Student Contact Hours & Clinical Duty Hours

Purpose

The School of Medicine recognizes that education is the primary goal of medical students. This policy outlines the limitations on work hours to allow students to maximize the educational benefit and limit fatigue which may impair the student's ability to learn. The policy will include oversight of all aspects of the educational experience of a medical student.

Policy

Students will be provided a sound education experience that is carefully planned and balanced with concerns for patient safety and student well-being. The learning objectives of each educational experience cannot be compromised by excessively scheduled contact hours in the pre-clinical educational experience or clinical assignments in the clinical educational experience. The oversight of this policy will be the responsibility of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and the Medical Education Committee.


Specifics of the Policy and Procedure

Pre-clinical Education

  1. The general structure of each preclinical module is defined by the module directors in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education. The content in the preclinical curriculum may be delivered via lecture, small group or team-based learning activities, simulation activities, or laboratory-based activities. The total duration of these activities should not exceed 20 hours per week when averaged over the length of the module.
  2. The Medical Education Committee will formally assess student contact hours in the preclinical curriculum as a component of the formal module evaluation process. Student contact hours are also monitored by the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and reviewed with module directors at least 90 days prior to beginning of each module.

Clinical Education

  1. Duty hours are defined as all clinical and academic activities related to the educational experience; i.e., patient care (both inpatient and outpatient), administrative duties relative to patient care, the provision for transfer of patient care, time spent in-house during call activities, and scheduled activities such as conferences. Duty hours do not include reading and preparation time spent away from the duty site.
  2. In the clinical curriculum, student duty hours are assigned in accordance with the ACGME regulations for
    first-year residents. Specifically, students:
    1. Cannot be on duty for greater than 16 consecutive hours and must be off duty for 8 consecutive hours after an extended shift of 16 hours on duty;
    2. Must average 1 day off per week when averaged over the length of the clinical course or clerkship;
    3. Cannot be on duty over 80 hours per week when averaged over one month.
  3. Clerkships students can report duty hour violations on the clerkship evaluation form. Violations can be reported directly to the clerkship director, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, the Associate Dean for Students, or the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education. In addition, students can use the SOM Report It System to report violations.
  4. The Medical Education Committee will formally assess student duty hours in the clinical curriculum as a component of the formal clerkship evaluation process. In addition, reports of duty hour violations are reviewed in Clerkship Directors Committee meetings on a regular basis.
  5. The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education will work with clerkship directors to resolve
    issues relative to reported or identified duty hour violations.