Where Do Doctors Sleep in the Hospital?

October 20, 2023

While working long hours and with different shift patterns, doctors can get sleep deprived. This is especially true if they work in an emergency department.

In some cases, a doctor will be able to go home to get some rest, but this is not always the case. In some instances, a doctor will be required to stay overnight at the hospital. This can be either in on-call rooms or in formal hospital accommodation. I've spent many a night under a thin blanket in the doctor's mess trying to get some shut-eye only to be woken up by the 'beep beep' of my pager signalling that I'm needed on a ward. It's not a pleasant way to spend a night.

Sleep deprivation is bad for everyone. It leads to burnout and has been linked to mistakes in medicine. For example, a study found that residents who are sleep deprived are eight times more likely to make medication errors than those who get adequate amounts of rest. Additionally, sleep-deprived physicians are more than three times as likely to cause motor vehicle accidents if they drive while tired.

For patients who have to spend the night in a hospital, sleep can be difficult due to disruptions and discomfort. But there are things patients can do to improve their chances of getting a good night's rest. One suggestion is to bring a pillow and blanket to help with comfort. Also, having a notebook can be helpful for tracking questions and conversations with staff. This can be particularly helpful when it comes to bills and recording who came in and when.

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