Starting July 1st, new doctors could work 24 hour shift

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WICHITA, Kan. Each year on July 1st, tens of thousands of medical school graduates fill hospitals across the country to begin their residency. In Wichita, 80 first years with KU Medical School will start their training.

Changes made earlier this year by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, mean first year residents will have the same program requirements as upper level residents.

The biggest difference is time. They can now work 24 hour shifts, while still maintaining a maximum average of 80 hours a week.

So what does this mean for you if have a first year resident as your doctor? Dr. Paul Callaway with KU Med in Wichita says these changes are good for everyone.

"There will be a greater emphasis on patient safety, a greater emphasis on clinical quality and I do not believe we will see any deterioration of care," said Callaway.

Callaway says patient care will even increase because there will be fewer times doctors are forced to hand off a patient because a clock says it's time to go home.

The new changes also require a first year to be more closely supervised by an attending physician or upper level resident.

Other changes include a greater emphasis on a doctor's well-being - and greater expectations on team-based care.