With the advent of the 80-hour work week, much attention has been focused on the benefits of shorter work hours regarding resident fatigue and reduced medical errors. Along with this change, however, there has been more reliance on multiple teams of residents who assume the care of inpatients at different times. In this new paradigm, a safe and effective sign-out process is needed to ensure a seamless transition of care from one resident to another. Several studies have been published on the sign-out process among interns in internal medicine, but the literature is sparse with regards to the best way to hand over care of a busy inpatient surgical service. To aid in this process, the Halsted surgical interns performed a review of the current literature on this topic. They also reflected on their personal experiences and developed a 10-point method for safe and effective sign-outs. This process is emphasized for incoming interns and used across the various surgical services at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
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