What Are Interns Doing on Their Post‐Call Day?

1South Texas Veterans Health Care System/University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
2UTHSCSA, San Antonio, TX

Meeting: Hospital Medicine 2014, March 24-27, Las Vegas, Nev.

Abstract number: 38


While an increasing literature describes and assesses resident work activities in the hospital, no data focus on the post‐call day. On this day, interns are responsible for managing diagnostic and treatment plans for a large group of new patients, making it one of the busiest periods in their workweek.


We observed 18 interns for one‐hour periods after rounds on their post‐call day. We wrote field notes to describe all interactions and activities. We then categorized these activities based on types of activities and with whom interns interacted.


Table 1 summarizes intern activities. Interns interacted with others on average 26.2 times per hour (range 8‐46). They spent the majority of their time in the team room, and most communication occurred within their team (61% of communication). The groups of people with whom they most frequently interacted outside of the team were ancillary staff (20.5%), including ward clerks, followed by physicians outside of the team (20.5%), and nurses (9.7%). Only 6.6% of interactions were with patients. Interns were interrupted on average 8 times per hour.


Our data describes intern activities on their post‐call day. Interns spent most of their time in their team rooms, interacting with their team. Interns received a high number of calls during this period, suggesting that they are frequently interrupted in their tasks. Finally, the group with whom they interacted the most frequently outside of their team was ancillary staff. They interacted with patients the least frequently. Our data suggest that the post‐call day is a busy period, full of interruptions, when interns are interacting relatively little with patients or other providers involved in their care. These data have implications for workflow and efficiency, as well as safety.

To cite this abstract:

Leykum L, Lee A. What Are Interns Doing on Their Post‐Call Day?. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2014, March 24-27, Las Vegas, Nev. Abstract 38. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2014; 9 (suppl 2). https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/what-are-interns-doing-on-their-postcall-day/. Accessed April 7, 2020.

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