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Working time of surgeons - A prescription for change?

Editorial Focus Working time. In the demanding world of surgeons, the pursuit of excellence in patient care, education, and personal well-being often feels like a precarious balancing act.

In the demanding world of surgeons, the pursuit of excellence in patient care, education, and personal well-being often feels like a precarious balancing act. Being present in the operating room for surgical procedures, patient rounds, and educational commitments, particularly surgical residents find themselves grappling with the overwhelming weight of administrative tasks, the relentless pursuit of knowledge, and the elusive quest for work-life balance.

Critics of duty hour restrictions may argue that reducing working hours will compromise continuity of care, surgical training, and patient outcomes. On the other hand, well-rested and rejuvenated surgeons will better provide comprehensive, compassionate care to their patients. By implementing strategies such as team-based care, handoff protocols, and simulation training, we may mitigate potential negative impacts on patient care while ensuring that residents receive the rest and support they need to excel.

At the heart of this dilemma lies the recurrent struggle to juggle competing priorities. Increasing administrative demands, ranging from patient documentation to coordination of care, threaten to consume valuable time that could be spent enhancing surgical skills or for other educational opportunities. The administrative burden placed on surgical residents not only detracts from their primary mission of learning and delivering exceptional patient care but also poses a significant risk to their mental and emotional well-being.

By prioritizing the education and well-being of surgical residents, we not only safeguard the future of our profession but also honor the commitment and sacrifice of those who dedicate their lives to the art and science of surgery. As we embark on this journey towards reforming work-hour requirements for surgical residents, let us not lose sight of our ultimate goal: to cultivate a generation of skilled, compassionate, and resilient surgeons who are equipped to meet the evolving challenges of modern healthcare.

In this focus, all four parties have their say: the surgeons themselves in a survey, the Forum Junger Chirurgen (FJC), the VSAO advocating a 42+4 hour week and a chief surgeon providing a counterstatement. We are convinced that reaching a mutual agreement is only possible through an open and constructive dialogue of all stakeholders involved. The regulation on working-hours may not be a one-size-fits-all surgeon’s solution.

What is your opinion, dear reader of SWISS KNIFE, on this topic? Use the opportunity to voice your opinion and write a letter to the editor.

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