Work-hour restrictions and orthopaedic resident education: a systematic review

Nathan S. Mauser, James D. Michelson, Hannah Gissel, Corey Henderson, Cyril Mauffrey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: The ACGME (US) and The European Working Time Directive (UK) placed work-hour restrictions on medical trainees with the goal of improved patient safety. However, there has been concern over a potential decrease in medical education. Orthopaedic training is the focus of this study. We examined previously published subjective and objective data regarding education and work-hour restrictions and developed the questions: Do specific perceptions emerge within the subjective studies examined? Are there objective differences in educational measures before and after work-hour restrictions? Is there a difference between the subjective and objective data? Methods: A systematic review was conducted via MedLine, regarding orthopaedic studies in the USA and UK, with reference to work-hour restrictions and education. Results: Subjective survey studies demonstrate that residents and attending physicians have a negative response to work-hour restrictions because of the perceived impact on their overall education and operating room experience. Conversely, limited objective studies demonstrated no change in operative volume before or after implementation of restrictions. Conclusions: This review highlights the need for more objective studies on the educational implications of work-hour restrictions. Studies to date have not demonstrated a measurable difference based on case logs or training scores. Opinion-based surveys demonstrate an overall negative perception by both residents and attending physicians, on the impact of work-hour restrictions on orthopaedic education. Current published data is limited and stronger evidence-based data are needed before definitive conclusions can be reached.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-873
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Education
  • Orthopaedic resident
  • Restrictions
  • Work hours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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