David Leach, MD, executive director of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), will present "The Formation of Resident Physicians: A Journey to Authenticity," to Emory University School of Medicine physicians and faculty physicians on Friday, Oct. 13, in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Auditorium. Dr. Leach will discuss his philosophy of residency training relative to new workforce rules for accreditation that require residents to work no more than an 80-hour week with three days off per month.
The ACGME is a private professional organization responsible for the accreditation of nearly 7,800 post-MD residency education programs within the United States. Residency education allows for clinical education in a medical specialty that follows graduation from medical school. During this period of time physicians prepare for the independent practice of medicine.
The ACGME's volume of accredited programs makes it one of the largest private accrediting agencies in the country, if not the world. The ACGME has limited the number of work hours to 80 hours weekly, overnight call frequency to no more than one overnight every third day, 30-hour maximum straight shift, and 10 hours off between shifts. While these limits are voluntary, adherence has been mandated for the purposes of accreditation. Supporters of the 80-hour rule say that limiting work hours decreases sleep deprivation and therefore reduces medical errors. Critics, on the other hand, argue the 80-hour rule disrupts continuity of care and limits training time gained through involvement in patient care.
William T. Branch, Jr., MD, Carter Smith, Sr. Professor and Division Director of Internal Medicine at Emory, teaches medical residents at Grady Memorial Hospital and is director of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare's Research and Teaching Forum. He says he looks forward to hearing Dr. Leach's perspective on the 80-hour rule, and more importantly, to hearing Dr. Leach's philosophy on residency training.
"Many educators feel that the rules are too restrictive," says Dr. Branch, who is president-elect of the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare. "But, I believe Dr. Leach not only feels that it is necessary to protect the residents from being overworked or sleep deprived, but also necessary to create a learning environment conducive to the mastery of professional values."
Dr. Leach's lecture is sponsored by the Executive Associate Dean for Medical Education at Emory and the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare.