AMA Wire

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012

For Residents

Four-day workweek popular with residents and fellows

For young physicians and practices, squeezing full-time hours into four days a week is the most desired flexible schedule when considering practice opportunities, reports American Medical News.

That statistic comes from a recent survey performed by Cejka Search, a physician placement firm, which found that half of residents and fellows labeled the four-day workweek as important or very important in their practice search. The next most popular options were job sharing, and part time with more than half the hours—between 20 and 40—of a full workweek.

Lori Schutte, president of Cejka Search, explained the schedule's popularity to American Medical News: "The four-day week gives physicians the best of both worlds—a little bit of flexibility but still with maximum compensation. And anything that gives physicians more flexibility gives a practice an edge when recruiting."

Schutte also said those looking for a condensed workweek should be upfront about their preference and even suggest to their interviewer how the schedule could work well for both parties, American Medical News reports.

The AMA offers resources for residents and fellows transitioning into practice, including how to negotiate the best contract and the two-part guide "Succeeding from Medical School to Practice."

"July Phenomenon" is just a myth, study suggests

A new study has found that the "July Phenomenon"—the infamous theory that the quality of medical care, and mortality, in teaching hospitals drops in July, when interns fresh from medical school begin training and previous interns and residents take on new tasks—is more myth than scientific fact.

For the study, researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine examined the rates of patient deaths and surgical complications in July compared with all other months for more than 850,000 teaching hospital admission and patient-outcomes records in the National Inpatient Sample between 1998 and 2008. Focusing on four brain conditions commonly treated at teaching hospitals, they found that the risk of death or complications at teaching hospitals was the same in July as in other months.

"If anything goes wrong in July, then everyone's quick to say 'do you see? It's because of the July effect,' but we saw no evidence for that," senior author Brian Hoh, MD, said in a press release announcing the findings. "This study will raise thoughts and ideas about how we can improve training for residents and improve safety for patients."

Dr. Hoh said he believes the multiple layers of supervision in teaching hospitals may compensate for inexperienced new trainees.

The study appeared in the journal Neurosurgery.