

80 (75-85)

76 (71-81)

64 (58-69)

80 (75-84)


By region:


Northeast

85 (81-90)

81 (75-86)

63 (56-70)

78 (72-83)


Midwest

80 (75-86)

78 (72-83)

69 (63-75)

82 (77-87)


South

80 (76-84)

81 (77-85)

71 (66-75)

81 (77-84)


West

81 (76-86)

79 (74-84)

67 (61-73)

83 (78-88)


By race:


White

81 (78-84)

78 (75-81)

70 (67-73)

80 (78-83)


Black

81 (74-88)

86 (79-92)

61 (52-71)

88 (82-94)


Latino

81 (74-88)

86 (80-92)

68 (60-76)

80 (73-87)


Column 1 question read: 'Thinking about ways to reduce the frequency of medical errors at hospitals, how effective do you think it would be to reduce the hours worked by medical residents at hospitals - would reducing the hours worked by medical residents be a very effective, somewhat effective, not very effective, or not at all effective in reducing the frequency of medical errors at hospitals?'.

Column 2 question read: 'As you may know, doctors who work as medical residents in hospitals are required to work ≥80 h a week, which can include shifts of up to 30 hours without sleep. Now I would like to read you a proposal that would change those work shift requirements for medical residents. Under this proposal: Work hours would be capped at no more than 80 hours in any single week. Shifts would be capped at a maximum of 16 hours. Medical residents would have at least 5 days off per month, including at least one 24 hour period per week and one 48 hour period per month. Would you favor or oppose this proposal, or are you undecided?'.

Column 3 question read: 'Thinking of the proposal I just read you, imagine you had two versions of the proposal. All elements would remain the same, but with one key difference. One version would say: 'No medical resident is allowed to work more than 16 hours per shift' and the other version would instead say 'Medical residents' shifts are capped at 30 hours in length. During this time, they are allowed a 5-hour nap, and they are not permitted to admit new patients after the first 16 hours'.

Column 4 question read: 'Do you think patients should be informed if a medical resident who is treating them has been working for more than 24 hours?'.

Blum et al. BMC Medicine 2010 8:33   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-33

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