As both learners and front-line care providers in our health care system, medical residents are in a unique position. Fulfilling this dual role has meant that residents often spend lengthy consecutive hours on duty, providing patient care. The risk of fatigue is very real.

The risk varies between individuals and is heavily influenced by a variety of situational factors, including workload, hours of wakefulness, and both acute and chronic sleep deprivation. In 2013, the National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours released Canada’s first comprehensive, collaborative and evidence-based report on fatigue and duty hours for Canada’s approximately 10,000 resident doctors. The report stressed that a comprehensive approach is necessary in order to enhance safety and wellness outcomes. Fatigue risk management is a common theme throughout the Committee’s recommendations.

RDoC’s Role

RDoC advocates for properly calibrated fatigue risk management programs that will help to identify and mitigate fatigue-related risk at hospitals and universities, have a positive impact on patient safety, and improve resident health and wellness.