No international data are available on the night working conditions and workload of anaesthesiologists and their opinions about associated risks.
The aim of this international survey was to describe the peri-operative night working conditions of anaesthesiologists and their perception of the impact these conditions have on patient outcomes and their own quality of life.
Anaesthesiologists providing peri-operative care during night shifts responded to an online survey promoted by the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (ESAIC).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE
Twenty-eight closed questions.
Overall 5292 complete responses were analysed. Of these, 920 were from trainees. The median reported monthly number of night shifts was 4 [IQR 3–6]. An irregular weekly night shift schedule was most common (51%). Almost all the respondents (98%) declared that their centres have no relevant institutional programmes to monitor stress or fatigue. Most respondents (90%) had received no training or information regarding performance improvement methods for night work. Most respondents were of the opinion that sleep deprivation affects their professional performance (71%) and that their fatigue during night work may increase the peri-operative risk for their patients (74%). Furthermore, 81% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that night work represents an additional risk per se for patient safety, and 77% stated that their night work affects the quality of their daily life significantly or extremely.
Anaesthesiologists commonly perform perioperative night work without appropriate training, education or support on this specific condition. They perceive current practice as adversely affecting their professional performance and the safety of their patients. They also report significant effects on their own quality of life. Adequate training and education for night work may ally some of these concerns and programmes to monitor workers’ stress and fatigue should be mandated to assess whether these concerns are justified.