Attending Physician Workload Linked to Poorer Teaching Effectiveness

HealthDay News — Attending physician workload is associated with lower teaching effectiveness, according to a study published online in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Majken T. Wingo, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues examined the correlations between attending workload, teaching effectiveness, and patient safety. The authors retrospectively examined 69 386 teaching evaluation items submitted by 543 internal medicine residents for 107 attending physicians who supervised inpatient teaching services.

The researchers observed a correlation for workload measures of midnight census and daily discharges with lower teaching evaluation scores (both β = −0.026; P < 0.0001). There was a correlation for the number of daily admissions with higher teaching scores (β = 0.021; P = 0.001) and with increased patient safety indicators (odds ratio, 1.81; P = 0.0001).

“Several measures of attending physician workload were associated with slightly lower teaching effectiveness, and patient safety may be compromised when teams are managing new admissions,” the authors write. “Ongoing efforts by residency programs to optimize the learning environment should include strategies to manage the workload of supervising attendings.”


Wingo MT, et al. Associations between attending physician workload, teaching effectiveness, and patient safety. J Hosp Med. 2016; DOI: 10.1002/jhm.2540.