Regulations that restrict resident work hours and call for increased resident supervision have increased attending physician presence in the hospital during the nighttime. The resulting increased interactions between attendings and trainees provide an important opportunity and obligation to enhance the quality of learning that takes place in the hospital between 6 PM and 8 AM. Nighttime education should be transformed in a way that maintains clinical productivity for both attending and resident physicians, integrates high-quality teaching and curricula, and achieves a balance between patient safety and resident autonomy. Direct observation of trainees, instruction in communication, and modeling of cost-efficient medical practice may be more feasible during the night than during daytime hours. To realize the potential of this educational opportunity, training programs should develop skilled nighttime educators and establish metrics to define success.
Dr. Hanson is assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, and South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, Texas.
Dr. Pierce is assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado.
Dr. Dhaliwal is associate professor, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, California.
Funding/Support: None reported.
Other disclosures: None reported.
Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Hanson, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr. MC 7982, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900; telephone: (210) 358-1944; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.