Working hours of obstetrics and gynaecology trainees in Australia and New Zealand

Jade Acton, Paige E. Tucker, Max K. Bulsara, Paul A. Cohen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: The importance of doctors' working hours has gained significant attention with evidence suggesting long hours and fatigue may compromise the safety and wellbeing of both patients and doctors. This study aims to quantify the working hours of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) specialist trainees in order to better inform discussions of working hours and safety within our region. Methods: An anonymous, online survey of RANZCOG trainees was conducted. Demographic data were collected. The primary outcomes were: hours per week at work and hours per week on-call. Secondary outcomes included the frequency of long days (>12 h) and 24-h shifts, time spent studying, staff shortages and opinions regarding current rostering. Results: Response rate was 49.5% (n = 259). Full-time trainees worked an average of 53.1 ± 10.0 h/week, with 11.6% working on-call. Long-day shifts were reported by 85.8% of respondents, with an average length of 14.2 h. Fifteen percent reported working 24-h shifts, with a median duration of uninterrupted sleep during this shift being 1-2 h. Trainees in New Zealand worked 7.0 h/week more than Australian trainees (P ≤0.001), but reported less on-call (P = 0.021). Trainees in Western Australia were more likely to work on-call (P ≤0.001) and 24-h shifts (P ≤0.001). Conclusion: While 53.1 h/week at work is similar to the average Australian hospital doctor, high rates of long days and 24-h shifts with minimal sleep were reported by RANZCOG trainees in this survey.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)508-513
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
    Volume57
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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