“We looked at distress and fatigue together and found that both factors can lead to a significant risk of medical error,” says Colin West, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic physician and lead author of the study, in a press release. “Both fatigue and distress among medical residents represent a potential concern for patient safety.”
The previous research led to the 2008 Institute of Medicine recommendations that resident work hours be controlled.
“While changes have been made to reduce fatigue and sleepiness during residency training, other changes may be necessary to more specifically address distress and burnout,” says Tait Shanafelt, M.D., Mayo physician and senior author. The researchers say their findings may have implications beyond residency training and suggest that more attention to reducing non-fatigue-related distress among physicians may reduce errors and improve patient safety.
This research makes me think about everyone out there--not just medical residents--who may be suffering from fatigue and distress, or just stress: job stress, financial stress, burnout, family stress, other emotional stress, and stress from all causes. Is this stress affecting job performances? And, if so, how so? In this job climate, the stakes are naturally higher, as are stress levels, and mistakes may be more costly, though perhaps more common as well. It brings to mind the importance not only of a good night's sleep, but also of effective stress management. Here are some resources that can help with both:
- Get Quality Sleep When Stressed
- The Effects of Job Stress
- Find More Job Satisfaction
- What Is Stress? Learn The Basics and How To Deal
- Ongoing Stress Reduction Resources
West CP, Tan AD, Habermann TM, Sloan JA, Shanafelt TD. Association of resident fatigue and distress with perceived medical errors. Journal of the American Medical Association, September 23, 2009.
How might stress and fatigue be affecting your job performance? What, if anything, have you been able to do about it? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
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