Resident nap rooms shouldn't be shared, and especially not be coed

LETTER — Posted Aug. 14, 2006

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Regarding "Study shows naps improve residents' alertness on call" (Article, July 17): Your recent article is interesting, including the accompanying photograph. In this picture of a call room, there is a set of bunk beds with one trainee (a woman) sleeping while another trainee (a male) is sitting in front of a computer terminal. This may be for illustrative purposes only, but it does point out a number of problems in many institutions where physicians are expected to sleep and/or nap.

First, when multiple individuals share beds in the same room, especially if these are bunk beds, no one is likely to get much rest. Either person getting paged or called will disturb the other, in addition to the obvious fact that whoever has to climb to or from the top bunk will likely bother the individual on the bottom.

Furthermore, in an era of greater sensitivity to issues of sexual impropriety, it is not ideal for co-workers to be assigned to sleep in the same room, especially if they are of different genders. While many individuals would not openly complain about this, institutions should provide private call rooms for trainees and staff. The days should be gone when these kinds of accommodations are considered acceptable, and private rooms for patients (for several additional reasons) should also be the goal of modern hospitals.

Mark A. Rockoff, MD, Boston

David B. Waisel, MD, Boston

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/08/14/edlt0814.htm.

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