Purpose: To evaluate the impact of residency work hour limitations on pediatrics residency programs in New York State, and to learn lessons that can be used nationally with the implementation of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education's similar rules. Method: A three-page questionnaire was mailed to all pediatrics residency program directors in New York. The questionnaire assessed methods used to accommodate the work hour limitations and perceptions of the limitations' effects. Results: Twenty-one program directors responded (68%). Only large programs used night floats and night teams to meet work hour requirements. Programs of all sizes and in all settings used cross coverage and sent residents home immediately post call. About half of the programs hired additional nonresident staff, usually nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and/or attendings. The most frequently reported effects were decreases in the amount of time residents spent in inpatient settings, patient continuity in inpatient settings, flexibility of residents' scheduling, and increased logistical work needed to maintain continuity clinic. A summary of advice to other program directors was "be creative" and "be flexible." Conclusions: New York's pediatrics residency programs used a variety of mechanisms to meet work hour restrictions. Smaller programs had fewer methods available to them to meet such restrictions. Although the logistical work needed to maintain continuity clinic increased greatly, continuity and outpatient settings themselves were not greatly affected by work hour limitations. Inpatient settings were more affected and experienced much more in the way of change.
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