Background: Although resident duty hours are strictly regulated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, there are fewer restrictions on at-home call for residents. To date, no studies have examined the experience of home call for plastic surgery trainees or the impact of home call on patient care and education in plastic surgery.
Methods: The authors distributed: an anonymous electronic survey to plastic surgery trainees at 41 accredited programs. They sought to produce a descriptive assessment of home call and to evaluate the perceived impact of home call on training and patient care.
Results: A total of 214 responses were obtained (58.3 percent completion rate). Nearly all trainees reported taking home call (98.6 percent), with 66.7 percent reporting call frequency every third or fourth night. Most respondents (63.3 percent) felt that home call regulations are vague but that Council regulation (44.9 percent) and programmatic oversight (56.5 percent) are adequate. Most (91.2 percent) believe their program could not function without home call and that home call helps to avoid strict duty hour restrictions (71.5 percent). Nearly all respondents (92.3 percent) preferred home call to in-house call.
Conclusions: This is the first study to examine how plastic surgery residents experience and perceive home call within the framework of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education duty hour regulations. Most trainees feel the impact of home call is positive for education (50.2 percent) and quality of life (56.5 percent), with a neutral impact on patient care (66.7 percent). Under the Council’s increasing regulations, home call provides a balance of education and patient care appropriate for training in plastic and reconstructive surgery.