Table 4

US public opinion regarding individual components of Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations for resident physician work hour limits

Individual components of a proposal that would change the work shift requirements for medical residents

Support* (percentage of respondents)

Oppose* (percentage of respondents)

Neutral* (percentage of respondents)

Don't know* (percentage of respondents)

Mean rating (95% CI)


Residents would not be allowed to work more than 16 h per shift in patient care

82 (80-84)

10 (8-12)

7 (5-9)

1 (0.4-2)

8.2 (8.0 to 8.4)


Those working a 30-h shift would have at least 5 h of protected sleep time between the hours of 10 pm and 8 am

79 (76-81)

11 (9-13)

8 (7-10)

2 (1-3)

7.9 (7.7 to 8.1)


Work hours would be capped at no more than 80 h in any single week

78 (76-81)

14 (12-16)

6 (4-7)

2 (1-3)

7.9 (7.7 to 8.1)


Medical residents would have at least 5 days off per month, including at least one 24-h period per week and one 48-h period per month.

86 (84-88)

6 (5-8)

7 (5-8)

1 (0.4-2)

8.5 (8.3 to 8.6)


Hospitals would have to provide safe transportation home, such as a taxi or public transit ticket, for residents too fatigued to drive home safely.

77 (74-79)

13 (11-15)

10 (8-12)

0.8 (0.3-1.2)

7.8 (7.6 to 8.0)


Strict rules would be established to ensure that medical residents are provided with direct, on-site supervision by more experienced doctors

91 (89-93)

3 (2-4)

5 (3-6)

1 (0.4-2)

8.9 (8.8 to 9.1)


Medical residents would not be allowed to moonlight, or work jobs outside of the hospital in their off hours.

75 (72-78)

14 (12-16)

9 (7-10)

3 (2-4)

7.8 (7.6 to 8.0)


*Respondents were instructed as follows: 'For each one [question], please rate your support for that item on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 means you strongly support this component, and 0 means you strongly oppose this component, and you can choose any number in between'. Responses from 6-10 are reported under 'Support'; responses from 0-4 are reported under 'Oppose'; responses of 5 are reported under 'Neutral'. Mean rating is the average of all scores, excluding 'Don't know'.

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

Open Data